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Empire Discussion Forums => The Imperial Office => Topic started by: Padre on July 12, 2013, 07:55:24 PM

Title: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 12, 2013, 07:55:24 PM
Some amazing magic has been done to this thread on the Oldhammer forum, and they have replaced all the pictures. You can see the fully repaired thread at http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2889.

If, however, you want to read the slowly re-growing, 'improved' version of the campaign (in which I am editing all the posts for grammar, spelling etc) then take a look at www.bigsmallworlds.com.

This campaign will not die!


The Living

It had been a long day already, thought Biagino, and it was not yet ended. His sandaled feet ached, his grey, woollen cassock chafed and his worries refused to be forgotten. Unused to such exercise, his whole frame, of which there was a surfeit, complained in a variety of fashions from the neck down. As a priest of Morr he had rarely been asked to hurry, and although often expected to stand for hours on end when officiating the internment of the rich and powerful, graveyard grounds were not usually as uneven as this present path. He did not complain, however, so as not to appear weak. Considering what they were escaping from, it simply would not do for a Morrite cleric to show fear. If anyone in the company was expected stand this test, it was him.

The company had been wordless now for the best part of an hour, ever since they entered the woods - the silent trees had been all that was needed to tip everyone into their own private thoughts. Not that their passage was quiet. The loads upon the mules’ backs clattered and jingled, the hooves thudded as they threw up clods of clayey soil, whilst the armoured plates on the four knights and their mounts at the head of little column added another clinking and scraping layer of sound. At least with trees growing thick on both sides of the track the noise would be muffled, and so less likely to be heard by others in the woods.

They were currently somewhere south of Ebino, having already crossed the river there. But they had not stayed upon the road, Lord Guglielmo preferring instead to move parallel to it along a much lesser used track. Fearing that the evil power now ruling Miragliano might already be able to reach this far, he had decided it was best not to make things too easy for the foe by travelling openly along the obvious and well trod route. And so it was they were now traversing these rarely visited woods. 

Suddenly the man walking beside Biagino, a tall servant called Bertoldo, who swaggered along with an woodsman’s axe on his shoulders as if it were a weapon for battle and he himself a soldier, spoke.

“We ain’t exactly what you’d call an army, are we?” His voice was oddly discordant with the mood of the party, as if it were a comment made on a quiet afternoon at an alehouse table. “I mean, four knights – one a Lord, I grant you – a pair of squires and us lot.”

One of the mules behind them seemed to take exception to Bertoldo’s unexpected words and brayed in the peculiar manner of such beasts, pulling stubbornly on his rope.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MiraglianoOutcast4_zps7afb78ab.jpg)

Biagino frowned. “I can assure you, even though I walk here at your side, and freely admit to having drunk with you and some of the other servants on occasion, that I am not, as you say, one of you lot. I am an ordained priest of Morr, ‘father’ not ‘brother’, and would be grateful if you address me as such.”

The priest thought that making such a comment would prove that he too was similarly unperturbed by their present situation. Such subtlety was wasted on the Bertoldo, however, who simply nodded absently, as if only half listening.

“Not an army at all,” he repeated, dreamily.

“Not an army at all, father,” corrected Biagano half-heartedly, already losing interest in pressing the point concerning his status. “Why?” he asked instead, “Were you expecting an army? We are heading away from trouble, at least for now, not towards it. We are certainly not looking to fight a battle. Or I should say, we are expecting to fight a battle, but only when Lord Guglielmo has obtained an army. Until then, we are merely what we are.”

“Well if we ain’t an army,” said Bertoldo, pointing forwards, "then why is noble Sir Benedetto carrying Duke Alessandro’s battle standard?”

Up ahead, riding beside Lord Guglielmo, Sir Benedetto was indeed carrying the Sforta standard, green within an orange border, emblazoned with the image of a monstrous, coiled serpent in the act of consuming a naked man.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MiraglianoOutcast2_zpsdb5c1e80.jpg)

“A banner can be carried by one man,” Biagino answered, somewhat confused. “A knight at that. It doesn’t have to be at the head of an army.”

“I suppose not,” yielded Bertoldo, his subsequent intake of breath pregnant with another question. The priest did not have to wait long. “So why are we carrying Duke Alessandro’s banner, when he is our enemy?”

“Alessandro is now our enemy, of that there is no doubt. He can never be otherwise, for he can never be cured of what he has become. Only destroyed. But he is no longer duke.”

That got Bertoldo’s attention. He looked at Biagino with real confusion writ across his face.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MiraglianoOutcast3b_zpsda644ea9.jpg)

“Duke Alessandro is dead,” continued the priest. “Assuming his son is dead too, which seems certain from the reports, then Lord Guglielmo is duke. By rights, the banner is his now.”

“Never thought of that,” admitted the servant. “The duke is dead.”

“And that is why he has become our enemy. The worst wickedness in the eyes of Morr is that of vampires, for not only is their vile existence a sinful corruption of all that is right, but they then add insult to injury by raising the dead to serve them.”

“Of that I have never had any doubt, father,” said Bertoldo. “Their naughtiness surely surpasses everyone else’s. Yet … if Duke Alessandro were to command us now, his lawful subjects…”

“We were his subjects, before. But that which speaks with the duke’s voice now is not the duke. Duke Alessandro  is gone, supplanted by the demonic spirit that now inhabitants his animated corpse. We owe his corpse no loyalty, only respect. And all chance to show that respect has been  taken from us by the demon. Duke Alessandro is dead. That which now calls itself duke of Miragliano is our enemy, and is indeed the enemy of all mankind. He is a blasphemy, a foul corruption mocking Morr.”

Bertoldo smiled, as if his dreamy musings had quite suddenly turned to happiness. “So we’re not traitors, nor thieves, nor even shirking our duties,” he exclaimed.

“No,” agreed Biagino. “We were once and still remain good and loyal subjects …”

“… of the living duke,” said Bertoldo, finishing Biagino’s words for him.

A few moments passed – just enough to make the priest begin to believe the servant was satisfied and might well fall silent once more.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MiraglianoOutcast3a_zps0021347c.jpg)

Then Bertoldo piped up again.

“You know the duke would live a lot longer if we just continued south, forgot the whole raising an army business and settled down somewhere safe.”

Biagino did not know where to begin. Losing the will to explain the matter further, not least to a mere servant such as Bertoldo, he was sorely tempted simply to tell the man to hold his tongue, then perhaps to lecture a little upon a servant’s place in the world. But then he remembered his own father had been little better than Bertoldo in station, and the thought was enough to make him try again.

“First, if the duke were to do as you suggest then he would be duke merely in title. Is a shepherd without a flock truly a shepherd?”

“But Duke Guglielmo never had a flock,” answered Bertoldo.

An answer was not what Biagino had intended at all. The question was rhetorical.

Bertoldo obviously had no idea. “He never ruled Miragliano. He just governed Udolpho in his uncle’s name.”

Trying but failing to hide his exasperation, the priest asked, "Then do you call a shepherd who has no flock and never had a flock before, a shepherd?”

“Probably not,” said Bertoldo. “I’d say he was just a man who wants to be a shepherd.”

Biagino let the thought take a proper root in Bertoldo’s mind for a moment. Then continued, “Don’t get me wrong. Lord Guglielmo is the rightful possessor of the title. He has the blood, and was next in line to inherit. He is by all that is right and lawful the duke. It helps, however, if he has something to be duke of!”

“I have it, father,” said Bertoldo, as if he had just managed to secure a slippery fish that had been writhing in his hands close to escape. “And second?”

Only momentarily satisfied at his apparent success at explaining things, this last comment had Biagino confused.

“Second?”

“You said ‘first’,” explained the servant, “so I thought there’d be a second.”

Gods, but I am tired. “There is a second, though it ought to be first in the minds of all men of faith and sense. Second, it is the duty of all men, Tileans in particular I would say, to fight wickedness and evil. If everyone went south and settled as you so bravely suggest, then who would there be to defend against our enemy? We all die. There is no running away from that. If we do not fight and defeat that which would steal our souls, then we are all doomed.”

“Doomed,” echoed Berdoldo.

At last, he fell silent again. Biagino was left wondering whether his attempts to explain had failed altogether to reassure the servant. Then that concern was washed away by another. Oh, my aching feet.
………………………………………………………………………………………….
At the head of the column, Duke Guglielmo rode behind a blunderbuss armed coachman. There was no coach.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MiraglianoOutcast1_zps04424bc4.jpg)

He carried his helm beneath his arm, the better to see the woods around him; his sword unsheathed, ready for a fight; and he bore a fixed expression, brooding and stern. He was like unto an equestrian statue, but seated upon a living horse.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MiraglianoOutcast1a_zps081ac303.jpg)

Inside his mind, however, there was turmoil.

…………………………………………………………………………………………

Notes:

As I mentioned in the other thread, this time I am not trying to do this one all alone. I have 6 players I must keep this moving for, who will create a story I too can revel in, rich and varied and unexpected. Nor is the other thread is wasted, as the tale that was unfolding there has been incorporated into the history and background for this campaign.

The characters in the piece above are 'non-player' characters. Hopefully they will appear in later stories too - if a player has them all killed though, then they won't! I want to do these illustrated story pieces from NPCs' viewpoints, interspersed with bat reps, modeling reports and various other pieces. It will also be a nice and vivid way for the six players to gain insights and a feel for the world. I can't really do stuff from the players' perspective as they are playing the game, and they may not want the other players knowing what they're up to!

The Vampire Duke Allessandro is one of the six players. He is busy painting his army, and he's much better at it than me. He once sold an entire VC army, a few years ago. So now he is painting a new one! Me, I've got scenery to make and mercenaries to paint. Lots of mercenaries.


Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on July 13, 2013, 01:32:12 AM
Sounds like a new good start!  And a bit of the trademark humor thrown oin as well. :icon_biggrin: :::cheers:::

Looking forward to more.  No pun intended.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 21, 2013, 10:53:51 PM
I liked your unintended pun, GP.  :icon_lol: So, you asked for more, and my players need more. What follows is in effect an advertisement for some mercenaries. Will any of my players want to employ them I wonder?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Green Corsairs
 
The storm had finally subsided just before daybreak, and as the roaring thunder, lashing rain and rushing wind all diminished, so too did the shouting. There had been a lot of shouting through the night, mainly by Sea Boss Scarback, the product of anger, frustration and a pressing need not to let things get any worse. Then again, Scarback was not that sure things could get worse.
 
As the day dawned Scarback could see that all his ships were gone, either consumed by fire in the fight, lost to the sea or destroyed by the black rocks. Perhaps the skaven always intended that the tempest should hit moments after they engaged in battle, but more likely they simply attacked when the opportunity presented itself, regardless of the weather. Either way, the storm had very much added to the Green Corsairs’ misery.

Even by greenskin standards, the ratmen seemed oblivious to the dangers that the approaching storm presented, a carelessness further proved by the unstable weaponry they employed. The diabolical machines affixed to their bows vomited long, sparking streams of unnaturally green-tinged flames, and their first blast had washed over the galley Bashdemall from bow to stern, killing the crew before they could even leap into the sea. Their second blast had gone catastrophically wrong as the machine burst and blew the entire front half of the skaven ship to pieces, yet this misfortune did nothing to help balance the odds, for the skaven vessels outnumbered the Green Corsairs three to one. Just as the storm hit, the Hullsplitter was boarded by a swarm of ratmen, so that every single orc aboard was matched by uncountable foes. The rest of Scarback’s fleet, attempting at that very moment to turn and so avoid the sheets of fire, had suddenly found themselves cruelly embayed on a lee shore, and so suffered more from the storm than the battle. Scarback’s flagship, the Doombringer, had been driven onto the black rocks by the wind, while the smaller ships Cracker and Orc’s Whelp had both just managed to avoid the same fate, being subsequently yanked out to sea by a rip current. Whether they escaped the Skaven vessels as well as the rocks was anybody’s guess.

The luckiest ship, perhaps, was the Mancrusher, for she had somehow skirted the rocks and run ashore on the one little beach along this particular stretch of the Tilean coast. She was named after a memorable incident when a Sartosan boarder had fallen between her hull and that of the ship he was leaping from, only to be ground into a red smear on the hulls of both ships. The Mancrusher’s smear was later made permanent with an artistic coating of red paint, but it now lay hidden by shadows as she lay careened sharply over on the sand. It would be possible to put her to sea again, but only if Scarback was willing to leave two thirds of his force behind. And he was not.
 
Scarback had drawn his blade, all the better to point with as he barked his commands, as well as to cut down several contrary goblins who had apparently forgotten who he was in their panic and confusion. Clad in a long coat torn from the bloated corpse of an already fat man his crew fished from the sea a few months back, with his brightly patterned scarf wound about his waist, he took a moment to consider what exactly he might do next.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenCorsairs5_zps3c490bb9.jpg)

His first mate Jalgador, whose own viciously curved cutlass had also chastised a goblin or two that night, pointed out to sea. “That’s Doombringer’s mast. She can’t be deep. Y’reckon we can get some stuff off ‘er?”

Boss Scarback peered out into the slowly lightening gloom until he could make it out too – just two feet of mast head, which would not be visible at all if it were not for the raggedy pennant dangling soggily from it. “No-one would come up again if they went under there, the waves and the rocks would see to that, a hammer and anvil to break their bones and crush the air from their lungs.”

“We gots lots o’stuff already,” interrupted the goblin trader Poglin Fangface, who was standing between the two orcs. His oversized panache feather hung heavily from his ragged black hat, and the clawed toes of his left foot stuck out of the hole at the end of his boot. “We gots it piled up behind the rocks.”

Neither orc looked at him, Jaglador merely grunting an acknowledgement. Still staring at the tip of his lost ship’s mast, Scarback was not so sure that ‘lots o’stuff’ was enough. “We got powder? Good powder?” he asked.

“Three barrels, not countin’ what the lads ‘ad about themselves,” answered Poglin. “Only them that went under for a bit has got soggy powder, the rest is good.”

“We got guns?”

“A brace of ‘em,” said the goblin. “And not little swivels, these is minions. And we got more’n a score of iron roundshot. The powder’s enough to keep ‘em hot for an hour or two.”

“How d’ya get them?” asked Jaglador.

“They’re the chasers from the Mancrusher. Fell right off ‘er onto the sand.”

Boss Scarback now noticed another one of his orcs was coming up the slope towards them, Hogg Yellowtongue, a musket on his shoulder. One of his other guards gave a welcoming ‘ho!’

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenCorsairs4_zps6fae3b9e.jpg)

Hogg had not been in Scarback’s boat, so his presence meant that at least some others from the Doombringer must have got to the shore. Scarback’s quartermaster was on the rocks down below closer to the water, leaning on a long spear. Over the sound of the surf he could not possibly have heard what they had just talked about, but Scarback knew he was probably thinking over the matter of salvage too.

“We ain’t getting anything off her,” Boss Scarback shouted loud enough for the quartermaster to hear. “Look all you like, but she’s lost and all that was on her.”

Jaglador suddenly looked worried. “Boss,” he said, “we ain’t lost the stone, ‘ave we?”

Scarback grinned. “No Jag, we still got it.” He turned to look at the goblin trader. “It’s safe, ain’t it Poggy? You done what I told yer?”

“Two o’ my lads is doin’ it right now boss. We’ll bury it deep and lay a rock o’er the spot. It’s inland a bit, like you said.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenCorsairs3_zpsc052b045.jpg)

“Good,” said Scarback. “Deep is good, deep is best. Them rats’ll know where it is if it ain’t put deep. They’s hungry for it, enough to try to take it from us. Now if they attack again, they still won’t get. No way. Now they’s gonna have to pay dear if they want it. An’ I mean dear. I’ll have ships and rat’s heads and a pile o’ shiny stuff, and that’s just fer starters. I wants payment and recompense for injuries received.”

“How we gonna get all that?” asked Jaglador.

“Give it time, Jaggy boy. Let ‘em realise it ain’t gone down with the ships, and then they needs must find us. When they see we ain’t carrying it, then they’ll know they gotta pay.” He would have to kill the two goblins who buried it, of course, otherwise they might blab - maybe kill Poglin too, but only if necessary as the trader was useful.

Blissfully ignorant of what Scarback was thinking, Poglin hefted his blunderbuss onto his shoulder, used the back of his free hand to wipe snot from his nose, and asked, “What we do in the meantime, then? Where do we go?”

“Well,” said Scarback, “we don’t stay here. We go, and quickly. Make ‘em think we’re in a rush to get away, like we’re taking the stone with us.”

The other remnants of Scarback’s pirates, mostly goblins, had gathered upon some flat ground inshore from the rocky beach. A few entire companies had survived the chaos of the night, having managed to get into the towed boats, but most were the rag tag remnants of crews lost either in the battle or to the storm and sea. Poglin had mustered every goblin he could find, ordering them to recover anything of any worth whatsoever from the Mancrusher, the wrecks and the surf.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenCorsairs2_zps805e5f10.jpg)

Beside the pair of minions rescued from the ship, the shot and budge barrels, was a pile of casks, boxes, rope and tools. All the salvaged weapons were being carried or had been tucked in belts, as Scarback had ordered everyone made ready for a tussle in case the rats land a force. No one felt particularly safe on the beach, for if even the skaven did not come to finish them off, some local Tileans might take exception to their uninvited presence. Now the goblins were awaiting orders. Heavily armed with cutlasses, pistols, handguns and axes, they looked like a force to be reckoned with.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenCorsairs1_zpsda98621d.jpg)

But Scarback knew better. The goblins could prove useful, but never on their own. Poglin’s rabble made a lot of noise, and were ugly to boot, but if his force was to be taken seriously, he needed as many orcs as he could get. Luckily an entire company of crossbow-armed orcs, the biggest and meanest of the three such companies he had on his ships, had made it to the shore a couple of miles to the south and had marched through the rocky hills to join the other survivors.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenCorsairs6_zpse92502a4.jpg)

With these and his own boys forming the core, the goblins adding numbers, and the artillery pieces some punch, Scarback was satisfied he had just the sort of force he needed for what he intended to do next. “Just a matter of decidin’ where to go,” he declared, as much to himself as to the others.
 
“What about Viadaza?” suggested Jaglador. “Lord Adolfo will take us on again, if the price is right.”
 
“No,” said Scarback. “Not without ships he won’t. He don’t use the likes of us in his land army. ‘Cos that’s what we are now – soldiers not sailors. Time was his papa Magledy the Sharp would’ve found us some scrapping to do, but that all changed when Magledy took the whole city and had every greenskin on the streets killed. Adolfo won’t change the law for the likes of us. If we offered our service to him, he’d disarm us, break us up and put us on the galleys as slaves. No, Jaggy boy, we gotta go somewhere we gets to stick together, do some honest scrapping for our pay, and bide our time until the rats get to thinkin’ they have to make a deal. And until they work that out, we ain’t all lonely but instead is part of a bigger mob.”

“So where to?” asked Jaglador.

“Whoever will ‘ave us. Urbimo down to Alcente, there’s plenty might need some muscle. I’ve heard that a Waagh has crossed the Black Gulf, maybe someone will pay us to ‘ave a go at them?”

Poglin began to emit a strange whining noise, then checked himself. “Fightin’ greenskins from the Badlands? There could be millions of ‘em!”

Scarback laughed. “We won’t be on our lonesome. Besides, I don’t mind who I kills or how many I kills, as long as there’s pay for food and drink on the way, and some plunder to be had for all me efforts.”

Now it was Jaglador who laughed. “I could do with the food now. My belly is gurgulating something rotten.”


Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 26, 2013, 10:54:01 AM
A Recent History of Tilea, Part One
This written for the wise Lord Fazi Duccio by Master Lamberto Petruzzi of Astiano, the work being completed in Spring of the year IC2401


My Lord may I humbly present this useful summary concerning the great events over the last century in the realm of Tilea. I am grateful for the works of Uther von Gelburg for my account concerning the years up to the middle of the twenty fourth century.

A map of northern Tilea drawn in IC2341
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/NorthernTilea.jpg)

In the earliest years of the twenty fourth century the infamous ‘Tilean Terror’ consumed much of northern Tilea. Vast hordes of ratto uomo swarmed from the Blighted Marshes to despoil and poison the land. Most respected scholars now agree that this verminous tide was born of the summoning of a vile chaos god, whose guiding power briefly united the usually quarrelsome clans. Udolpho was utterly ruined, its entire population massacred, and shortly afterwards Toscania  became afflicted with a particularly virulent plague of boils and buboes. Desperately employing fire in an effort to cleanse the most diseased quarters, the Toscanians were unable to contain what they themselves had begun and the entire city subsequently burned to the ground. To this day Toscania remains a ruinous pile of blackened stones.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/ReportPic2_zpse662df29.jpg)

Ebino  also suffered a grievous affliction, but commanded by the condottiere duke Bardollomao Colleoni, its people managed to thwart the besiegers’ attempts at infiltration. Nevertheless, every Ebinan village was razed, all its castles and manor houses, and the petty realm was left in a sad and sorry state, so that even today it is barely recovered. The great city of Miragliano, however, survived the turmoil. Its people, living upon the edge of the great swamp, had developed immunities to the fevers arising from the foetid waters, and its substantial garrison remained strong enough to hold the city’s mighty walls against all assaults. Most crucially it was well supplied from the sea, and just as importantly could not be undermined on account of its vast moat.
 
The beginning of the end of the Terror came in 2309 when a great battle took place before the city of Ravola. The Ravolans, aided by Lord Francis d’Este’s army of Brettonians, scattered a massive swarm of rat men, after which the enemy’s attacks stuttered out. The swarm never reached further southwards than the villages and farms around Viadaza and Scoccio, where there they were finally defeated in a series of engagements fighting mercenaries and militia in the employ of the Trantian Lord Jolenzo de Medizi.
 
In 2322, encouraged by both Remas and Pavona, and led by able militia captains, the populace of Urbimo rose up to shake off the yoke of Trantian rule. By this time the ‘War of the Tilean Sea’ had already begun, in which the resurgent ratto uomo committed uncountable acts of piracy, both petty and large, and fought several full-fleet battles. In 2332 the rat men besieged the city of Portomaggiore. Fearing they might be next to suffer, Luccinni and Raverno contracted to dispatch a large relief force, while an allied Sartosan fleet struck from the sea, and together these lifted the siege. Portomaggiore, keen to retain independence, subsequently endured years of hardship repaying the debts incurred.
 
In 2336, fifteen years after the death of the great Jolenzo de Medizi, and grown tired of what they claimed was the tyrannical rule of his son Piero de Medizi, the people of Trantio, in an action not dissimilar to the ‘Urbimo Uprising’, assaulted every one of the Medizi clan they could lay their hands on, hounding them out of their palatial residences, imprisoning some, murdering others. This became known as the ‘Liberation of Trantio’. Piero de Medizi and a band of loyal armed retainers fled the city with all the treasure they could carry and rode off into exile.

Pietro Soldoli, subsequently to become the Gonfaloniere of Trantio, is seen here encountering a band of Piero de Medizi’s looting brigante during the Liberation of Trantio in 2336.
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/ReportPic1_zpse89a2039.jpg)

Trantio then declared itself a Republic once again, and began the struggle to regain what they lost during Piero’s rule, including a drawn out conflict to regain the port of Urbimo. In 2337, the government and mob of Urbimo declared their Captain General Enrico Videlli to be a traitor - accusing him of plotting with Trantio to return their town to its rule. When they subsequently beheaded him they gained a new enemy, Enrico’s condottiere brother Videllozo Videlli.

In 2343 Frederigo Ordini, Arch-Lector of the Church of Morr and Reman Overlord declared a Holy War against the Skaven Menace. He assembled a massive army consisting of the traditional Reman legions, contingents sent by nearly every Tilean state great and small, and every mercenary company the wealthy church’s gold could buy, including the famous Compagnia del Sole.

Here Frederigo inspects a brigade of Pavonan soldiers assembled for the Holy War
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Remas7_zpscf45827c.jpg)

A huge fleet, the like of which had not been amassed in the living memory of a dwarf, carried the army and towed hundreds of flat bottomed barges (specially designed to negotiate the marshes) across the Tilean Sea to the mouth of the river Berselli. But the expedition into the Blighted Marshes proved to be a disaster, with nearly every soldier perishing over the next year, either through disease, starvation or injury. This failure rocked the Church of Morr as Tileans everywhere questioned how a supposedly divinely inspired war could fail. Riots broke out in Remas, and charges were brought against the Arch-Lector accusing him of agreeing a secret alliance with certain Skaven clans.

A Secret Meeting at the ruined Tempio Dimenticato in Remas in IC 3242
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/Prologue2Pic5.jpg)

When it was learned that a newly emergent Skaven alliance had indeed wrested control of Skavenblight, gaining power as its rivals’ strength was sapped in the war against the doomed Morrite expedition, the suspicions grew into open accusations. No great trial was ever held, but Ordini’s reputation was ruined, and the Church of Morr, by far the most influential of all Tilean churches, suffered ignominy. The only exception to this newfound shame for the Church of Morr was the ‘Sagrannalian’ sect in the city of Trantio. There, the radical, reforming priest Father Sagrannalo had been preaching against corruption and decadence within the church for many years. As he now seemed to have been proved right all along, his influence grew mightily. 

The Remans declared that never again would their Overlord be a churchman of any kind – that civil authority and military power should be kept separate from religious authority. The new overlord, Duke Giovanni Matuzzi, re-established order to the Reman state and ruled so successfully that he began a dynasty which has held power ever since. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this rule is that the standing army of Remas became composed almost entirely of foreign mercenaries. Remans, Tileans even, were thought too liable to be swayed by the leaders of the Church of Morr. Although the standing army has both shrunk and grown in the intervening decades, occasionally necessitating the use of locally raised militia, its core ‘alien’ nature has been maintained, even growing more exotic. Currently the Reman army’s professional soldiers even include a large regiment of Cathayans.

Several years after the Holy War debacle, the new Arch-Lector of Morr made a proclamation, read by priests throughout Tilea, in which he declared that the disgrace belonged solely to Frederigo Ordini, who had succumbed to the temptations of worldly power, and that the church had now been fully purged of all such corruptions to become re-sanctified in the eyes of Morr. Today, even after all this time, the church may not quite as influential as it once was, yet it is without doubt the most powerful church throughout the realm, its traditional influence deeply rooted in the heart and soul of common Tileans, perhaps explaining why the current Arch Lector, Calictus II, feels able to criticize the princely rulers of Tilea for failing to march immediately against the Undead Lord of Miragliano.

In the middle years of the 24th century the city state of Pavona enjoyed a renaissance under the able guidance of Duchess Elisabetta. The actual ruler, Duke Alfonso de Montefeldo, was often incapacitated by illness, and thus relied upon his wife Elisabetta to fulfil various responsibilities. She was both refined and fashionable, and gathered a great entourage of artists and poets to make her court reputedly the most cultivated in Tilea. Throughout the city building work transformed the old fashioned, fortified towers into ornate and delicate palatial residences, relying on the city’s walls for defence. Pavona contributed to several conflicts, sending a very large contingent of its young gentlemen and men at arms to serve in the Arch-Lector’s Holy War (see the illustration above) and providing several companies of condottieri and gifted engineers to serve in the Bastard’s War (see below). In 2358 a large force of wild men and goblinoids burst through the defences of the Stretto Pass, large enough to threaten Pavona’s doom, but the walls proved strong and the men at arms, militia and mercenaries led several sallies out at the enemy, each time preventing some scheme for assault, such as the construction of wooden siege towers, and the damning of the River Remo in an ambitious attempt to flood the city. Pavonan warriors from across the realm returned in force, and along with a goodly number of Astiano and Scozzese soldiers, arrived just in time to save the city, and chased the foul foe from the realm, cutting nigh upon every one of them down as they fled through the pass. As the bells sounded and the victory celebrations and feasting began, the Duchess finally died. It was said that she had waited to know whether her beloved city was safe before she finally yielded. Her daughter Salanna succeeded her, and ruled jointly with her husband Luigi Gondi of Verezzo for many years, Much of their rule was a happy one, though a terrible plague visited the city in 2387 during which time not only did a good third of the populace suffer and die, overwhelming the capacity of the gravediggers as well as the priests of Morr to preside over their proper burial. So it was that the unburied (or improperly interned) dead were believed to walk the streets in the hours of darkness during two nightmarish months. Even now many folk consider the darkest hours of the Pavonan night to be a cursed time – not peaceful and quiet under a star filled sky, but eerily silent and inhabited by distorted shadows that seem to possess a wicked will of their own. No other city in Tilea lights as many lanterns and torches at night as Trantio. No other city is as quiet. Duchess Salana’s son, Duke Guidobaldo Gondi, now rules this city.

In the year 2352 King Ferronso Perrotto of Luccini died in somewhat suspicious circumstances leaving no obviously legitimate heir to rule his empire. His two bastard sons, Scoroncolo and Gismondo - the governors of Mintopua and Capelli respectively - went to war over the matter, and bloody conflict (‘The Bastards’ War’) engulfed the whole of the southern tip of Tilea. Sartosan Pirates, hired by the governor of Alcente to assist in the defence of the city, took possession of it instead. Pavezzano’s walls were battered down by siege engines, and at one point the population of Capelli fled desperately to seek shelter in the sylvan realm of Sussurio Wood.

Portomaggiore, heavily indebted both to Luccini and the Sartosan admiral Gran Strozzi, and barely clinging to independence, stopped paying the Luccinian portion of their debts as soon as it became clear that Luccini was unable to spare forces to argue the matter with them. Gran Strozzi, however, continued his stranglehold on Portomaggioren trade. Supported by soldiers and funds sent by exiled elders currently residing in Ridraffa and Remas, the Portomaggioran council of elders declared the Gran Strozzi debt also repaid the morning after every Sartosan ship in the city’s harbour had been simultaneously burned in a coordinated act of sabotage. A year later, Gran Strozzi himself died at sea, fighting against Gismondo of Luccini, and the question of the loan died with him.

The city of Luccini emerged from the Bastard’s War very much impoverished, with Scoroncolo the victor. His descendant still rules there, the boy King Ferronso III, but the days of its glory seem ever more distant as the years roll by. King Ferronso is nearing the age of majority, however, and is gradually taking more and more control from his council. Many believe him to be much like his great grandfather, the great Ferronso I. He has recently contracted the service of the infamous Arabyan mercenary company, Gedik Mamidous’ Sons of the Desert. This is presumed to be in response to the threat presented by Khurnag’s Waagh!

The Republic of Trantio finally accepted defeat in its long drawn-out war to regain control of Urbimo in 2349, a decision helped by the fact that they were somewhat more concerned with countering the activities of a large force of greenskins who had spewed from the Border Princes along the Via Nano to roam the Trantine Hills raiding the outlying settlements of Trantio, Pavona and Astiano. This had long been a recurring problem, but this time the goblinoid strength was greater than ever before. The famous Trantian Gonfaloniere Soldoli died in one of the skirmishes, after which the ancient prophet of Morr, Father Sagrannalo, buoyed to even greater influence since the fall of the Arch-Lector Ordini, spurred the people of the city to form the strongest militia force ever made and scour the hills clean of every goblin and orc. In 2350, inspired by his successes and growing ever more manic with old age, Sagrannalo declared the ‘Holiest War’, intending to utilise his new army of Trantio to cleanse the other princely states of Tilea of corruption.

Father Sagrannalo declares his ‘Holiest War’ in Trantio in 2350
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/Prologue3Pic1.jpg)

Although many of the militia subsequently deserted, thousands of fanatics followed him to attack and ‘cleanse’ towns and villages, until defeated by a condottiere mercenary force in battle outside Stiani. Trantio had to pay dearly to compensate for the damage done by Sagrannalo’s fanatics – by now several city states were allied against them, threatening to gain reparations through acts of war. Trantio declared its new policy was to stay out of other states’ affairs. But exiled ruler Piero Medizi, supported by his condottieri son Liovvani, took advantage of the bad feeling against Trantio stirred up by Sagrannalo’s ‘Holiest War’, and aided by loyalists within Trantio (the sinister ‘Bigi’) took possession of the city in a cunningly and brutally combined coup and assault. The entire Albinni family (traditional rivals of the Medizi) were slaughtered - man, woman and child - and many who were believed to have Sagrannalian tendencies were put to the sword. A new tyrannical rule began, first under Prince Piero, then his son Liovvani, and now Liovanni’s son, Girenzo Medizi. The first two ruled Trantio with an iron grip, and Prince Girenzo is no exception.
 
Once their war against Trantio came to a conclusion, the people of Urbimo looked forward to peace and prosperity, but it was not to be. The condottieri Videllozo Videlli, who had been unwilling to ally with the Republic of Trantio (an action which might be seen as admission that his executed brother had indeed been plotting with the Trantians), joined with Liovvani Medizi, son of the returned prince of Trantio. Thus began the second, long, war between Urbimo and Trantio (2352 – 2359). What little assistance Pavona and Remas were willing to provide, either  publicly or secretly, allowed the Urbimans to hold on to their city for years. Only when Piero Medizi died and Liovvani returned to Trantio did events turn in their favour again. Videllozo was wounded by a crossbow quarrel, and took ship intended to sail to the great city of Miragliano where the famous doctor Jacopo practised his reputedly miraculous skills. An Urbiman ship gave chase, however, and both ships were lost at sea. Urbimo remains fiercely independent, its walls made stronger than ever.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 26, 2013, 09:28:54 PM
A Recent History of Tilea, Part Two

A map of the entire Tilean Peninsula
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TileaInkMap1_zps6d06d44b.jpg)

In 2355 the wizard lord Niccolo Bentiglovio of Campogrotta, the third Bentiglovio to rule in succession, had ruled for more twenty years. His reign was widely reputed tyrannical, and his provisionate consisted of a large regiment of Ogres, bolstered - as if this were necessary - by veteran mercenaries reportedly more cruel than any other in Tilea.

A company of brutes patrolling the night-time streets of Campogrotta in 2353
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/ProloguePic3.jpg)

As a consequence not only was the wizard lord’s rule over his own people terrible, but his reputation darkened across Tilea. In 2350 he had proclaimed the elite of Ravola to be foreign invaders (ironic in that his strength lay with a force that was not even human) and this obviously created a particular friction between him and his northern neighbours, involving several skirmishes. Still his city thrived economically, as a healthy trade flowed along the Carraia del Ferro (the Iron Road) between this city and Dwarfen mines of Karak Borgo in the neighbouring Vaults. It was also believed that Lord Niccolo ended the friction that once existed between Campogrotta and the denizens of Tettoverde Forest (believed to be a secretive tribe of sylvan elves). As it is no easy thing to remain on friendly terms at one and the same time with these two inimical races, it perhaps is odd that he was so hated by his own people and other Tilean states. In 2355 most of his ogres left upon some errand of their own, without Lord Niccolo’s leave to do so. They were not gone long, but even so it was long enough for the people of the city to rise up in rebellion and burn down Lord Niccolo’s palace with him inside: thus ended his reign.

Most of the populace then fled the city and headed westwards when the Ogres returned. It is commonly joked that the ogres had been back in the city for a fortnight before they realised that their lord and master was no longer alive. More surprisingly the Ogres did not plunder or destroy the city (well, only a little bit, and much of its wealth had been removed by the refugees) but instead left once more, this time being absent for many years. Three decades passed and the city re-established itself, even began to thrive. A merchant filled Republican Council ruled the city, and goods were sent in quantity down the River Tarano to be traded in Viadaza and Remas and further afield. Then in 2388 a strange, old man arrived at the city gates declaring that he was the Wizard Lord Bentivoglio, claiming he had never perished and had so returned to take back what was his. The people laughed for this fool had no army, no ogres, and they chased him away. The event became little more than a tavern tale, and the city continued to prosper. Twelve years later, in 2400, the old man returned – or at least a man claiming to be him returned - this time he did indeed have a regiment of ogres and within two days the city was his. The fighting was brutal, the ogres cruel. Brutality and cruelty now curse the city, for ‘Niccolo Returned’ took possession of a palazzo and settled into obscurity, while the Ogre Tyrant Razger Boulderguts ruled in practise. He sent envoys to his Tilean neighbours declaring his governorship in Lord Niccolo’s name, and is even rumoured to have recommenced trade with the dwarfs of Karak Borgo. One courtly wit in Remas remarked that just as the first Lord Niccolo’s ogres failed to notice that he was gone, the dwarfs have also yet to notice that Ogres have replaced the men of Tilea – after all, both races are taller than dwarfs! Meanwhile the people of Campogrotta live in fearful obedience, and in ever harder circumstances as the ogres steadily consume the city’s wealth.

The ruler of Ravola, Prince Sigismondo d’Este, son of the Bretonnian Lord Francis d’Este, died in 2361. Most of the city state’s ruling elite were descendants the knights who came with Lord Francis in 2309 to fight the ratto uomo, who stubbornly clung to their ancestors’ traditions in peace and war. Prince Sigismondo left no male heir as his eldest son had died from a jousting wound, and his youngest had been lost questing in the Vaults to chase down the orcen warrior who had killed his squire. The Bretonnian king’s official ambassador, Sir Gorrin de Bordelaux, with permanent residence in the city and a seat upon Sigismondo’s privy council, declared that the new ruler should be the noble winner of a grand tourney and the knights of Ravola (who some say are more Bretonnian than the Bretonnians) clamoured to agree. A date was set, with enough time for even more landless knights to travel south through the Nuvolonc Pass from the homeland. Deliberate or now, Sir Gorrin’s tourney was to double the knightly strength in Ravola, for many stayed even after the joust, making little keeps for themselves and a handful of serfs each in the open land of Usola south of the city. The winner of the tourney, one Galleac the Red, duly became the new Prince of Ravola. When he in turn became mortally ill in 2388, having begotten only daughters, the Ravolan knights could barely contain their excitement. The precedent had been set, and once more a grand tourney was held to decide the new ruler. This time Giacomo Uberti of Olessi, a Tilean, who tricked his way into the lists, won. An argument erupted, leading to another touney somewhat bloodier than the first - a great tumult in which several many knights perished – Giacomo was finally accepted. He had been a knight to begin with, but his title was considered insufficient in comparison with true Bretonnian knighthood, so the Bretonnian king’s ambassador, Sir Baelan of Couronne, knighted Giacomo in the Bretonnian manner, and made him vow to rule in the Bretonnian way. This he has done and continues to do, despite the grumblings of some more traditional Ravolan knights.

Alcente emerged from the Bastards’ War with a new Grand Council containing a majority of Sartosan Pirates. Happily for the city state it turned out that a good number of these Sartosan captains were tired of the constant struggle of a pirate’s life, and were happy to begin a privileged life of wealth and safety. Within years it was no longer the fashion to refer to any on the council as other than citizens and merchants, and the city prospered. In 2399, however, the city was threatened by the greenskin Waagh led by the orc warlord Khurnag which spilled into the Golfo di Pavezzo. At first the Waagh’s main strength attacked different targets, with Pavezzano putting up a brave but ultimately futile resistance lasting several months, and Monte Castello holding out much longer against a massive force of besiegers until the greenskins fell into disarray after a vicious disagreement led to murder and mayhem in their camp. Capelli and Alcente faced weaker greenskin sorties and small raiding parties, but they were both aware it was merely a taste of what was likely to come. It was too late to defeat the Waagh at sea, for it had already crossed the Black Gulf and was now receiving a steady stream of reinforcements from the Border Princes, either overland or crossing the narrow Bay of Wrecks. Alcente knew from historical experience that asking for aid from Sartosa would be inviting a different kind of trouble, and so too would asking Luccini to help. So it was that they turned to the powerful northern trading company of the VMC (Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie), who already had many agents and warehouses in the city, to ask for help. Terms were agreed regarding future trade and a share in political power, and mercenaries were hired. Earlier this year the first of the VMC’s own northerner regiments arrived at Alcente, proof that the company had every intention on honouring their agreement reaping the future profits.
 
Early in the 24th century the condottiere Andrea Dornida, who was due to retire as captain-general of the Reman army, was granted governorship of his home city of Viadaza by his Reman masters. The consequence, as unexpected as it was sudden, was that he threw off the yoke of Reman rule and, supported by alliance with the Sforta of Miragliano, he made Viadaza his own. A small army of lawyers and priests gathered to prove his family’s ancient rights as Viadaza’s first family and the people proclaimed him their saviour from Reman domination. Soon, however, he began acting against the Sforta’s wishes too, making it obvious he wanted nothing more to do with their regime, and thus quickly fell out of favour with them. During the time of ‘The Terror’, when the Miraglianese Sforta were somewhat distracted, he established an aristocratic republic in Viadaza ruled in theory by twenty three noble clans (including the Cydo, Griseldi, Dornida, Filleschi, Pallavacano and Spidola), but in practice controlled by Dornida. He then went on to make the Viadazan navy a force to be reckoned with, and so successful was he in his endeavours that his fleet came out of the War of the Tilean Sea stronger than it had been before conflict began.
 
Under Andrea’s guidance the city grew rich through sea trade, including the chattel slavery business. Certainly the twenty three noble families became very wealthy. Men and women from all across the globe, whether outcasts, convicts, or born slaves, also halflings and even half-orcs, were bought and sold in Viadaza’s bustling markets. Sea faring dark-elf slavers often traded in the city, and Viadazan slaving vessels usually included half-orcs and other greenskins amongst the crews, although who by law such sailors had to remain in certain city quarters if they disembarked. It was visitors and servants such as these that gave the city an ill reputation. Worst of all, it was also widely believed that ‘Father Andrea’ was a leading member of the feared and hated Assassin’s Guild - the slippery, secret, and deadly society supposedly spanning all Tilea. In IC2351 Andrea, unlike most of his enemies, died of old age, leaving two old sons to rule after him. Their chaotic rule lasted less than a year, as they killed each other – one used a blade, then died from the poison smeared upon the handle of the same blade. The chaos then spiralled as the city fragmented, every ward and quarter fighting against the rest. Ratto Uomo were witnessed openly in the streets, in the sunlight, and no day went by without bloodshed, turmoil and grief. At least seven different people claimed to rule the city, but in truth each only held a portion, and there was much left ruled by none of those seven.

One of the seven was a half-orc called Magledy the Sharp, who for the best part of a year controlled the docks and wharves, leading an army of sea dogs and cut-throats. He had been Andrea’s harbour master, governing the previously troublesome dock workers for half a dozen years with an iron grip. Magledy the Sharp proved a cunning leader, and in one night of carefully planned riots and well-timed assaults, removed five of his rivals. The sixth, a ferocious matron called Lady Beatrice (or ‘Bloody Betty’), successfully fled the city This led to Magledy’s tyrannical rule of the entire city. But tyranny seemed to suit Viadaza, and the city slowly but surely regained the wealth it had boasted at the height of Andrea’s rule, with ample trade of a dubious nature. Magledy proclaimed that the assertion he was half orc was a vile and libellous lie, and that in truth he was as human as the best of Tileans – a sea dog and proud of it. To prove this in 2354 he had every goblin and orc in the city killed, be they pit-slaves or galley-slaves. Only those serving on board ships were spared. Still to this day the Viadazans have the legal right to slay any goblinoid they find on the streets on sight, yet even so, hundreds stride the decks of the ships in the harbour every day. In the same year Magledy married the Lady Vanozza, daughter of wizard lord Niccolo Bentiglovio of Campogrotta, with whom he then had several children. His first son, Adolfo Appuntito, born in 2363, succeeded his father in 2383 and has been Lord of Viadaza ever since. In some ways the city has become a slightly less disturbing place during his rule, for the slave trading is now performed more secretly, away from the public gaze, and there aren’t quite so many fighting pits surrounded by shouting crowds. Fewer rotting corpses hang from spikes over the gates, and Dark Elves do not walk the streets leading chained chattel slaves by the hundred to their ships. But the galleys are still rowed by greenskins, and once again people say that Viadaza is the chief home of the Assassins’ Guild. Adolfo’s mother, the septuagenarian Lady Vanozza, still lives, though is rarely seen.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 01, 2013, 12:43:00 PM
A Recent History of Tilea, Part 3

Miragliano eventually thrived after the Tilean Terror, although initially faltering for a while as an ill-governed Republic. In 2322 the condottiere general Ludo Sforta took possession of the city in one terrible night of violence and riot. Ruling at first with a heavy fist, his most loyal mercenary captains rewarded with the best titles and mot profitable commands, he ensured the city-state was securely his, but later he encouraged art and natural philosophy to flourish. Many wonders created during this time, including machines apparently magical in nature. After Ludo’s death in 2343, his brother Lord Francesco Sforta became regent during the minority of Ludo’s son Duke Marsilio Sforta. Lord Francesco enjoyed a much wider array of sports and pleasures, indulging in luxuries of every imaginable kind, and many who had once busied themselves with more serene arts and careful fabrications were now caught up in a swirl of pomp and festival, spectacular jousts and cavalcades. Lord Francesco was jealous of his own power, very cruel to those who displeased him, and even when the young Duke came of age in 2348 and should have taken the reigns himself, Lord Francesco continued his rule, while the city’s magistrates and captains strove all the harder to prove their loyalty to him.

The young Duke Marsilio walking the walls of Miragliano in 2347 with his favourite companion, Gellafno the Halfling, who was in truth (like all his servants) a spy for Lord Francesco.
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Prologue4Pic2_zps98c38781.jpg)

Lord Francesco’s nephew remained merely Duke by name, and then not even that, for young Marsilio finally lost his wits and became a gibbering fool. Surrounded by luxury and toys, but no-one he could trust, he lived a long life of insanity, and bore no heirs.

Lord Francesco was aided in his rule by his brother Lord Gianpaolo Sforta, governor of Udolpho. This once beautiful city had been rebuilt from the ruins left by the skaven siege of 2303. Udolpho’s walls were not just repaired but improved, and the palace made twice as grand as previously, yet much of the city’s populace continued to dwell in ramshackle huts atop the ruins and rubble, or down in amongst cellars and dungeons buried beneath. Lord Gianpaolo Sforta’s governorship of Udolpho began in 2341, and he became famous for his interest in alchemy, constructing a castle-laboratory of extraordinary proportions from which strangely hued smoke constantly belched forth, wreathing the bubbling moats about it in noisome miasmas.

In the ten years from 2363 to 2373 three successive wars were fought against the skaven. Each time the skaven would splash and scuttle forth from the marshes in great numbers, a wave of fur and fangs, slave warriors set on carving a swathe of destruction. Each time the army of Miragliano, bolstered by condottiere mercenaries, and cleverly commanded by Francesco and Gianpaolo, would find some weak point at which to strike: once it was the enemy commander, next the explosive destruction of a store of warpstone, then finally an attack at the foe’s rear during the brightest hour of the day. Each time panic would be caused, spreading like an infection through the ratto uomo rank and file. From there on in the war would become a matter of chasing and breaking the disarrayed rats in their thousands. Clan legions would make a stand here, or become bottled up there, resulting in bloody of engagements, but in the end they too would yield to fear and flight.

Upon Lord Francesco’s death in 2375, his own son, Allessandro, became regent in his place. And when Allessandro’s cousin Marsilio died in 2377, he inherited the title of Duke to go with his actual power. Duke Allesandro proved to have inherited some of his father’s and grandfather’s interest in the arts and natural philosophy, but his true fascination was in the application of such for war. Rumours abound concerning his activities and methods, including that he and his now ancient uncle Gianpaolo used captured ratto uomo to bring to life the diabolical machines captured from the foe during the Tilean Terror and the War of the Tilean Sea, and that they poisoned the already foul waters of the Blighted marshes in such a way that for several leagues no life at all, neither beast, fowl, fish nor flora, none of the foul creatures that used to call the brackish waters home, could survive. In 2384, after a plague that finally killed his uncle, and threatened to end Duke Allesandro’s life, the famous Miraglianese Doctor Jacopo was commanded to administer solely to the Duke, and was kept prisoner for this purpose in the palace. The Duke made a full recovery the week after Doctor Jacopo took his own life. It was reported that the doctor had been slowly poisoning Alessandro until eventually the guilt of his deed drove him to suicide. The subsequent lack of poisoned potions allowed the Duke to recover.

Alessandro went back to his works and experiments. A new tower was constructed in the palace that rose nearly a hundred feet higher than any other tower in the city, and many other lesser buildings which were still more magnificent than everything in the surrounding streets. Another strange experiment spilled a potent magic into the swamps, until the vast mass of dead things lying with the foetid stink stirred themselves and began splashing westwards. Even the ratto uomo grew afraid of the Lord of Miragliano then, believing he had taken their own already tainted magics and horribly twisted them in new ways. Life for the people of Miragliano became strangely contradictory, for all were glad that such a deadly blow had been dealt against the skaven, a race previously known to swarm back in double the numbers whatever was done to them, but at the same time terrible darkness seemed to shroud the city as their ruler engaged in ever darker experiments and engaged ever more fearful servants. The fears would soon prove well founded!
 
The Duchess Maria Colleoni of Ebino (granddaughter of Duke Ludo Sforta of Miragliano), aided by her court of Miraglianese advisers, also grew concerned regarding events in Miragliano. It was the Duchess who first recognised what her cousin had actually become, and she acted quickly. Employing the famous regiment of ‘Ironside’ dwarfs, as well as several companies of experienced condottieri mercenaries, she had watchtowers made and defences dug to defend the roads and settlements of her realm, and summoned all the clerics and priests of Morr she could to assist in warding off the evil. It is said that even Ebino’s old enemy, the Arrabiatti Brotherhood, the ragged brigands who hold occasional court in the ruins of Toscania, have promised to lend their arms if it comes to battle. And so she and her people wait for the day when the vampire Duke turns his gaze eastward, praying morning, noon and night to Morr that he will deliver them in their hour of need.

Soon all of Tilea learned that Duke Alessandro was a vampire, and that all who dwelt in his city lived in fear of the undead who now guarded their gates and patrolled their walls. With all the wars that had been fought within the boundaries of Miragliano, there was no shortage of the dead to revive. It is said now that the vampire Duke has an army of the dead that rivals any mortal army in the realm. And if it is commanded to war, then all it can do is grow – for every soldier who dies in battle against it will surely rise to swell its ranks.

-----

A Weakening of the Faith

Like many Ridraffan tradesmen, for that was what he was even though he traded in gold rather than for gold, Master Boldshin had servants who left every evening to return to their own homes. Noblemen had servants packed in cellars and attics, or tucked under the stairs, who could be called upon even in the night, but in the city of Ridraffa such practise was considered above the station of a tradesmen. Besides, the fact that Master Boldshin was a dwarf in itself made it more difficult for him to employ manservants - few humans would wish to live under his roof. Nor would most of the rather limited supply of dwarfs in the city be willing to serve him either. Most young dwarfs yearned to find their fortune in engineering, masonry, carpentry, smithing – making things. Usury was not a common ambition among them. As the decades went by those same young dwarfs might well realise the error of their ways as the profits to be made became apparent, but by then they would look to become their own master and not serve some other dwarf.

Right now, as he struggled down the stone stairs in his grey night-shirt and blue striped bed hat, a spluttering candlestick in one hand and Arnholf clutched tight in the other, his famously long beard not just reaching the floor but straying dangerously underfoot, Master Boldshin was regretting his lack of nocturnal help.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/PavonaOutcast1_zpsd5468d0e.jpg)

His house was strong, built of grey stone with walls as thick as those on a watchtower, as any counting house should be considering the coffers of gold and silver often stored within. The surrounding houses were more traditionally Tilean in style, built in stone, but with shuttered windows and red tiled roofs, rather than the barred windows and strengthened slates on his house. It was not guards he needed, just someone to run down the stairs and answer the door.

He strongly suspected it was a dwarf banging at his door – there was something dwarven about the steady persistence of the rapping. Of course, he himself would not normally knock in such a manner, for he had adapted to Tilean fashions and the ways of men. Only when he was calling about a long, unpaid debt, would the wood take such a beating, often from the clubs carried by the heavies he had hired for the purpose.

“Give an old dwarf a moment,” he cried somewhat breathlessly, almost at the bottom. “The hour is late, I am tired and in no fit state to rush.” The beating ceased, hopefully just in time to forestall shouted complaints from his nearest neighbours. He dragged the three solid, iron bolts back, taking satisfaction from the reassuringly heavy clunk they made, then, just before turning the huge key, he stopped. Best take a look see first. Leaning forwards he placed his eye at the peek hole and peered through. He could see a green hat, a large and floppy thing, and the fingers of a brass hand clutching a smooth and milky rock. Is that what was bashing on my door? he wondered. What sort of visitor is this? It was definitely a dwarf, for otherwise Boldshin would have found himself looking at the fellow’s chest, not his hat.

“Who is it?” he asked, his hand resting on the key but yet to turn.

“Cousin Glammerscale, that’s who it is. And I am wondering when you became so timid, Boldshin, and afraid to so much as open a door.”

Master Boldshin was so surprised to hear the name that at first the insult did not register with him. He had not seen his cousin for many a decade, and they had parted on bad terms. Then the echo of Glammerscale’s words in his mind finally caught his attention.“Timid!” he snapped, beginning the two turns of the key that would be required to unlock the door. “My caution is not timidity but common sense. Have you forgotten my trade, cousin?” He pulled upon the door. “An unwary moneylender is not likely to thrive.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/PavonaOutcast3_zps010acb50.jpg)

Even though he had already glimpsed the floppy hat, the sight of his cousin caught him by surprise. The brass fingers and the orb they held proved to be the head of a wizard’s staff, which in the hands of a dwarf seemed to him ridiculous. And it was not just the staff that marked his cousin out as a wizard. The hem of Glammerscale’s orange coat was decorated with silver moons and suns, and beneath his arm he clutched two large tomes bound in leather, no doubt stuffed with arcane knowledge of a most undwarfen kind. The ensemble was not improved by the red tinted eye glasses he had perched on his nose, his eyes peering over their horned rims.

It was not that Boldshin did not know Glammerscale claimed to be a practitioner of the magical arts – it was the very thing that had caused them to part their ways all those years ago – just that actually witnessing his cousin garbed and accoutred as a wizard took his breath away.

“Erm …” he said.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/PavonaOutcast2_zpse2242828.jpg)

“The word you are looking for," suggested Glammerscale, "is ‘Hello’, or maybe ‘Good day’, or if I may be so bold as to advise you on the etiquette appropriate for such an occasion, perhaps ‘Welcome’ followed quickly, and this is merely a suggestion, with ‘Come in’.”

“You did it?”

The wizard dwarf’s eyes narrowed as they looked over the top of his strange spectacles. “You talk less than I remember, but make as little sense. Cousin, will you let us in? I must speak with you.”

Boldshin looked past Glammerscale at the two dwarfs behind him. They were plainly clad, neatly trimmed, silent and obviously well fed. It irked him that his insane cousin turned wizard could apparently find dwarfen servants while a prosperous fellow such as himself had to make do with part-time men. This thought added a tinge of frustration to his confusion, and did nothing to improve his foul mood. Better get them of the doorstep he decided, before the neighbours see them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/PavonaOutcast4_zps5ff31620.jpg)

“Come inside, quick now. Do not linger there.”

Glammerscale grinned knowingly, then he and his two companions followed Boldshin in. After some kafuffle over where best to lay the books, where exactly everyone should sit or stand and some embarrassing questions concerning Arnulf the stuffed bear, the little company settled to drink some ale and talk.

“I have to ask, cousin,” enquired Glammerscale. “What is it I have done?”

The question meant nothing to Boldshin.

“At the threshold,” clarified the wizard dwarf, “you said I ‘did it’? Such a statement demands a response, I reckon, and I willing to give one I can assure you. If only I knew what was being said.”

“Oh,” said Boldshin. “I meant only that you are a wizard. Or at least, you appear to be one.”

“I am one,” Glammerscale replied quickly. “Surely you remember me well enough to know that I am not the sort if dwarf to feign accomplishments I have not earned, nor claim abilities I do not possess. I do not claim to be a wizard merely because my name sounds right. And before you ask, no, I will not cast a spell to prove the truth of my claim.”

“No, do not.” Mild panic laced Boldshin’s voice as he imagined magically conjured flames washing through the room, singeing every precious thing in it in the process.

The wizard dwarf smiled. “Then we are agreed on what not to do. I am glad. But what concerns me is quite the opposite.”

Boldshin was beginning to wonder if his cousin was deliberately trying to confuse him. “The opposite being …?”

“What to do.”

Now Boldshin understood. He gulped down a large mouthful of ale, wiped his whiskers on the sleeve of his night-gown, and resolved, as it was his house and he was the host, to take more control of the conversation. “First things first. Cousin, why are you here? Last I heard you were living in Pavona, apprenticed to a grey beard Tilean who was nevertheless younger than you by many years.”

“Until a mere month ago I was indeed in Pavona, but no longer an apprentice, as I thought we had already established. Until quite suddenly it became apparent that I, along with every other dwarf in the city, had outstayed my welcome.”

“Every dwarf?”

“All of us, even those of less eccentric bents, being of course every other dwarf in the city. My good servants and I left the very day of Duke Guidobaldo’s decree. Those who stayed to voice complaint followed only days later, though in a rather less comfortable fashion.”

This news was as unexpected as just about everything else since Boldshin had opened the door to his cousin. “Why?” he asked.

“It seemed the sensible thing to do. I knew the way the wind was blowing, so to speak, and to linger would be most foolish.”

“No,” said Boldshin, now convinced his cousin was deliberately walking one step to the left of the conversation. “I mean why have the dwarfs been cast out?”

Glammerscale laughed again. “It’s a good thing you are asking me, for I believe most Pavonan dwarfs would struggle to make sense of their banishment – those who tarried when we left were surely having difficulty getting their heads around it. You see, the duke is a religious man, becoming ever moreso in latter years, and his faith has manifested as a most jealous love his own god to the cost of all other gods, especially those not of the Tilean churches of men. There is no longer a place for Grungi, Grimnir or Valaya in Pavona, nor for those who pray to them. You must have heard the boast that not one stone in any Pavonan temple was carved by a dwarf. Well, it would seem that now they don’t want dwarfs even near their precious temples.”

This was not good. Boldshin was already reckoning up what was owed to him by several Pavonans, and what losses would be incurred if they decided to take their dislike of dwarfs a step further and renege on their debts.

Glammerscale apparently failed to notice his cousin’s distraction. “Pavonans have never been known for their fondness of strangers. I do not think I have ever seen an elf in the city, though many a dwarf would say that was no bad thing, and the only ogres I have witnessed there were brought to die in a fighting pit. I have seen Bretonnians mocked by ruffians in the street, as if their very presence somehow besmirched the architecture of so fashionable a city. Duchess Elisabetta prettified the city, and made it a place of learning too. That’s the very reason I went there. But the Pavonans grew arrogant with it, thinking themselves better than others. The plague of 87 turned that arrogance into suspicion, and although no-one ever blamed the dwarfs for it, I think the Duke now believes that our continued presence so weakens the strength and purity of their faith that the curse left by the plague could not be lifted. It is a city dedicated to Morr, and yet every night is haunted by restless souls. That contradiction has gnawed away at the Pavonans until now they act desperately, and cruelly, to amend their ways.”

That’s not so bad, thought Boldshin. If the Pavonans were looking to purify themselves, and put things right before their god, then leaving lawful debts unpaid would not be the way to go about it. Among various duties, Morrites were supposed to settle their debts before they left this life, or put in place a means to honour them, so that their souls were not in any way lured back by the concerns of the living world.

He realised Glammerscale was still speaking. “… so I shan’t stay long, I imagine. Just until I can settle the matter of my property and possessions, and find a place to continue my studies.”

“You’re staying?”

“In times like these I should think you would not want to remain so isolated. Let us hope the good people of Ridraffa don’t follow Pavona’s lead.”

Boldshin could not argue, not with his cousin. He was both stern and unforgiving when he had to be with debtors, but they were men, not dwarfs. Besides, his cousin was not only right, he had brought two servants. Being one of four dwarfs in times of trouble had to be better than being alone.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 05, 2013, 10:56:19 PM
Everything Astiano Has to Offer

The walled town of Astiano, upon the Via Aurelia, beside the River Remo

The Pavonans had been complaining about the tolls for some time, but the people of Astiano cared not a jot. It was their road, their stretch of river – they should be able to charge whatever they like for passage. Yes, it was the Pavonans best trade route to the north and west of Tilea, but the folk of Astiano could not help that. Just a matter iof geography. Besides, the Pavonans were no doubt still able to make a profit from their trade.

Now, however, the situation has taken a turn for the worse. The Pavonans had gone from angry words, complaints, petitions and paper battles to war. An army was approaching, with artillery and massed ranks of foot. It appeared very much like they were going to make a serious attempt at storming the walls. Which meant the people of Astiano had to make a serious attempt at defending their town.

The trouble was, there was not much time - certainly not time enough to hire more mercenaries. So it was that they mustered everything they had and reviewed it, marching out to drill before the walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano1_zpsf945e527.jpg)

Two pieces of artillery were in working order, and powder and shot was found for both. The company of Condotta marksmen armed with handguns who had been guarding the gates were the only professional soldiers they had …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano5_zpsa62e7da9.jpg)

… apart from the condotta captain to whom the company belonged to. He would now command the entire garrison.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano2_zpse273f510.jpg)

Every caravan guard, bodyguard and bravi in the town was mustered into a regiment, proudly carrying the town’s colours.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano3_zps1e6b9b04.jpg)

While every other able bodied man was pressed into service, whether they were servants, peasants, or apprentices. A ramshackle lot they made, but surely able to defend a castle wall.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano4_zps1f59b1d6.jpg)


497 pts plus 2 cannons

Condotta Captain 54 points.


M4 WS5 BS5 S4 T4 W2 I5 A3 Ld8
Hand weapon, heavy armor (+2 points), additional hand weapon (+2 points)

12 Condotta Marksmen 9 points per = 133 pts

M4 WS3 BS3 S3 T3 W1 I3 A1 Ld7       
Equipment: hand weapon, light armor, handgun, full command

20 Bravi:  7 points per = 165 points

M4 WS4 BS3 S3 T3 W1 I4 A1 Ld7
Hand weapon, shields (+1 point), light armour (+1 point), full command

10 Brigands 7 points per = 70

M5 WS2 BS4 S3 T3 W1 I3 A1 Ld6
Equipment: hand weapon, short bow.

Special rules: skirmishers.

25 Peasants  3 points per = 75 points

M4 WS2 BS3 S3 T3 W1 I2 A1 Ld6   
Equipment: hand weapon.

2 Great Cannons = 220 points
As an Empire Great Cannon. May have up to two additional crewmen (+5 points per model).

---------------------------------------

The Assault on Astiano

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano6_zpse39f8573.jpg)

Captain Bramante employed his spy glass to scrutinise the foe as they approached over the open ground before the town’s northern walls. When he saw that the foe meant to assault with artillery and ladders alone, he ordered every company onto the walls, except for the small company of brigands – they were to wait behind the wall until he could decide which tower they could be best employed in.

(Scenario Rules in a nutshell: Wall, Tower and Gate damage as per 6th ed WFB rules. Ladder assaults only possible against walls, using a modified version of the 8th ed building rules giving the  defenders +1 to hit and the poor fellers hanging on the ladders -1 to hit. Game length 7 turns, victory decided upon how many wall and tower sections are held at the end of turn 7.)

As the Pavonan force, an army entirely liveried in blue and white, arrayed themselves in a neat line for the assault, one of the defending artillery sent a lucky shot smashing into one of their cannons. Refusing to allow this unlucky start to the fight to dismay them, the Pavonan crew of the second great cannon fired at the gate, smashing it open with their first shot – a sight which made them instantly forget what had just happened to their other cannon. (Rolling a six, even against a gate reinforced with iron, will do this) A cheer went through the lines and the entire army marched forwards, handgunners and bowmen included.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano8_zpsa17cee99.jpg)

Having shouted orders to send the short-bow armed brigands to the gate tower only moments before the gate was shattered, Captain Bramante now needed no spy glass to study the foe.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano9_zps9a504927.jpg)

“Steady lads,” he shouted as the striped flag of Astiano fluttered beside him. “Let’s see what else our own artillery and handguns can do to them before we worry about the broken gate.”

Several of the bravi nodded, deciding if they needed to descend to defend the gate then they would – it was still no easy thing for the enemy to burst through a defended tower. (Normal building rules would now apply to the gateless tower.)

But just then the foe delivered a second, equally unexpected and cruel blow, for they had a wizard in their midst who conjured a fireball and sent it washing over the wall to hit the bravi full on, singing all of them and killing eight. As a consequence even the captain joined them as they ran screaming (and smoking) from the parapet. (Note: Failed a double LD test – another assault scenario rule was that defenders on castle walls re-roll LD tests as if their Army Standard was nearby.[/i])

They did, however, rally once they were down on the ground, and the initial shock had worn off. “That’s it,” shouted the captain. “Looks like we will be defending the gate after all!”

Outside, every Pavonan could see the ruinous state of the gate …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano10_zpsc5a355e2.jpg)

… but only one regiment, a body of swordsmen led by several officers including one fully armoured nobleman mounted on horse, was headed directly towards it. The rest had their ladders and were approaching the walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano11_zps7506436b.jpg)

Needless to say, perhaps, it was the swordsmen who now received a hail of arrows, roundshot and bullets. A good number fell, but they did not run.

Further from the walls, the Pavonans had dragged a volley gun up within range, the crew of which were now debating whether they should risk a shot or two in light of the fact that their bullets would very likely have very little effect against a foe sheltered behind stone walls, and every shot risked disaster for a gun as dangerously unstable as theirs.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano7_zpsace2d10e.jpg)

They took a vote, and decided two to one that they were here so they might as well join in. Thus followed four volleys in a row, until the barrels were glowing red and several component parts has shaken loose. Their efforts added considerable noise to the battle, a veritable thunder storm of blasts, but failed to harm the foe at all. The crew, however, were happy. They were not only alive, and their engine had proved itself reliable.

Now it was the turn of the mercenary handgunners to receive the wizard's attention. As they loaded their pieces, glancing nervously over the crenulations at the approaching regiments, they could indeed see him clearly – he was the only man not garbed in blue and white.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano12_zps652a54ab.jpg)

As they feared, he had a fireball for them too – five fell screaming from the parapet as the wooden bottles on their bandoliers exploded like grenadoes. The survivors, veterans of several years' service, were made of tougher stuff than the bravi, and went on loading, each vowing they would make the foe pay for the death of their comrades.

While the Pavonan attackers sent a storm of bullets and arrows bouncing off the stone walls, Captain Bramanti led his rallied bravi in good order towards the gate.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano13_zpsa26496e9.jpg)

Upon the other side, the mounted knight and his surviving swordsmen – another noblemen and the wizard amongst them too – had reached to gate and set about storming it immediately.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano14_zps579adf13.jpg)

Along the walls the Pavonan halberdiers had also reached the wall and as the assembled peasants, labourers and apprentices of the town hurled stones at them, began laying their assault ladders against the stone.


(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano15_zps31871691.jpg)

Now the real battle began. The nobleman at the gate, who was no other than Lord Polcario of Pavona, son of the ruling Duke, led his swordsmen between the splintered remnants and made mincemeat of the defending brigands. When they then burst through the inner gate …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano16_zps3cf7f27f.jpg)

… they were immediately met by the good captain and his colourful band of bravi

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano17_zps1eda9c9a.jpg)

Meanwhile, as the handgunners on the wall beside the gate fought to the very last man against the halberdiers below them …
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Astiano18_zps4c128311.jpg)

… elsewhere the town's defence crumbled. Captain Bramanti was cut down by the young Lord Polcario, after which his surviving bravi broke and fled down the main street of the town, rallying only long enough to look back at the walls and see that their cause was lost. The peasants were driven (almost easily) from the walls. They too rallied, and waving pitchforks and scythes in the air, foolishly launched a charge against the inside of the walls, no defended by halberdiers. The Pavonans were laughing as they struck deadly blows with their halberds and chased the peasants away for good.

The walls and gates were taken. The defenders were running for the other gates, not even stopping to loot on their way.

Astiano had fallen.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 08, 2013, 10:42:26 PM
The Chancellors

Spring IC2401
Just across the bridge from the southern gate of Scorccio.

There was sufficient breeze to whip the flag in a lively fashion, revealing the white rod and yellow half-sun emblem of the Compagnia del Sole. Its bearer was the black-bearded Banhaltte, a sturdily built ensign born far to the north in the Empire, who had served the company just as long as any other present member. Like most ensigns, it was not just the flag that marked him out, but also his elaborate clothes. His helmet was ringed with an upstanding crown of yellow and white ostrich feathers, his parti-coloured breeches slit in the shape of the company’s emblem, trimmed with braid, and his wide beard was of a northern fashion.

Ahead of him rode two of the company’s chancellors, Ottaviano and Baccio. They too wore the company’s colours of burgundy and blue, the company's emblem embroidered upon their left shoulders. Ottaviano was upon a grey rouncey, his companion on a black.  Earlier they had been busy preparing for the trip, then conversing with the guards on the gate regarding their right to pass. Now that they were properly on their way, Baccio picked up a conversation they had begun the night before. “How about Urbimo?” he asked. “Would they hire us?”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Chancellors1_zpsd99dc7af.jpg)

Ottaviano rode with his arm crooked, hand on hip, one of several affectations he believed made him appear more gentlemanly. “Urbimo is prosperous enough to afford the whole company, I’ll grant you that, but its old enemy Trantio has laid aside all ambitions to re-conquer it. The Trantians went to war over the matter in the time of the Republic, and as the tyrant Prince Girenzo hates everything the Republic did, not least its rebellion against his family’s rule, he is unlikely to want to continue the policy over Urbimo. Besides, if there was still enmity between the two, it would be very bad form for us to leave our current employer and join immediately with his enemy.”

“We’re mercenaries. What do we care what Prince Girenzo thinks when we’re no longer contracted to him?”

“I would not care at all,” Ottaviano said. “But who would later want to hire us knowing that we might so easily, simply for coin, join their foe and turn against them?”

“But you just said that Trantio and Urbimo are not at war.”

“That does not make them friends. Besides, the point I was trying to make is that if Urbimo is no longer threatened by Trantio then why would they need to hire a company the size of ours?”

The Compagnia del Sole was biggest condotta force in the whole Tilean Peninsula, and could claim an almost wholly unblemished reputation arising from the quality of their soldiers and the honour of their commanders. They had never before divided their strength to take separate contracts, except for the odd occasion when some amongst them had left the company to take employment as a new, distinct company. Currently they had halberdiers and pikemen, artillery and heavy horse, crossbowmen both mounted and upon foot, as well as a small town’s worth of dependents and hangers on, and they drilled every morning to maintain their readiness and prove their worth. For the last two years Prince Girenzo of Trantio had marched them about the Trantine Hills upon manoeuvres, even fought mock battles with them, and had found no fault. He paraded them through his city’s streets almost monthly and never once found any real reason to complain. Best of all, he had seemed happy so far to merely play at soldiers with them, requiring no actual fighting. Now however, as the eighth week before the end of the ‘Ferma’ period of their contract had passed without an agreement being reached concerning re-employment, the company was allowed to send forth its chancellors to negotiate with potential new employers. It was not that the company really wanted to leave Prince Girenzo’s employment, rather that they wanted to demonstrate the bids made by others to convince him to agree to better pay. Their commander, the condottiere general Micheletto Fortebraccio, believed that Girenzo had tired of drill and manoeuvres and was finally ready to make war, which bode well for the negotiation of new and better terms.

Baccio was not yet ready to yield on the matter of Urbimo. “Miragliano is close enough to pose a threat to Urbimo, surely? Is not every state in the north afeared concerning the Vampire Duke’s intentions?”

This made Ottaviano laugh. Baccio’s habit of not thinking things through was well ingrained. Still smiling, he looked his friend in the eye. “So you want to fight the already dead? You want to face deadly vampires and poison clawed ghouls and foul, stinking hordes of zombies?”

“Well … no,” admitted Baccio, apparently confused by his friend’s merriment at the prospect. “But to be paid well would be good.”

To be paid well is everything, thought Ottaviano. “If Urbimo did not offer us better terms than Prince Girenzo, then we could not demand improved terms from him.”

“Surely they are willing to pay generously for us to defend them against the horrors in the north.”

“Not when they know the vampire duke cannot yet reach Urbimo, nor for some time. They’re clever merchants, who pay no unnecessary expenses. Supposing the Duke of Miragliano does sally forth, he must first get past Ebino and Viadaza. I have a doubt they will stand idly by as the walking dead shamble through their realm. And like I said, that’s supposing he leaves Miragliano. Who knows what a vampire wants? Perhaps he will simply sit where he is, ruling his bony court and drinking goblets of blood? ”

“He could cross the gulf,” suggested Baccio.

“I do not think the dead steer ships,” answered Ottaviano. Yet even as he said it, he felt a distinct lack of conviction.

“Dead sailors do!” Baccio spoke Ottaviano’s fears for him.

Ottaviano pondered a moment. Undead ships were not unheard of – there was once a whole fleet of zombie pirates who preyed upon visitors to the shores of Lustria.  Vampire named Harkon commanded them. “It’s much more likely the vampire duke has dead soldiers and peasants, not dead sailors. What sort of seamen would stay in Miragliano when all hell was breaking loose? Any sailor worth his salt would have got away, and quick.”

“I suppose,” Baccio muttered, grudgingly.

“Tell me,” asked Ottaviano, narrowing his eyes, “Why does Urbimo fascinate you so?”

“In truth?” said Baccio. “Because it is not far away.”

“Ha! So it is idleness that makes you keen!”

The jibe made Baccio frown. “Not so. It is simply an added expense for us to travel far, and if the journey takes too long then there is less time left to re-negotiate with Prince Girenzo. I was thinking of the practicalities.” Suddenly, he perked up. “If not Urbimo, then what about Lord Guglielmo? They say he escaped his uncle’s deathly turning and is looking to gather a force to claim what is now rightfully his. They say the Church of Morr will surely back him, make it another Holy War.”

Ottaviano laughed louder than before. Tilea had enough of Holy Wars – they had even tried a Holiest War. All such things proved ultimately to be the product of worldly ambition. It’s all about the pay “We’ll get no good terms from Lord Guglielmo. He has no means to pay us. No doubt he would promise us great rewards, to be paid after his victory, but tell that to Prince Girenzo and he would no doubt happily offer to pay us with even better promises. We want gold, not promises.”

“It was a stupid idea anyway,” Baccio admitted apologetically, “for it would mean we not only had to fight the undead but must also march right into their hellish domain.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Chancellors4_zps1e1d27d5.jpg)

The party was passing a thatched cottage, along the hedge lined road that led from the bridge. Behind Banhaltte the standard bearer marched the chancellors’ guard, four halberdiers - two sergeants in armour and two more lightly armoured rank and file soldiers. Bringing up the rear was the young servant Donno leading a mule laden with supplies for the journey. The general had offered more guards to accompany them, but Ottaviano did not see the need. Mercenaries looking for a new contract were hardly likely to be carrying much gold, and so were unlikely to attract the attention of robbers. Anyone else would think twice at the sight of their banner, rather than their number. Few would want to make an enemy of the Compagnia del Sole. They might be mercenaries but they looked after their own, and there was honour amongst them. The company had both the urge and the means to exact vengeance.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Chancellors3_zpsd266555e.jpg)

Baccio fell silent for a while. The flag fluttered, hooves clopped, harnesses jangled. Eventually he spoke again. “If we did gain an offer of terms in some far away place, and Prince Girenzo refuses to match them, then the whole company will be forced to slog it all the way there.”

“That might not be so bad at all, especially if we head southwards. Would you not rather fight greenskins than the undead? The southern cities and towns are looking to better their defences, no doubt, now that the Waagh had taken root in the lands around Monte Castello. Luccini is hiring Mamidous’ Sons of the Desert, even building barracks for them. Alcente has hired northerners to help them, or sold itself to them - no-one seems sure about the exact terms. Whatever the agreement, an army of Marienburgers guards them.”

Baccio snorted. “So, not much work for us then?”

“On the contrary, Baccio, once Raverno agrees upon a proper government, or some tyrant grabs the reigns for himself, then they can do something about opposing the Waagh. And who’s to say that Remas, Pavona, Raverno, Portomaggiore, even Luccini and Alcente, believe they have sufficient strength to counter the threat. In this worrying time any or all might offer us better terms compared to the Medizi prince.”

Braccio nodded whilst looking off into the distance, then turned to look at his comrade. “General Fortebraccio said it will be only a matter of weeks before Prince Girenzo marches us to war, and not against Miragliano or goblins. In truth, Ottavio - our mission, new contracts - are we trying to leave Trantio just as the real fighting starts?”

“Never think that,” commanded Ottaviano. “We are the Compagnia del Sole, Myrmidia’s free sons. We do not shirk battle, nor would we shun a chance for plunder. ‘Aut spoliis opimis aut mors gloriosa’. I suggest you look at the situation in either of two ways. If you want to feel noble, then you can believe we take employment fighting greenskins or the undead because we would rather kill those than fellow Tileans. Surely it is right and proper that Tileans should stand together against such threats, instead than squabbling amongst themselves? If, however, you want to feel clever, then tell yourself that we are looking for employment because that way Prince Girenzo is forced to offer us better terms. He will want to lose us just at the moment he needs us.”

It was Braccio’s turn to smile now. “I suppose the first way, the noble way, is something you have rehearsed ready for the ears of our prospective employers.”

“Ah, you know me well,” exclaimed Ottaviano. Was his friend finally waking up? “As you obviously doubt I be so nobly motivated, then you may as well hear my true thoughts upon the matter. If we are to serve the prince in war, then he can bloody well pay a good price for us. We do not sell ourselves cheaply. If instead we are to go south, then perchance it will mean nothing more than parading our strength for some southern lord so that the greenskins take fright and look elsewhere for their cruel sports. If it were for me to choose, I would say south, where our very presence in the field may be sufficient to break the foe’s resolve. The walking dead in the north have forgotten how to be afraid, they will never flee but instead come straight at us, no matter how strong we are. Our men would die, then worse still, rise again to fight us.”

Ottaviano wondered if the men behind could hear him. Glancing around he decided maybe Banhaltte could, but not the others. That was not so bad. Banhaltte was a veteran and had no doubt fathomed the depths of mercenary thinking a long time ago. Perhaps Braccio caught sight of the glance, and knew it for what it was, for he now spoke quietly. “So, let me get this right. You don’t want us to fight the undead, under any terms. What you do want is either better terms from Prince Girenzo to fight his neighbours, or adequate terms to go south and scare the greenskins away.”

“You have it. Except there might well be just be enough gold in the north to keep us here. The company have fought the undead before, and survived to tell the tale.”

“Oh, so in the end it is all about the pay?”

Ottaviano grinned broadly, and patted his purse hanging from his saddle pommel to make the coins chink. “Has it ever been anything else?”
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 15, 2013, 07:41:37 AM
A Monstrous Assault

The man was nervous, and not just because he was addressing his master, Sir Fromony of Terme. He stared wide eyed from his scallop-edged, yellow hood and fidgeted constantly, clasping and unclasping the rim of the buckler hanging from his belt. He was armed, unusually, with a large-bladed adze, something Sir Fromony believed would be a very clumsy weapon, yet which would leave grievous wounds indeed upon its victims. Nor was his choice of weapon the only oddity about the man, for he also wore armour solely upon his knees and his elbows, as if his joints were the most precious parts of his body and as such warranted extra protection. How Sir Fromony had not noticed such an unusual sort of fellow amongst his lesser servants before he could not say.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Terme1_zps1e16504a.jpg)

These thoughts distracted the old knight just enough that he failed momentarily to hear what the man said.

“You saw how many of them?” he asked.

“In truth, your honour, I thought at first it was just one of them, come up from the south like they do. A bodyguard for a merchant or some such – your honour will know how the south is riddled with all sorts of hired thugs. And I freely admit I almost left then and there, your honour, but I decided I ought to see who or what the brute was guarding, so that I might give a better report to the sergeant …”

Sir Fromony was starting to get annoyed, something a more observant man than this peasant soldier would have quickly noticed. He looked down sternly from his green barded horse, his forked white beard framing his frowning mouth, whilst behind him Mainet his squire rolled his eyes.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Terme2_zpsc22a596f.jpg)

“Answer the question will you?” he barked, so halting the man’s rambling account. “How many?”

“Yes, your honour. Sorry, your honour. The one I saw was but one of a half a dozen.”

That did not sound too bad. “Only a half a dozen?”

“No, your honour,” said the man shaking his head, “if I might be so bold. That half a dozen was but one of several such companies. I couldn’t stay to count them all, for they was all strung out along the road, see, and there were goblins with them, sneaky looking gits they were with eyes dancing every which way.”

“You were seen?” asked the knight.

“Oh no, not I, your honour. I was in the shadows, and gone before any beady little eyes could alight on me. All the better to come back with a report see”

“Is this all you can tell us, or did you see anything else? Flags? Men? Baggage or machines?” He hefted his mace as if to point at the peasant. “Be precise.” If such is possible!

Screwing up his eyes (perhaps imagining what such a mace might do to his skull) the peasant made an answer. “Their banners were raggedy things, clattering bones and such, not furled but not exactly fluttering either. The one at the front had a red and yellow flag as well as all the grisly bits. There was beasts, aye, and big ‘uns at that. I saw one very clear. Like a giant cow it was, funny sort of horns though, with the thickest sort of skin I ever seen, and dragging a mess of wood and iron with goblins clambering upon it.”

“The flag,” asked Sir Fromony, “Gules two bars-gemel, Or?”

“Gule-gemmy or what, your honour?”

Fromony felt foolish for speaking that way to a peasant, although compared to the worry now knotting his stomach concerning this enemy force, this new emotion paled into insignificance. He tried again. “A red field, two pairs of yellow stripes?”

“Can’t say for certain, for the breeze wasn’t up to much, but red with yellow stripes seems just right for what I did see.”

Campogrotta – it has to be. It seemed that the recently (and most mysteriously) returned wizard lord Nicolo Bentiglovio did not intend to live out the remainder of his unusually long life in peace, and he still had his regiment of brutes, the army of Ogres which had long brought shame to his rule. For many decades – beyond the span of an ordinary mortal - the wizard lord had seemed satisfied with the cruel, tyrannical rule of Campogrotta, jealously guarding his secrets. Today, however, he marched upon the fortress of Terme.

Sir Fromony knew his day’s hunt was over.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Terme3_zps23c67647.jpg)

Now, if he did not move fast, he would become the prey. He had a castle to defend and, if that was to happen, he must send word to Duke Giacomo and hope relief was dispatched without delay. Turning to his hunt companions he gave his instructions, starting with his knightly guard.

“Sir Eudes, ride with all haste to Ravola and tell the Duke of our need. We shall of course hold as best we can, but to an Ogre our walls are half the height and so do not present quite the same challenge.”

Sir Eudes nodded his assent, pulled upon his reigns to turn his horse about, then spurred the beast into a gallop. Luckily he was not armed and armoured as for battle, but wore only mail and a half helm, and carried only a hunting spear. Provided the enemy did not hinder him, he would make it to Ravola before dark.

Sir Fromony turned next to his crossbowman. “Landri, you will go and look at this foe and discover their true strength.” Gesturing at the yellow hooded peasant he added, “Take this man with you if you wish, he seems to know the lie of the land well enough to have stayed hidden.”

Last he addressed his squire. “Mainet, with me.”

The party divided. As Sir Fromony rode he could not stop the flood of concerns and regrets assailing him – the ditch which should have been cleared, the wall that needed strengthening, the incomplete hoarding clinging to the western parapets, and most of all the recent departure of a band of knights for Bretonnia. He could have done with them now, to stiffen his garrison.

Yet the castle could surely hold for a little while, hopefully long enough for relief to come.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 18, 2013, 11:23:50 PM
Chivalry

The castellan of Terme Castle, Sir Fromony Dalguinnac had arrayed his limited force as best he could. All he had to defend the fortress were longbowmen and men at arms – mere peasants bolstered with only a handful of yeomen – and they were not even sufficiently numerous to man every wall and tower. It took some careful thought as to where to place each of his three companies so that they could move quickly enough to wherever they were needed. His men at arms, which he personally commanded, guarded the gate, while his archers flanked him, one company on a wall to the left, the other on the tower to the right.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle1_zpsb80d9a55.jpg)

Although they were twice as tall as a man, Sir Fromony was pretty certain that the Ogrish foe would not be able to scale the towers, so the archers to his right were instructed to move to the defence of the wall beside them if the foe made for it. This disposition still left stretches of undefended walls, but the enemy were surely not so numerous as to be able to attack all at once, and all he and his men had to do was buy time for he had sent for relief and knew full well that his master, Lord Giacomo Uberti, would not abandon Terme Castle to its fate.

As the red and yellow standard of Ravola was placed upon the battlement beside him, Sir Fromony peered over the crenulated parapet at the foe mustering upon the rocky ground before the walls. He wore his heavy armour of polished steel, and atop his helm sprouted a red fleur de lys crest, a twist of yellow braiding decorating its base.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle2_zps56526172.jpg)

He could see that two large companies of grey fleshed brutes made up the main strength, their grisly banners of bones, skins and the looted shields of old foes held at their fore. Upon one flank a shaggy beast dragged some sort of trebuchet, whilst upon the other was a company carrying cannon barrels – no carriages, no trucks, just the barrels. These brutes were strong enough to discharge cannons as if they were handguns! They were hauling plenty of ladders, suggesting that they intended to climb the walls rather than batter at them with shot and then assault them. And they were moving with haste, for at the very moment their companies were finally sorted into ranks and files a bellowing cry immediately signalled the advance and they came on.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle3_zps86139503.jpg)

If the relief did not come right now, Terme was surely doomed. No almost wholly peasant garrison could stand against such fearsome assailants, even protected by castle walls. Sir Fromony heard shouted commands to ‘loose’ from both his left and right, and volleys of arrows arced impressively from the walls. It was a sight which momentarily gave him hope – surely such a storm of sharpened steel would sting any foe? But to his horror, as the arrows landed, not one of the Ogres fell. Umpteen shafts could be seen, hanging from their chests, arms and shoulders, bouncing about as the ogres marched on, yet not one of the grey-skinned brutes seemed remotely perturbed.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle4_zpsb019592d.jpg)

The large contraption pulled by the hairy beast proved indeed to be a species of trebuchet, for suddenly a timber and iron arm swung up to hurl its own ragged cloud of missiles in the opposite direction. Sir Fromony wondered to himself why they were not throwing large rocks, and watched with mild confusion as the remarkably well placed shot resulted in a mere clattering against the castle gate. (Note: The Ogre player had forgotten that the scraplauncher – and there is a clue in the name – did not employ stones as ammunition but merely scrap iron. All he could recall as he gleefully watched the dice roll a direct hit on the gate was that the rules said it worked something like a stone thrower. Oh, how we laughed when we discovered the sad truth. :lol:)

Then came the joyful answer to Sir Fromony’s prayers – the sweet sound of horn blasts, followed quickly by the thunderous beat of heavy hooves. The relief had come, and not a moment too soon! (Note: a 3+ chance from the second turn onwards for the relief to arrive, as per ambush rules.) Two large bodies of gorgeously bedecked knights came hurtling through the morning mists like heroes from some legendary tale of knightly courage (and immaculate timing).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle5_zps11552c1c.jpg)

And just as they arrived, a cannon-carrying ogre did succumb to a second volley of arrows from the walls. These two events meant men of the garrison had every reason to cheer, and cheer they did. Their joy, however, was suddenly cut short as the ogres, showing remarkable alacrity for such hulking creatures, charged at the walls. It became obvious they knew full well the danger they were in, what with lance-armed knights to their rear, and that with this in mind they intended to gain the sanctuary of the walls before the knights could prick at them. For Sir Fromony, the thought that the foe might be acting out of fear, failed entirely to reassure him. All it meant was that they redoubled their pace. One company reached the walls with terrifying speed, laid their ladders promptly and began their climb …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle6_zps1c8d45be.jpg)

… while the cannon-wielding ogres spun about to point their cruel muzzles at the Knights Errant among the advancing chivalry.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle7_zps2492b793.jpg)

The Slaughtermaster with them conjured up a bonecrushing spell to kill two of the Knights Errant, then conjured up further magic to enfold him and his unit in magical protection. The cannons now blasted and felled another knight, whilst a load of scrap clattered off the young knights’ armour. Meanwhile, up at the wall the Ogres climbed quickly and surely, ripping a yeoman warder right off the wall to send him tumbling horribly to his death, the sight of this, along with the death of several more archers, sapped all courage from the defenders who leaped down into the courtyard leaving the Ogres to clamber over onto the parapet. While several ogres jeered and laughed at the running archers, the rest calmly turned to see if the knights had caught up with their comrades, as if taking the wall had been little more than a walk up a hill.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle8_zps1bb4bc54.jpg)

The knights of the relief force could see that the foe’s trebuchet pulling beast was threatening to charge. Unwilling to be so distracted, the Knights of the Realm charged across the Knight’s Errant's front to slam into the cannon-wielding Ogres, hoping to burst through and gallop along the base of the walls and so reach the second company of brutes before they too took a wall.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle9_zps96cd840a.jpg)

In this they had some success, driving one of their lances right through an ogre in the first impact, then riding down the rest and they fled, even felling the Slaughtermaster himself. In a somewhat ungainly fashion their mounts made their way over the piled corpses and towards the wall. They could see the enemy up ahead, but could they reach them in time?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle10_zpse7c9faf5.jpg)

While the scraplaunching monster shuffled unsurely towards the Knights Errant (Note: A stunning failed charge roll of 2,1,1!) the footslogging ogres wasted no time themselves. Hurtling at, then up, the walls, they hacked down several foes and sent the rest, Sir Fromony amongst them, fleeing into the courtyard.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle11_zps2f3c17ae.jpg)

Outside the chivalry was dismayed. They had come, by mere moments, too late. The Ogres were up and over the walls, and the screams from within the castle, as well as the peasants tumbling from the walls to thud into the rocky ground beneath, made it very clear that Terme had fallen. The knights had no ladders, and the ogres were laughing as they drew up their own to leave none outside. The gate was locked and barred, and showed no signs of opening.

Frustrated, the Knights Errant threw themselves at the only foe they could, chasing the Ogres chariot-cum-stonethrower across the field to watch it smash itself to pieces trying to cross a hedge (Note: 1 on dangerous terrain, 6 for wounds.) Inside the castle two bruisers leaped from the wall, leaving the other ogres in possession, and charged across the courtyard to make mincemeat of the momentarily rallied archers.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle12_zpsa75b0713.jpg)

(Note: Interestingly you can compare the rather contrasting painting styles of my friend and myself, as he borrowed a figure from my own collection to serve as his army standard. Mine = cartoon, cell shaded. His = realistic and subtle. You know, my figures never seem to fit in with anyone else’s collection!)

The castle was all but taken, and all that remained was the butchering or capture of the last of the garrison, an activity the ogres took grisly pleasure in. What became of Sir Fromony nobody knows, but most would say it is not hard to guess.

Meanwhile the Ogres’ commander, the fearsome tyrant Razger Boulderguts, was not happy. He had come to fight, something which he did not feel he had done. Outside the knights were galloping up and down, apparently unsure as to what they should do next.

“Come out,” cried one of them. “Come out and fight!” Others now joined in, adding mockery to the suggestion, “You came here to hide did you?” one shouted. “See how the Ogres run?” jeered another.

Then one of them, a paladin bedecked in a surcoat and barding of red-bordered blue, bearing a white griffon rampant upon his shield and a drake’s head crest to his helm, ordered silence. This gained, he now shouted, “I challenge any one of you to single combat. Come out, if you dare, if you any semblance of honour. Come out and face me one on one!”

Boulderguts, not an Ogre ever to suffer doubt, laughed. His god had answered his prayer – here was his chance to sate his bloodlust. He ordered the gate opened and strode boldly out before it, hefting a rusty and blooded blade bigger than a man in one hand, and an ironbound war-mallet heavier than a man in the other.

“You!” he bawled. “You want to fight? Then fight!”

With a roar he launched into a run, whilst the paladin spurred his destrier to charge. (Note: We agreed that both would count as charging.)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TermeBattle13_zps4e526651.jpg)

When they met there was a mighty crunch as Bouldergut’s gut-plate horns thrust through mail and deep into horse flesh. The ogre tyrant’s armour glittered magically as the knight’s frantic blows simply glanced off it. Then, after pausing for a moment as if to consider which weapon to favour, Bouldergut swung with his huge blade and sliced right through both the horse’s head and the paladin.

As the ogre tyrant let loose a bellowing victory roar, the knights, knowing that single combat had been offered and accepted, decided to combine honour and common sense and ride back to Ravola.

They had some bad news to deliver.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 21, 2013, 04:14:08 PM
General Report: End of Season 1 (Spring 2401)

Things are stirring in Tilea, though perhaps not quite what people expected. In the far north, contrary to the fearful concerns of many, Miragliano’s vampire duke has been quiet. No shambling legions have yet spilled forth to spread the waking nightmare of undeath. Yet the fear has not lessened, for few had supposed that the living dead would move quickly. Surely the evil duke is even now strengthening his cold grip upon his realm, weeding out the living wherever they hide, then killing them in order to create more servants.

The vampire duke’s nephew, Guglielmo Sforta, fled Udolpho and successfully made his way to Viadazza, though it is said he has little strength with him – certainly no army. One might say he is merely a pretender to his uncle’s title, but many claim, including the Church of Morr, that as Duke Allesandro is technically dead then the honour has indeed already legally and fully passed on to Guglielmo as his heir. Gulielmo has been made welcome in Viadazza, feasting with the city’s greatest as an honoured guest of Lord Adolpho, where he presses all who would hear his petition to aid him in cleansing Miragliano. Indeed, Lord Adolpho is amassing his not insignificant fleet, doing so surely in light of the very real threat Miragliano presents – though whether he intends to take the war to the foe by sailing into Miragliano’s harbour is another matter altogether.

And so it is that Archlector Calictus II of the Holy Church of Morr has made the following proclamation, to be read throughout Tilea:

Quote
Good people of Tilea, faithful servants of Morr and all the lawful gods, heed me for I speak with the voice of Morr to deliver dire warnings. Dark days have come, as a power most vile and most evil threatens every man, woman and child in our lands. We know greenskins raid in the south. We know that the foul ratto uomo scuttle beneath us sowing their poisonous corruptions. Yet these threats pale into insignificance compared to the wickedness in the north. For there, in Miragliano, an evil has arisen which is beyond mere sinfulness, beyond violence and hate, but is a triple heresy - for it is an insult to most holy Morr, an insult to his holy Church, and an insult to his people; it is a wickedness in direct opposition to Morr’s will, a usurping of the church’s rightful jurisdictions, and a terror to all in Tilea. Hundreds, thousands, of souls belonging to Morr have been twisted and tortured to become trapped in this realm, then made to kill the living so that even more souls might be reaped. If this wickedness is allowed free reign then all that is good will be destroyed; all that is ours, even our very souls, will be taken from us. Now is the time for the rulers of Tilea to accept their duty and so do what is noble, just and lawful, as well as entirely necessary. All those who can bear arms must march forth to cleanse the north of corruption. Let no prince be so unworthy as to shirk this duty. Let no council be so bickerous as to fail to act. Let no condottieri be so cowardly as to seek employment elsewhere. Let all our prayers be to Morr, for it is he who must guide us and bless us in our endeavours. Let our cry be ‘northwards’, for it is there that the fate of all those now living in Tilea will be decided!

Yet, as has been said already, the undead have so far been quiet. Rather, it is from the lands east of Miragliano that news comes of war. The great castle at Terme, guarding the road north to Ravola and the Nuvolonc Pass, has been taken and burned. Corpses have floated down the River Iseo to become caught on the footings of the bridge at Ebino, and the sky above Usola has become blackened by smoke. This was the work of an army of Ogres led by a brute called Boulderguts, brought over the mountains by the returning wizard Lord Nicolo of Campogrotta. They have looted the castle of everything of worth, enslaved what few of the inhabitants they did not kill, and have now marched northwards. Whether Duke Giacomo of Ravola can make a stand against this threat is yet to be seen. Some say that Lord Totto of the Arrabiatti Brotherhood must be laughing to see the fate of Giacomo’s Bretonnian knights, while others say he cries for the poor serfs killed by their masters’ sides. Many disagree, however, saying that a man who isn’t real cannot laugh at anything. What the dwarfs of Karak Borgo think of these events none can say, for none seem willing to risk taking the Iron Road through Campogrotta now that the Wizard Lord Niccolo’s tyranny has resumed.

But it is not just outsiders who stir trouble in the land. Lord Polcario, son of Duke Guidobaldi, has captured the town of Astiano in a bold attack. The Astianans had provoked Pavona’s wrath by tolling all mercantile goods upon both the road and the river. Perhaps they believed that with the Greenskin Waagh in the south the Pavonans would not dare to strike back at them. Not so. A blue and white army cut their way through the town’s gate in a lightning assault and so took Astiano with barely a loss of their own. The realm of Pavona is thus grown – stretching westwards along the river Remo. Furthermore, Duke Guidobaldi seems to have believed that the dwarfen moneylenders of Pavona had a hand in encouraging Astiano’s greedy boldness, and as a consequence he has banished all dwarfs from his realm, conveniently decreeing their goods forfeit.

There have been sightings of a force of greenskins upon the hilly coast of Caretello. At first it was feared that another Waagh had landed, and that the southern city states would be attacked from both flanks, but it transpired that these were Sea Boss Scarback’s Green Corsairs, an infamous company of rovers who have served as part of several Sartosan fleets, and once as hired as mercenaries by Viadazza. Few claim to know what their purpose is, though it is commonly presumed that they are looking for employment – and if not that, then they will simply take what they need. They are not the only company making enquiries, for the Compagnia del Sole’s contract to Trantio is drawing to a close. It may well be renewed (the negotiations are ongoing), but if not, then this most famous company – a veritable army in itself – could find itself serving a new master. Duchess Maria Colleoni of Ebino, faced with a vampire lord to her west and a rampaging army of Ogres to her east, is said to be reckoning up every scrap of gold and silver, even the copper pennies, in her treasury, praying she has enough to hire such a force.

In the far south warlord Khurnag’s Waagh remains concentrated upon the western coast of the Bay of Wrecks, and especially around Monte Castello. Nothing has been heard of Lord Roberto’s garrison there for nearly a month now, and no ships have returned from the castle. Those sailors who have risked approaching the mouth of the bay report that the greenskin fleet is grown much stronger, and that fires are burning all around Monte Castello, as well as in the hills stretching to the south. Drums can be heard beating, horns blaring, both all the louder in the hours of darkness.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on September 07, 2013, 01:32:19 PM
So, as an interlude to Padre's excellent work here is some background to my army for the campaign, there may be a familiar feel to some who played in some Animosity campaigns, but this is new and revised for Padre's campaign.

Quote
Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie – United Marienburg Company.

 

The Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie, or VMC, is a company that has recently been chartered by the Ten of Marienburg and in that charter given far ranging powers. It is an amalgam of several smaller companies, run by various trading houses of Marienburg that have operated for years with mixed fortunes.

The difference is however the size and scope of the company, all of the great merchant houses of Marienburg are invested in the company, and as such it has been able to obtain unprecedented powers from the Directorate. The powers they have been granted include; the authorisation to wage war, make alliances and treatise, found settlements and even mint their own coinage as needed as well as many others that give them almost the status of a sovereign entity, under the aegis of Marienburg and the Directorate.

This has been done for a number of reasons, primarily to increase the profitability of the newly opened trade routes for spices to the far east and the new world, avoiding the all or nothing troubles of independent ventures.

In addition it also gives the company the power and authority to protect itself against pirates and also compete against other trading powers, being able to make use of the advantages their sheer size affords.

Its first few years of trading so far have been incredibly profitable and shares in the company are trading at a premium in the Exchange and so the company is expanding, east as far as Nippon and Cathay as well as west to the New World and wherever there is profit in trade of any sort to be had.

Now their shareholders include not only the powerful and rich houses of Marienburg but also it is rumoured the likes of the Graf of Middenheim and perhaps other Elector Counts of the Empire as well.

And so, the VMC has ships sailing on every sea and calling at every port, and is even now in the process of establishing havens and way stations along some of the longer routes.

 
The Company in Tilea.

In the year 2401IC the Company finds itself engaged in the South of Tilea along with a number of other factions. Their interest in Tilea is, like anything, purely mercantile in nature. If there is profit to be won for the company’s shareholders then the company is interested. Specifically in Tilea the lucrative trade in olive oil and wine not to mention access to the trade with the great Dwarven sea hold of Barak Vaar.

Their headquarters and home port for this is the town of Alcante, where the Pirates Current runs into the Black Gulf, putting them in a prime strategic position to advance their cause.

For their part the council of Alicante have sought an alternative to the ever unreliable condottiere for their defence against the rumoured “Waagh” and instead turned to the VMC as a hope to boost both their defence, and their trading in this time.

General in Chief

Jan Valckenburgh is a tall, thin faced man with a serious expression but a relaxed demeanour. He is very much a man of Marienberg, both in fashion and outlook which can sometimes put him at odds with the burgers of Tilea.

Despite his serious expression Jan Valckenburgh is quite a calm and passive commander, often preferring to take up defensive positions and allow the enemy to come to him but he is an able army administrator and the political instincts to get himself appointed this command.

Technically his rank is that of “Associate Director of the Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie, Tilea”. In practice however he is the Lord General of the VMC mercenaries in Alcante and Tilea.

Unusually for a commander he has also brought his wife, Dina, and her household with him to Tilea, perhaps because they are only recently married, but perhaps also because she is from a rich family and so he seeks to protect his claim on her family fortune. Now his wife and household live in the grandest villa in Alcante, benefitting from grand ocean views and cool sea breezes.

 
VMC Muster List in Alcante, IC2401 –Lord General’s Banner

Jan Valckenburgh

General of the VMC, he is a competent commander and is typically found mounted amongst the heavily armed and armoured cuirassiers ready to deliver a massive blow to the enemy forces.

For his comfort he has travelled to Tilea with his wife and household who are now resident in the best Villa’s Alcante has to offer.

Pieter Schout
Well educated and able to function in Tilean court society as well as speaking several languages made Pieter the prime choice as Lord General Valckenburgh’s ambassador in Tilea. Typically he is escorted by a small squadron of Pistoleers

Johannes Deeter
Johannes was an eminent and educated scholar originally hailing from the Sigmarite Empire before falling out of favour there and making his way south through the Border Princes before arriving in Alcante by ship.

In Alcante he intended to conduct experiments in harnessing the power of the sun on Tilea’s south coast but lacked funds to do so.

He has sold his services to the VMC in exchange for their funding of his experiments, for which they will naturally take a share of any profits that might be made.

Serafina Rosa – apprentice to Johannes Deeter

Serafina is a rare thing, a female wizard. Not only that she is independently wealthy, strong minded and tempestuous.

Her wealth and independence bought her apprenticeship with Johannes and now she serves on the battlefield with the VMC.

Luccia la Fanciulla
Born from a minor family of Tilean nobles, Luccia is a young woman of rare and breath taking beauty, who might have won her family a  great match with some Tilean prince had the fortunes of war not taken a hand.

For when she was in the first flowering of womanhood Luccia hear the calling of the goddess Myrmiddia to take up the sword and standard and to be a leader of armies.

Whether by divine guidance, or through some strategic understanding Luccia has now allied herself and the local church of Myrmiddia to the forces of the VMC and she now stands in the forefront of their Tercico clad in harness, sword in one hand and holy standard in the other.

Marinus van Kempen
A bright young officer of the company, he is entrusted with the carrying of the company colours.

Despite the VMC being a mercantile force first and a military force second they still place a great deal of pride and prestige in their army colours, seeing it as an extension of all their other activities.

As such there is much responsibility on the young ensign not only to defend the colours in the heat of battle, but also to compose himself as the model gentleman off the field.

Captain Singel
Brought to Tilea from Marienberg he is an experienced artillery commander, having been a master gunner on board a number of VMC Men-o-War as well as battery commander in the infamous Fort Solace on the Wastelands coast protecting the sea lanes into the great port itself.

Now he is to be the Master of Works for the VMC in Tilea and hopes to procure some of the great bombards in the company arsenal.

Colour Guards

The foot guards are an almost ever present body of troops wherever the general goes, away from the battlefield the accompany him in small groups but on the battlefield they can all be found together with the general and his colours.

They are handpicked swordsmen, experts in the sword and round shield style of fighting common in Estalia (and in truth across the Old World), relying on speed and skill to overcome their foe rather than heavy armour and weapons.

Colonel Van Hal’s Tercio – The Meagre Company

Colonel Van Hal himself is a seasoned battlefield commander having served the company as a commander in a number of places, most lately Estalia where he learned the use of the Tercio on the battlefield and now looks to put it into practice himself in Tilea.

The Meagre Company is the backbone of the VMC forces in Tilea and is mainly made up of recruits from Marienberg itself, but with a few foreigners in there too. Their name is a self-given one and refers to their lack of nobility although some will also say their lack of pay.

It is a combined name for a main phalanx of pike supported by two sleeves of shot.

The Firelock Company
Armed with lightweight, reliable hand guns with a cunning new mechanical firing mechanism, the firelock company can be called on to support an advance, post a night watch or guard the artillery train and munitions safely due to them not needing a match to fire their guns.

Captain van Luyden’s Company of Shot
A well drilled company of hand gunners recruited from within those soldiers already signed on to the VMC. Like the Tercio they are taken from the scum of the old word.
   
Captain Hidink’s Pistoleros Light Horse
Horsemen recruited from the low lying lands around Marienberg that herd oxen and cattle through the marshland, they are used to being a free ranging, lightly equipped but independent force usually used as the eyes and ears of the VMC forces

Captain Vinco’s Caribinieri Light Horse

These are locally recruited light horse, primarily armed with handguns and lightly armoured they are a proto-dragoon of sorts able to move quickly around the battlefield and provide heavy fire support where it is needed, or to quickly block and interdict an enemy’s line of attack.

Captain Wallenstein’s Cuirassiers Heavy Horse
A company of heavily armoured cavalry mainly recruited from the Sigmarite Empire    they rely on their armour to protect them and a brace of heavy horse pistols to deliver a devastating blow in combat as they charge.

They are quickly developing a reputation for being impetuous, devastating and utterly undisciplined in their sack of enemy baggage or captured towns.

Captain Singel’s Train of Artillery
A grand title for a small battery at present, their field artillery consisting of only a pair of sakers and an organ gun, but the Captain is hoping to acquire more pieces as time progresses and is in negotiations to obtain a massive siege bombard from the company’s arsenal in Marienberg itself

Bucanieri
Naval shore parties taken from the fighting crew of the VMC ships, they are typically a mix of nationalities that all have the trait of being vicious fighters, sea dogs and rabble. They are however excellent scouts, skirmishers and irregular fighters that can be called on to perform a number of dangerous tasks that they seem ably equipped for.
 
Southlands Native Levy
The Impi of the Greys is a contingent of warriors from the VMC’s station on the Southlands Cape. They are fierce warriors who rarely yield to the enemy and all are seasoned veterans of wars both at home and abroad.

Ogre Mercenaries
Ogbut the Dandy and his gang are a small group of ogres from the north who try to affect a style found in Imperials or at least humans and they try to be more civilised than their normal kind. This is of course an abject failure on their part. They remain however a savage assault force that the VMC can unleash onto enemy lines.

Baggage and Logistics


Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on September 07, 2013, 03:39:47 PM
Finally taking a moment to begin catching up on this thread.  Just finished reading the pieces on the Orcs in Tilea and how they got there, the piece on dwarf banker and his wizard cousin, and the one with the downed gates of Astiano.  Great stuff!  :::cheers:::

Evidently I got four more story bits from Padre, plus Uryens addition, to still read as well.  Looks like more pleasant reading in front of me! :icon_cool:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on September 08, 2013, 12:53:59 PM
I like how the "Its about the pay" story covers the overall political situation of the time. :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: WallyTWest on September 12, 2013, 09:10:00 PM
I get back and this is one of the first things I see on the site...

It's like coming home... Marvelous Padre.

 :biggriin:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 12, 2013, 09:48:31 PM
Thanks ever so much for your posts, GP and WallyT. This project is gonna be a long one, involving time and effort (all fun), and although it could be sustained by the players alone, I myself am much encouraged if the readers here find some worth in what we are creating. I want this to work on every level, including as something that readers will enjoy following.

The players' orders for season two have just about all come in, and I am working even now on new stories. I very much hope to return to each of the non-player characters and groups and forces already written about. The more the campaign unfolds, the more the players' actions have effects, the easier and easier it will be for me to spin out the non-players' stories. A third battle has already been fought (yet to be reported) and there's already another battle likely to happen very soon, one with some interesting scenario rules. From the way the players are manouevring, there should be many more to come afterwards.

I am also working on 10 merc knights (Perry plastics), 36 militia pikemen and 10 Tilean noble knights (out of production Foundry Miniatures) - all for non-player forces. And other stuff. I hope to post some WIP pics soon, like Mogsam's Luccini army project.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 13, 2013, 04:41:04 PM
Deliberations

Part One: Defence

The walled city of Ebino

“I cannot understand why Lord Guglielmo rode past us upon his flight. Have I offended him? Is Ebino of no worth? Or are we so clearly doomed that he dare not visit us, never mind ask us for help?”

The Duchess Maria had been nursing this grievance ever since she heard of Guglielmo’s passage. She was family: as the granddaughter of Duke Ludo Sforta she was Guglielmo’s first cousin. Her little city of Ebino was Miragliano’s neighbour, and for years enjoyed not unfriendly relations. Lord Guglielmo had met the Duchess upon several occasions, fostering a familiarity she had thought genuine. Yet he had fled from his vampiric uncle’s terrible new rule not to Ebino and her, but to Viadaza and Lord Adolpho, a beast of a man with orc in his blood.

No-one answered her immediately, which did not bode well. The dwarfs, both Captain Urginbrow of her Ironsides and her chief engineer Welleg, simply stared, as if the matter were so outwith their ken that an answer could not be expected of them. Captain Urginbrow was dressed as always in plate amour, his beard concealing the breastplate even down to his tassets. He wore no helm, but his bald pate seemed perfectly formed for such, as if it were crafted for a helm rather than the other way around. Welleg was hooded in grey cloth and bore a huge, iron headed mallet that he obviously had not thought to lay down before attending the council. His fur-lined, green jerkin was decorated sparsely with iron studs, making him appear as if he had been lightly peppered with leadshot. He had the sort of bulbous nose many dwarfs were gifted with, and the flatness of the rest of his face was accentuated rather than diminished by a protruding bottom lip caused by his underbite. All in all, not the sort of face that promised wit and wisdom, yet he was rightly renowned for his skill with engines of war.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Deliberation5_zpsdaaa785e.jpg)

Both men in the chamber were similarly silent. Her mercenary commander, Captain Sir Giorgio, wore a furrowed brow as if wrestling with mental turmoil, while the Morrite priest Father Remiro was apparently engaged in silent prayer. Perhaps he was seeking enlightenment?

“Well,” asked the Duchess, “why did he not come?”

Sir Giorgio cleared his throat, “We have sent a messenger to Viadaza to enquire of him what he intends, your grace, but as yet have received no answer.”

“I know about the message,” said the Duchess, a note of exasperation in her voice. “And I know that no word has come back. In lieu of that, I would like your thoughts upon the matter.”

She presented quite a contrast to the armed and armoured soldiers in the chamber, as well as to the priest in his dark grey woollen robes and plain cap of maroon cloth. Her light brown hair was fastened up fancily in the Reman fashion, with a band of tight curls to frame her brow and bunched ringlets upon either side. Her dress was of dark green silk damask, edged at her low cut neck line and sleeves with fine, white lace point. She wore gold at her neck, wrist and upon her breast.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Deliberation4_zpsb55120e8.jpg)

It was Father Remiro who ventured an opinion first, gesturing dramatically as he so often did – this time presenting his arms as if he were weighing the matter in the air before him. “Your grace, it may well be that Lord Guglielmo was not thinking clearly, neither acting sensibly nor in his best interests. To discover that one’s uncle and liege lord has become so evilly corrupted as to embrace undeath, and that he intends to massacre his own people and plunge his entire realm into an unliving nightmare, can be no easy thing. It would unhinge the best of minds, certainly those not prepared by their faith in Morr to stand up against such horrors.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Deliberation2_zps25792ef0.jpg)

The Duchess was not convinced. She had the measure of Lord Guglielmo and he had never given her reason to suspect he was weak. Quite the opposite – he appeared sure of his nobility and purpose, and very much a leader of men. “A man so afeared would run to the nearest safe haven, surely? If he did not come here, then perhaps he thinks Ebino is not safe? Perhaps he knows what his uncle intends next and travelled accordingly”

“I reckon it’s more likely his lordship couldn’t come here,” said the Ironside Captain Urginbrow. “If he was chased from Miragliano by dead and deadly things, then he would go whichever way he could to escape.”

Sir Giorgio was nodding. “We know the vampire duke’s foul servants came close, the tracks we found proved the peasants’ frightful reports were not false. Mounted men, or at least things that were once men. Perhaps they followed Lord Guglielmo then turned aside?” He pointed with his gauntleted hand at the large map laid upon the table.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Deliberation3_zps172b0bc4.jpg)

“They were seen here in the orchard by the mill at Rucai, not far at all from the road, and here where the road fords the Valgetty.”

“If they were pursuing him, then why would they turn aside?” said the Duchess. “Such creatures are not easily distracted from their purpose. If they were scouting my lands, then they were sent to do so.”

“Lord Guglielmo might have shaken them off with some trick, perhaps?” offered Sir Giorgio. “He may have led them along the road, giving the impression he was heading here, then cunningly snuck off southwards.”

“If that were so,” said the Duchess, “and his move towards us was merely a ruse, then it still leaves my question unanswered.”

The mood in the chamber was darkening, something the Duchess would not have thought possible concerning the peril they all faced. Perhaps her line of enquiry seemed desperate? Harping on about why Guglielmo had not come was hardly likely to lift her men’s spirits, and besides, as no answer was forthcoming, it served no real purpose. She looked down at the map, traced her finger along the line marking the road. “Well, it’s all by the by. He did not come. We must of course consider what we can do, what we should do, not what he did not do.”

Sir Giorgio obviously took this as permission to say something that had been on his mind. “By your leave, your grace, we could – considering how many good dwarfen folk dwell within our walls – we could send to Barak Borgo for aid.” He turned to address the two dwarfs directly, “Surely your brethren would be willing to help us against such a monstrous foe?”

To all but the engineer’s surprise, Captain Urginbrow issued a snort of laughter. “You are wrong, commander. They may be distant kin, but they owe us nothing, neither love nor even respect. They look upon us …” Here he stopped, turned to bow to the duchess, and said, “No offence to you, your grace, nor to the good folk of this city, for I speak the karak dwarf’s mind and not my own.” Then to Sir Giorgio, “… They look upon us as no better than men, and for no more reason than that we chose to live among you. They are proud to the point of folly, and they love only their own.”

“And, your grace,” said the priest, “Karak Borgo is many leagues from here. If they were to send help it would surely come too late.”

“Then you believe that the abomination will strike at us soon?” asked the Duchess.

“I fear so. That which he has become will still possess the living Duke’s memories, and will revel in corrupting all that was once his – including those he once held dear, even his kin.”

“If his outriders have tried to count us,” added the captain, “then he must at the least be considering it. If they succeeded in their count - and who is to say where they crept in the darkest hours of the night - he will know we are not strong.”

“But our defences, the moat, my ironsides and your mercenaries, every able bodied man we have practising drill – is this not strength?”

“Ebino has never been strong in comparison to Miragliano, and now that the duke has fashioned an army from hell, summoning long dead soldiers, it has become terrifying also. We can do all that we can to prepare, but we cannot stop men fearing the walking dead. How did you put it, captain Urginbrow: ‘dead and deadly things’.”

The duchess untangled her delicately entwined fingers and placed her hands on her hips. “I shall stand with my brave soldiers, and if needs be I shall perish in the defence of mine own.”

The men looked aghast, Father Remiro almost tripping over his words to discourage her. “Your grace, there is no need for you to put yourself in danger. You have your soldiers to do that. If you were to die here, and your daughter also, then that would be another victory for the foe. If you survive there is hope for the future, for Tilea must surely come to its senses, heed our holy church’s call to arms and cleanse Miragliano. Not the mountain dwarfs, but the faithful of Tilea. ”

Captain Giorgio was keen to add his own discouragement. “Your men will fight better knowing that you are safe, that you have gone for help. To face such horrors when their own noble mistress is in dire peril could only dishearten them. They would surely rather know that you are gathering allies to come to their aid.”

The duchess was apparently not convinced. “Our walls are strong, and we have the Ironsides to stand immovable upon them, two full companies of crossbowmen to shoot from them, and more militia besides. Every wall has been blessed by the priests and brothers of Morr, with charms and wards to fend off evil magics. The moat is deep and our storehouses full to brimming with supplies, carefully gathered and rationed. And the shadow lord Totto of the Arrabiatti promised to come in our hour of need. If Guglielmo receives our plea, then he too must send help. What could he be doing in Viadazza but raising an army?”

“I believe we can hold Ebino for some time, but not indefinitely,” said Captain Giorgio. “The enemy will not flinch from our quarrels as mortal men would do. Their fallen will lie in heaps even as those still standing calmly fill the moat with faggots and the truly dead to fashion a crossing, then raise their ladders beneath torrents of boiling oil without feeling the burning pain. Oh they will burn, oil will do that, but they won’t let it distract them, and will labour until they fall into pieces. And those who do fall may well be raised again. We can indeed hold for some time while they busy themselves fearlessly and steadily to overcome our walls. Such brave defence, however, would be wasted unless a sufficiently strong and timely relief force came to drive the foe away.”

“So you would have me run from Ebino during its greatest trial?”

“Yes your grace,” admitted the Sir Giorgio. “But only because I would have you bring succour to Ebino during its greatest trial.”

“We have sent word to Guglielmo, promised pardons to the Arrabiatti, and the church has preached on our behalf, these will bring succour.”

Captain Urginbrow harrumphed, and all turned to look at him. “Guglielmo passed us by, the Arrabiatti are like the mist that hides a thief not the steel that arms a soldier, and the church can only preach – people have to listen, then believe, then decide, then act. You, your grace, can promise rewards. You can shame the princes into doing what they know they should. You, your grace, will be Ebino standing there right ‘afore them. They can hardly ignore us then.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Deliberation1_zps175f7577.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 22, 2013, 08:54:20 PM
Brute Strength

There was precious little time to prepare - certainly not enough to send a plea through the pass for help from the north. Those knights who had ridden south to Terme Castle’s aid had arrived only to see the brutish foe clamber over the walls and drag their ladders up behind them. After then witnessing the death in single combat of the brave paladin Sir Theulenor, they were left stuck outside the castle, unable to help as the awful slaughter began within. Now they had returned to the city of Ravola, and although the foe (busy with looting) was not exactly hot on their heels, it seemed obvious to all that they would come, and soon. The horribly successful surprise attack on the southern fortress would be wasted if they did not march on to catch the city just as ill-prepared. Even Ogres would know that.

So it was that Lord Giacomo ordered that all those who dwelt in the hovels and cottages outside the walls should hurry into the city for safety. They did so very willingly, until the land outside lay silent.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport1_zpsda3006f7.jpg)

The grey stone city walls were studded with towers built in a variety of styles, the result of many decades of piecemeal extensions and improvements. The gate was a little keep in itself, with a more massive tower to its west. Upon that bigger edifice was mounted the only working war machine currently in Ravola’s possession. It had been carried in pieces from a storehouse no-one had thought it would ever be removed from, and hastily re-built. The floor beneath was strengthened from below. Large chunks of masonry were hoisted up, while the last surviving man in the city to have seen it in action imparted what advice he could to the serfs who were to crew it. No-one, not even the most chivalrous of the knights, complained about its use, for the foe were vicious thugs, with not so much as a trace of honour, and fully deserved such a death. In truth, even the knights wished there were more such engines, and several workshops were ordered to begin fashioning copies with all haste.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport2_zpsd0ba31a3.jpg)

The new machines were not to be completed, however, as the ogres, evidently sated with their bloody ransacking of Terme, came thumping into view, their ironshod boots tearing up the ground as they advanced almost as quickly as any destrier. They were not numerous, but such hulking creatures did not need to be. Led by the tyrant Razger Boulderguts, two regiments marched through the abandoned hamlet to the south, their banners of bones and battle trophies clattering a veritable cacophony to accompany their fiendish bellowing.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport5_zps8c5f6dae.jpg)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport6_zpsf5f4dedb.jpg)


The order given my Lord Giacomo satisfied some and surprised the rest. He decided his realm’s knightly warriors should not man the walls, but would sally forth to meet the foe in the field. In his speech to his knights he asked them why own such fine mounts if not to use them in the fight? Why possess such horsemanship and skill in arms if not to employ them? And would not the Lady bless them all the more if instead of cowering behind the walls to let arrows and stones do the killing, they rode gallantly and chivalrously to face the foe in the field of battle? Last, he held aloft his lance and sung most lyrically of its virtues, describing how such a weapon, deftly and solidly placed by a man of courage and well-honed skills, could surely skewer even a beast twice the size of an ogre. This last remark with met with the loudest cheer, and every knight hefted his own lance to show their agreement.

And so, after dutifully praying to the Lady that she might bless them, three companies of knights rode through the gate and arrayed themselves in the shadow of the walls. Lord Giacomo, riding a horse barded in heavy black cloth, a large, purple panache adorning his helm and a heavy, and a scarlet cloak to mark him out, rode with five knights (the survivors of those who had fought against him all those years ago in the tourney in which he won the realm).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport4_zpsfdeb1470.jpg)

To his left rode his Knights Errant, ordered to stay close, all the better to receive Lord Giacomo’s shouted commands. Off to the right rode to the largest of his companies, being ten Knights of the Realm. The noble paladin Sir Galwin carried Ravola’s standard, ‘per pales gules and or a bull’s head sable’, upon a striped argent and sable silk flag.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport3_zps1fa851ed.jpg)

Above the knights, upon the walls, were two score longbowmen and a small company of men at arms, as well as the lone trebuchet, all of whom watched with trepidatious fascination as the armoured riders manoeuvred into position and dressed their ranks and files. Then the attention of both those upon and below the walls was caught by something else which revealed the test was about to begin. The brute bellowing surged and the attackers now came on. The two regiments of bulls came together to the flank of the hamlet, the tyrant Boulderguts raising his huge, cleaver-like sword aloft, its blade still besmeared with the blood of the garrison at Terme.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport7_zpsa559353a.jpg)

The only other ogres present, a brace of leadbelchers with their heavy burdens, moved up upon the other side of the hamlet, then released a thunderous blast of iron and lead with no noticeable result. It was a disappointment mirrored by the magics summoned by the limping Slaughtermaster, who also failed to harm the knights. More than one of Giacomo’s men began to believe the Lady had truly blessed them, and thus gained a confidence they had not really possessed before, despite their outward cheers.

Lord Giacomo dipped his lance to signal his command, guiding his own company and the young knights on his left to wheel a little and trot leisurely towards the main bodies of the foe. His intention was to hit the ogres to the flank and front with a synchronised assault from all three companies of knights. If, that is, all went well.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport8_zpsc7f3033f.jpg)

The plan went awry almost immediately. The oblique advance of the Knights Errant had put their flank within sight of the two cannon-carrying ogres. Considering their cannons were now empty, the two ogres now attempted to charge. Left to their own devices the young knights would most certainly have preferred to stand rather than flee from such a base foe, but Lord Giacomo did not intend to waste their lives and so with another gesture of his lance, he ordered them to run. He knew this would hinder his plans somewhat, yet hoped it would not do so irretrievably: the Knights Errant would surely reform beneath the walls, while the leadbelchers would be drawn within range of his many longbows. Then, just a little later than he intended, the young knights could come up and join the fray.

 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport9_zps5c4e155d.jpg)

The young knights obeyed and came thundering to the rear of Lord Giacomo’s company, doing so in a manner that appeared so much like a charge that the men at arms upon the wall looked down utter confusion. The tyrant Boulderguts, however, barely noticed. His attention had been entirely upon the foe before him, then was distracted only by the faltering advance of the other regiment of bulls, who had at first seemed intent upon charging Lord Giacomo’s company but for some reason failed to do so. Unhappy at their hesitation, he simply marched his own regiment calmly towards the foe, bawling: “March on, lads. Let them charge us! I am not afraid. Their wooden sticks’ll splinter and snap. Their bones’ll break as we bash their armour in. Let ‘em come. We’ll kill every last one of them and you’ll be sucking their marrow for breakfast!”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport10_zps1a9927c5.jpg)

Perhaps the Slaughtermaster was not convinced by his master’s speech, or possibly he thought to make sure it came true? Either way, while the tyrant shouted his boasts, the magic wielding ogre summoned up a magical fortitude and stubbornness to bolster the bulls’ natural strength.

Boulderguts’ bravado was rewarded by the charges he asked for. While Sir Galwin’s Knights Errant smashed into the tyrant’s own regiment …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport11_zpsd7508ba3.jpg)

… Lord Giacomo led his own smaller company into the Slaughtermaster’s regiment.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport12_zpsbd934c80.jpg)

One of the two large companies of longbowmen, who had been placed upon a wall from which their arrows could not reach the foe, had been making their way out of the gate so that they could lend what bloody contribution they could. The trebuchet had so far been incapable of landing anything near the foe, but now, upon witnessing the brave charges of their knights, these men joined with half the other company of Longbowmen still on the walls to send a hail of thirty arrows at the leadbelchers.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport13_zps31c3ad49.jpg)

One of the brutes, his grey skin fatally pricked from head to foot by arrow heads, collapsed with a wail to the ground. His comrade, keen not to suffer a similar torment, turned and ran.

As the leadbelcher thrashed about in an ever increasing puddle of blood, his waling subsided until replaced by the sound of maniacal laughter. Razger Boulderguts had cut a paladin in two and found the sight of the horse carrying a pair of disembodied, stirruped legs very funny. Despite this horror, the other knights managed to wound the Slaughtermaster and fell an ogre, losing two of their own number. Some amongst them thought for a moment that the foe was giving way, entertaining a brief glimmer of hope that the impact of their lances at full charge could indeed discomfort the foe just as Lord Giacomo had promised. It was not to be, however. The ogres stood firm and the fight went on. (Note: the combat was a draw – I had a feeling this was the turning point, and an early one at that, in the game.)

Lord Giacomo threw himself even more enthusiastically at the foe, becoming entangled in a one-on-one fight against a bruiser. While he and the brute hacked at each other, Giacomo’s armour becoming bent, battered and bloodied, four of his knights fell to the enemy’s battle standard bearer, who waded through them swinging his blade as if he were merely scything hay and not steel clad men. The last knight was cut down by the rest of the ogres so that suddenly Lord Giacomo found that he faced them all alone.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport14_zpscbd6528e.jpg)

Facing such odds, and filled with despair at the quick slaughter of the men he loved, all the bravery Giacomo had ever known was insufficient. He turned to run, intent on the crazy desire to apologise to the people of Ravola for what he had done, only to be cut down and trampled into the dirt as the bulls hurtled onwards. Upon seeing what lay before them, the ogres happily turned this impetuous motion into a charge and crashing headlong into the stunned young knights beneath the walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport15_zpsb6cb5d80.jpg)

The knights fighting Boulderguts and his regiment put up a better fight …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport16_zps600247c9.jpg)

… yet they too were doomed. Two by two, then one by one, they fell, until only madness kept them fighting (A snake eyes break test was passed). When finally reduced to one man, being the paladin carrying the standard of Ravola, even madness was not enough to keep him there. Like his Lord only a few moment’s before, he turned and fled …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport18_zpsaee7ae18.jpg)

… and like his Lord, he too was run down and ground into the mud by ironshod feet.

Cruelly, the Knights Errant were easily swept aside, their short lives ending in a combat lasting barely a moment. The victorious ogres simply stepped over their corpses and right up to the walls …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RavolaReport17_zpsda5f5279.jpg)

They still had the ladders they had used at Terme. What happened next was something like what had happened that castle, although here there were no knights advancing at their rear so they could take their time. When they did climb, the men on the walls stood no chance, something the ogres knew from the start and the men, even the slowest witted amongst them, knew from the moment they saw the first ogre pluck a defender from the wall, then clamber over to push two more from the parapet to their deaths.

Screams echoed in the streets, mingled with coarse voices crying “Give it hear!” and “Smash it down” and “Where do you think you’re running to little rat runt?” Misery and pain became the order of the day, and by nightfall, Ravola had well and truly fallen.

Never mind a castle, Razger Boulderguts had now captured no less than a city.



Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 29, 2013, 08:56:27 PM
Deliberations

Part Two: Attack

The City of Trantio


As always, Prince Girenzo Medizi of Trantio appeared calm. It did not mean he was content. All his orders, even those to have this person punished or that person tortured, were delivered quietly, assuredly and entirely without expression of the commonly expected emotions such as sadness or anger. Although he was young, his was a cold species of tyranny and most of those who served him closely and often had quickly learned not to search his face nor scrutinize his demeanour to ascertain his mood. These things could only ever be known by his words, which were direct and clear, if necessary determined and cruel.

He wore a long gown of richly embroidered satin-cloth, his hair cut neatly in an unflatteringly practical style, bulging out from a purple cap of velvet. In his right hand he clutched his sword and scabbard, the belt hanging loose, as if he had brought them as an after thought, a nod to the fact that the meeting was to concern war and that he was speaking in his capacity as Lord General of Trantio’s forces. He had been silent since told of the Pavonan conquest of Astiano, his attention fixed upon the map and the papers detailing his current military strength. Watching him were his chief secretary Master Maconi and the commander of the Compagnia del Sole, Captain-General Micheletto Fortebraccio. The only others on the battlement were the prince’s and the captain-general’s guards.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/DeliberationB1_zpse7f34982.jpg)

“It seems Duke Guidobaldo believes we are so afraid of events in the north that we are unwilling, even unable, to protest against his actions. The ambassador we received was without doubt here to gauge our fears concerning Miragliano, but not because Pavona wished to ally with us against the threat. Guidobaldo has other battles in mind, serving his own greed and lust for power. When he ought, by all that is right and proper, to stand beside his neighbours, he looks instead to snatch at what he can like a common cutpurse.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/DeliberationB2_zps822af9b2.jpg)

The town of Astiano was not a possession of Trantio, but the prince had family there, and the merchants of both towns had good trade relations, even if the road between them was in such a poor state as not to warrant a scratch on a map. What really annoyed Girenzo, however, was the fact that one neighbour thought to seize another, whilst not only keeping their intentions secret from him, but actively misleading him. And why did Guidobaldo think he had any right to conquer Astiano? If anyone had the right to rule Astiano it was him.

He drew his finger across the map, then tapped at Astiano. “I liked the duke of old, but not the man he has become. While I was busy cleansing this city of heresy and the improper influence of lower clergy and rabble rousers, he was encouraging such follies. Everything has its place in both the heavens and the earth, proper hierarchies both civil and religious. To raise one god above all others is – as our own dear city’s ugly past attests – to topple all rightful authority. The duke is playing with fire, fanning the flames of rebellion, burning down lawful precedents, and why? Greed. Just as the Arch Lector preaches how all Tilean princes should stand together in the service of Morr against the vampire duke, Guidobaldo instead cries ‘For Morr’ as he robs and steals from his neighbours.”

As he fell silent no-one present thought to comment. To speak now, even during the silence, felt like interruption. Eventually, he spoke again.

“I know this duke only too well, but his son, the commander of this army at Astiano – of him I know almost nothing.” He turned to look at his secretary. “Master Maconi?”

Recovering quickly from the discomfort of such a sudden enquiry, Maconi answered. “Your grace, the young Lord Polcario is, from every report I have heard, simply a soldier obedient to his father’s will.”

“Ah, but what kind of soldier?” asked the prince. “Soldiers, like dogs, come in many breeds. Is this boy a pampered lap dog? A turnspit? A hound or a spaniel? A shepherd’s cur or a bold mastiff like our captain general here?”

In response, Fortebraccio simply nodded, taking care not to show any discomfort. None but the prince could know whether the comment was meant to be in jest. Nor was anyone going to ask.

Maconi put his hands upon his hips, an action which accentuated his portly shape. The copious green cloth of his bonnet flopped to one side and the silvered badge of office beneath his black beard glinted in the sun as he answered.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/DeliberationB3_zpsaa225dba.jpg)

“Oh, definitely a hunting hound, your grace. He is wholly given over to the practise of arms, to riding, hawking and the company of soldiers and knights. This may of course change as he matures, but at present his youthful straightforwardness makes him merely his father’s instrument.”

The prince gave a nod, both a sign of his understanding and that the secretary should stop speaking. “The musician plays the tune.”

Once again he studied the map, tracing the line of a path through the Trantine hills. “What of Guidobaldo’s other ‘instruments’? This army at Astiano – what does it consist of? How many mercenaries? And which companies?”

“Apparently none, your grace. The soldiers are Pavonan, though not mere militia hurriedly raised for the campaign, but contracted soldiers, well armed and drilled. Astiano fell quickly.”

Once more the prince simply nodded to show he had heard. After a long moment’s silence, he turned to captain-general Fortebraccio. “Did the duke seek your service?”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/DeliberationB4_zps769dd768.jpg)

The captain-general gave a smile of sorts, being one of the few men in the prince’s circle apparently untroubled by nerves in his presence. Of course, if he was, he would hide it, for it would not do for a condottieri to be so easily cowed. His head was uncovered, as he held his yellow feathered hat (a field sign of the Compagnia del Sole’s officers) by his side. His left hand rested on the pommel of his sword, its blade hidden beneath the generous folds of a copious cassock of scarlet cloth. His slashed tunic was blue, thus complementing the cassock to make the company’s colours.

“As was our right, your grace, we dispatched our chancellors to several realms.”

“He did not agree to your terms then?” asked the prince. He had only very recently re-hired the condottiere company, on a contract almost identical to the previous one. But he knew they had looked for better terms before they agreed to his.

“He procrastinated,’ said the captain-general, “while lecturing my chancellors on the proper worship of Morr.”

“As is his wont. Perhaps Sagrannalo’s spirit has returned to haunt us, having taken residence in the body of a foolish duke? Yet … can he be so foolish?”

“His star is in the ascendant,” offered Maconi. “While his son succeeds, his subjects are kept happy. The merchants of Pavona no longer have to pay Astonian tolls, and his citizen soldiers can share the loot they have won. Of course, there are some Pavonans who are not so content, for various reasons.”

He prince fixed his attention upon his secretary. “Are you suggesting,” he said calmly, “that I stir up insurrection amongst the duke’s subjects?”

“It was merely my intention, you grace, to report the situation,” replied Maconi, stumbling a little over his words. “Not to suggest anything at all.”

“Still, it is something we should consider. Who exactly is dissatisfied?”

“Those who remember how the men of Astiano aided them in their hour of need against the hill goblins forty years ago. Those who believe the city cursed by the ghosts of the victims of the plague, unquiet spirits who cannot rest because they know some terrible truth. Those who …”

“This is all by the by,” interrupted the prince. “I don’t want to hear of old men’s grudges, superstitious gossip and alehouse ghost stories. Does anyone of any consequence complain against the duke?”

Maconi pointed to a paper upon the table, one yet to be perused by the prince. “The dwarfen exiles, moneylenders and craftsmen in the main, have expressed their disgust at their banishment, and desire support for their cause.”

“Moneylenders.” Here anyone else would smile. The prince merely tilted his head a little. “Rich, then?”

“Not so much now considering their present circumstances, your grace, by which I mean having been driven from their stronghouses and robbed of their treasures, but with connections, no doubt, and practised in the skill of raising money.”

“And who would no doubt fall over each other in their scramble to raise monies for those who would aid them in their cause?” He picked up the letter in question and briefly perused its contents. “You must enquire as to their terms, master Maconi. Let us see how much gold they can conjure; how generous they are prepared to be for the right cause.”

Maconi bowed silently, and the prince pointed at the captain-general.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/DeliberationB5_zps9cad4548.jpg)

“In the meantime we will show our troublesome neighbour both our displeasure and what forces we have at our disposal, whilst ensuring our strength is maintained. I would have this done in such a way that we are able at any moment to turn northwards should the situation require. The soldiers of your company should find such an activity satisfies their lust for action and their desire for rewards. This shall be performed strictly according to the terms of our contract. Do you understand, captain-general?”

Again general Fortebraccio smiled. “Yes, your grace, I understand. A punishing show of strength, incurring little loss amongst my men. That’s exactly what we do best.”

Prince Girenzo turned the map around so that the captain-general could look upon it the right way up, and launched immediately into instructions as if the whole plan was already carefully weighed and reckoned. It was clear he had not been idle during his silences.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on October 15, 2013, 02:10:00 PM
The Duchess Departs


'Capture the Duchess' Battle Scenario

The Vampire Duke Allesandro Sforta of Miragliano is attempting to capture the Duchess Maria of Ebino (his first cousin once removed). She is concealed amongst her Ebinan forces, disguised as a soldier, and is attempting to get away from Ebino to safety. The vampire player will not know which figure represents her. Her own soldiers are committed to helping her escape. To escape successfully (and thus ‘win’ the game) she must get from her deployment zone to the opposite table. The vampire Duke’s deployment zone intersects with the Duchess’s escape zone.

To make things more challenging (otherwise this would be way too easy for the vampire player) there are two little forces coming to help - both part of the background stories already produced for the campaign. Maria’s second cousin (the vampire Duke’s own nephew) Lord Guglielmo is racing to her aid, and she also has an agreement with the shadowy Arrabiatti Brotherhood, who are thus on their way too. Their arrival zones are marked on the long edges of the table.

The Arrabiatti (light horsemen) are the closest, and they will arrive in turn 2 on 4+, in turn 3 on 3+, and from turn 4 onwards on 2+. Lord Guglielmo has further to come.
He arrives in turn 2 on 6+, in turn 3 on 5+, in turn 4 on 4+ and in the remaining turns on 3+. It is possible that one or both may not actually arrive during the game at all.

If the duchess makes it off the escape table edge she has avoided capture. If she makes it off another table edge she will only escape if her forces kill one of the two Vampires in the Undead army during the 6 turn battle. This is because if one vampire dies, the other will be too concerned with maintaining the army’s manifestation in the world of the living to chase off after her.

If the Duchess is captured early, or killed, then the more of the enemy forces the vampire player destroys, the easier they will find it to capture the town of Ebino by siege.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/ScenarioTableLayoutFinalDraf_zpsfc2cc143.jpg)
_____________________________________________________________________

Ebino, Summer, IC2401

The preparations were made, and the Duchess was as ready as she could be for the dangers ahead. Thankfully she was an experienced rider, for if it were not so then her disguise would be useless. She was cloaked in green, armed with a spear, armoured in mail, and wore an iron helm just like the other horsemen in the little company. It had been suggested she join the knights instead, and clothe herself in full plate armour, riding a barded warhorse - an idea the knights themselves had readily supported for then they would have the honour of personally defending their lady. But she herself had refused, for she knew she would be discomfited by the disguise, unstable in the saddle and unable to ride anywhere near as fast as a successful escape was likely to require. Once the knights realised that by not accompanying her they would instead have the ominous honour of sacrificing themselves in combat to fend off the foe rather than simply pelting from the city as fast as their mounts could carry them, then they readily, if somewhat darkly, accepted the idea that the duchess would ride with the light horse.

If only the duchess had heeded the advice of her council and left already, then this desperate ploy would not have been necessary, but she could not be moved (in any sense of the word). Most stubbornly she had insisted she would stay with her people as long as possible. Only when it was certain that Ebino could not hope to survive alone  would she leave in an attempt to fetch help. Now was indeed the time.



The walls of Ebino were strong, moated and in good repair.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino1_zpsdbb547c2.jpg)

Against any other army such defences would prove a mighty challenge, and a bloody one too. Against the already dead, however, they could only delay the inevitable. As long as the vampire commanders re-animated the fallen, then their shambling rank and file would press on remorselessly. They would not even have to collect faggots and billets to fill the moat, instead simply pouring in corpses to fashion a ford, after which the soggy corpses could arise and claw their own way up the ladders to reinforce those who crossed upon their backs! Even with ample stores of food supplies, which would have counted for much against a mortal foe, Ebino could not hope to withstand a long siege against such an enemy as this. There was also disease to contend with, and the sheer terror of being surrounded by such hellish foes day and night. So it was that the duchess finally accepted that unless a substantial relief force were to come, then Ebino’s horrible fate was sealed.

The foe proved to be not only terrifying, but numerous as well. Thanks to a westerly breeze, the stench of the zombies and ghouls amongst their ranks preceded them. These proved to be the least of the threats they had to offer: there were also monstrous horrors with blue-tinged flesh, and black armoured knights illuminated by a wickedly hued glow.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino3_zpsd12328ee.jpg)

A brace of vampires led them, including the vampire duke himself. No-one in Ebino knew who his companion had once been, perhaps some captain of the guard? That was certainly the role he seemed to be playing now, his golden armour marking him out amongst the  ranks of a heavily armoured unit of foot soldiers. Their blades glowed green and unnatural, surely a consequence of the potent magical energies binding them to this realm.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino8_zps81d53508.jpg)

The vampire duke rode with a band of hellish knights, their steeds long since bereft of flesh, with eye sockets that burned with a blue light and the ragged remnants of silken ceremonial barding fluttering about their legs. Each rider clutched a sturdy lance, and sported rusting armour of archaic design – the very armour they had been interred in long ago.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino7_zps849f7409.jpg)

Upon the far the right of the vampire duke’s line strode a band of hideous monstrosities, as big as ogres, though ganglier and more horrible to behold. They had pierced themselves with shards of bone, perhaps to stimulate rigour mortis ridden muscles, or perhaps simply to appear more ghastly?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino6_zpsbe340c3a.jpg)

From a tower top near the town gate the dwarfen engineer Welleg could hear the clanking of the levers and wheels that raised the portcullis. From beneath the hood of his red-woollen cloak puffs of smoke emerged, as the cannon crew he commanded busied themselves to ready their machine, stripping off the lead apron from the touch hole, pouring and bruising the powder, and knocking the ash from the slowmatch in the linstock over the parapet. Welleg peered over the walls and decided upon his first target.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino5_zpsc642e44a.jpg)

The gates swung open, and out came the Duchess Maria’s soldiers. One of her two companies of mercenary crossbowmen led the way, rushing off to the right to find a spot from which to launch their bolts. Behind them, marching steady and purposefully to the sound of a brass kettle drum, came the famous Ironsides – each dwarf sporting a banner upon his back. Behind them came her knights, almost wholly armoured from hoof to head.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino2_zps29ca5084.jpg)

The race was on!

(Deployment done, game report/story to follow.)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on October 19, 2013, 10:09:55 AM
The Battle (Save the Duchess)


Welleg’s cannon boomed and the ball smashed one of the Black Riders to pieces. The crossbowmen moved boldly off to the flank, between the moat and the road, while the  Ironsides regiment marched directly forwards down the road, thus allowing the knights and the light horse to cross the bridge before the gatehouse. Unknown to the foe, the Duchess was now outside the walls. Captain Sir Giorgio was only too aware. He rode ahead of her, in command of the knights, and now began scrutinising the foe’s disposition, desperately determining how best to get the Duchess safely past the foe and away.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino4_zpse6d3cc0c.jpg)

The vampire duke’s force simply moved forwards, maintaining a neat front – a goal made easier by the fact that the Black Riders could move directly towards the house in their way, able to move ethereally through it any time they liked. The broken bones of the rider shattered by iron shot moments before now re-knitted themselves together until the rider rode with his comrades once more, as if nought had happened. The dwarfen engineer Welleg, peering through a pocket perspective glass, swore quietly. If a direct hit by 9 lb of iron proved so harmless, then what use was he and his gun? Still, if he could hit the vampire duke, that would surely prove distracting, and distraction was everything when the Duchess was trying to escape.

Suddenly, in front of the undead army, five rotting, blood-smeared zombies burst from the ground …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino9_zps7524ecae.jpg)

… a sight which caught Captain Sir Giorgio’s eye immediately. He too swore. There were already too many enemies, and here even more were being summoned. He brought to mind a prayer to Morr, and began repeating the first line, “Mighty Morr, Lord of Death, deliver us from the corruption of Undeath,” over and over. Before him the dwarfs had finally cleared the junction before the moat, creating a gap sufficient for him and his company. Spurring his horse, he led his knights through it, glancing behind to ensure that the light horse were following as had been the plan. They were. Just as he began to turn to face the foe once more, he caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye, something beyond the crossbowmen, within the shadow of the walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino10_zpsd1619acd.jpg)

At first his stomach knotted as he thought it must be more undead, but then he saw it was horsemen, living men on living horses, with no banner to mark them out and a mish-mash of arms and armour. The Arrabiatti! They had come as they had promised.

He saw now that one amongst the riders was looking his way, and indeed raised a staff as if to signal him, to say ‘Good Morrow’! White haired, white bearded and robed in faded blue, it was Lord Totto himself.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino13_zpsfa760cd1.jpg)

Perhaps, thought Sir Giorgio - quite surprising himself with in the process – perhaps we can succeed? Lord Totto was a wizard, and apart from blessed priest of Morr there was surely no better ally to have when fighting the already dead. Perhaps the duchess could escape and Ebino could be saved?

Lord Totto and his riders were, of course, ignorant of the plan. But a man such as he could not be so foolish as to not realise something was afoot. Why would so weak a force issue forth from the safety of the walls if not to attempt some sort of breakout, or to target a particular foe? The enemy was far too strong to beat in the open battle. Whatever was happening, Lord Totto had given his word to come to the Duchess’s aid, and he intended to do all that he could. He had already prepared some spells, and what with the Arrabiatti being known as the ‘shadowy brotherhood’ his magics were drawn from the lore of Shadow. Conjuring a Penumbral Pendulum he aimed it at the vampire on foot ahead of him. But its effect fell so short it seemed a pathetic gesture, and with foe’s massed ranks shambling ever closer, he began to wonder whether he had joined a great folly.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino12_zps3fd808cd.jpg)

A flurry of crossbow bolts flew over Lord Totto’s head and felled four of the recently raised zombies, while Welleg’s second cannon ball ploughed into the earth before the same vampire Totto’s spell had failed to reach. It seemed the demonic creature was blessed with wickedly good fortune. (Game note: I knew he would use ‘Look out sir’ even if I did hit him, but I was desperately clutching at any chance to kill one of the vampires and thus - as per the scenario rules - allow the duchess to leave by any table edge. She could simply stroll off the side.)

The massed regiment of skeletons looked to be preparing to charge Lord Totto’s company, lurching forwards some distance, but their advance slowed and they resumed their previous lethargic pace. As the Black Riders did indeed move through the house as if it were nothing more than mist …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino16_zpsb43f5f69.jpg)

… the vampires redoubled their efforts to conjure up necromantic magics. They were rewarded by the death of one Ironside dwarf as a Curse of Years took hold, and the summoning of eight zombies to reinforce the lone zombie up ahead. The horror that had once been Duke Alessandro watched with dead eyes set in pallid flesh, his snarling mouth revealing wickedly curled fangs.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino15_zps7fa48a9a.jpg)

The dwarfs, marching as best they could down the road, could sense the malignant potency of the debilitating magics wreathing them, but their pace, slow as it was, did not lessen one jot. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino14_zps249a684f.jpg)

Captain Sir Giorgio commanded his knights to reform as swiftly as they could, hoping to do so whilst moving forwards to screen the light horse behind. He knights might have succeeded too, if it were not for the horrors amassed before them – they reformed well enough, but took too long over the action. The light horse funnelled through behind them and took position on the far left, while the dwarfs – although the least well equipped for the task – marched on in their own attempt to screen the duchess’s escape.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino17_zps5c0fd76c.jpg)

Lord Totto sensed that whatever the Ebinan’s were up to, they were doing it on the other side of the road, so he ordered the Arrabiatti to ride behind the crossbowmen, then to halt facing the foe so that he could fathom how best to assist. He could just make out Sir Giorgio shouting encouragement to his men, telling them that their moment had come, and that here and now they would prove their true worth.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino18_zps4f049447.jpg)

Once again Welleg’s piece sent a ball within a whisker of the vampire leading the Grave Guard, and once again the dwarf cursed. A handful of zombies were felled by crossbow bolts. This was not enough. The enemy came on, the remaining zombies charging into the dwarven flank …


(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino19_zps6be8f48a.jpg)

… while the ghouls tried but failed to join them. The shambling monstrosities on the far right of the undead line now changed places with the Black Knights, as the vampire duke himself looked suspiciously at the green-cloaked light horse and wondered whether his cousin must be amongst them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino20_zps109912c9.jpg)

The massed regiments on the undead left, including an ever swelling horde of zombies, came on too, disheartening all who could see them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino21_zpsb7612caf.jpg)

Wicked magics emanated from the vampires: two more dwarfs succumbed to another curse, while a cruelly enchanted gaze killing five of the Arrabiatti, sending the rest, including Lord Totto, galloping towards the town gates simply to remove themselves from the horror of their fallen comrades tortured, lifeless faces.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino22_zps821f2d8a.jpg)

The dwarfs killed the last of the zombies and now prepared themselves for the real test – before them stood the snarling, viciously clawed crypt horrors. The Ironsides knew they could not allow such a foe to get close to the duchess. Vanhel’s Dance Macabre magically moved the Black Knights even closer, forcing Sir Giorgio’s hand. If he did not charge now he would lose his chance. He could not afford to allow the enemy knights to charge him and his men, so, with a desperate cry (and with the dwarfs also charging by their side) he urged his men on and they thundered boldly into the much more numerous foe.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino24_zpsea8e4a94.jpg)

The Duchess Maria watched grimly, and knew this was likely to be her one and only chance. If her knights could stand for but a few moments, if their armour could protect them against the first blows, she might just be able to make it past the foe and escape. So, breaking off from her escort, she dug her spurs deep into her mount’s flanks and dashed forwards.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino25_zps68b60dc6.jpg)

Both units of crossbow, on the wall and on the field below, send a flurry of bolts at the Grave Guard and brought down seven. Welleg’s curses grew louder as another shot from his cannon ploughed into the dirt only a foot or so from the vampire. The dwarfs crewing his gun flinched at the fury of his voice, yet busied themselves with reloading regardless, for it is in a dwarf’s nature to see things through to the bitter end.

On the field below the Ironsides were certainly doing so, not only standing firm …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino27_zps863f1a96.jpg)

… but even felling one of the horrors. The knights did not fare so well. When they came to grips with the foe, they were also gripped with fear. Sir Giorgio was no longer shouting, but screaming, his bellowing commands having twisted into a tortured and wordless sound.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino26_zpsb160c479.jpg)

The foe proved too much for him and his men, and as three knights died, the rest broke and fled. The vampire duke commanded his Black Knights to stand, then turned the body about. He now knew exactly where his cousin was, and he did not intend to lose her.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino28_zpsd89cc3f1.jpg)

As the ghouls crashed into the beleaguered dwarfs’ flank, a gust of magical wind allowed a mass of newly summoned undead appeared on the field, reinforcing ever unit that had so far been damaged, as well as creating yet another body of zombies. Umpteen ironsides now fell, and the last few remaining finally succumbed to fear and fled pell-mell away. There was no-one to help the duchess now – every unit on her side of the field, apart from the light horse, was broken, battered, beaten; and the light horse were too far away to help. She was all alone. The vampire duke grinned, revealing his razor sharp fangs, evil intent writ upon his face. He began to raise his hand, ready to signal the chase, when suddenly the sound of thundering hooves caught his attention. His nephew, Lord Guglielmo, had arrived (Turn 5 – better late then never).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino29_zps6adffdd0.jpg)

Without hesitation, Guglielmo galloped his veteran knights right up to the undead, while the duchess desperately rode on behind. (I was cursing the no march move within 8” of the enemy rule!)

The green cloaked horsemen, for want of a better way to sacrifice themselves, now charged into the newly raised zombies. Lord Totto had rallied the last of the shadowy brothers and cast a withering spell against the foe, but it proved weak. Welleg cheered as his next shot flew directly at the vampire, then collapsed to his knees in frustration as he watched a skeleton push the vampire out of harm’s way at the last moment.

When the horrors broke into a run, Lord Totto turned and fled yet again. Foul magics curled after him, bringing down three of his companions and grievously wounding him. He hurtled over the bridge and through the gate, entering the town. He did not linger, however, not even to tend his wounds, but rode right through and left by the far gate. Lord Guglielmo would not flee, instead he braced himself as his uncle and the Black Knights charged, vowing not to yield to fear. (Pass fear test, now 568 points of undead were fighting 185 points of knights and Lord!)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ebino30_zps3ca20093.jpg)

The vampire duke laughed gleefully as he closed upon his nephew, and the two joined in personal combat. As living horses whinnied and snorted in terror, their undead counterparts simply ground their teeth. Steel rang as blade clattered against blade. And in the midst two Sforta lords, from both sides of the seam that divides the living and the dead, fought. The outcome was inevitable, even Lord Guglielmo had accepted that, but all that really mattered was how long he could keep the vampire duke occupied.

Somehow, though no living witnesses remain to explain how it was so, he survived just long enough to save the duchess. Finally, as she fled into the hills, the vampire’s cold blade, a horribly curved butchery tool, carved him in twain.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: spafe on October 31, 2013, 01:17:35 PM
This is incredible, really well written. Very much looking forward to the next installment.

(sorry is this disrupts the thread, please delete it if I shouldnt have commented here)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on October 31, 2013, 04:16:41 PM
Don't apologise, Spafe. Comments, any comments, is good. A lack of comments makes me think no-one is bothered with it. If I know people are actually enjoying it, it gives me motivation.

I am currently working on the next installment  - the end of second season general report, this time with illustrated stories incorporated into it. Oh, and I have a new battle report to write too. From the way the players and NPCs are maneouvring there should be some interesting battles soon.

Interestingly, I cannot write any of this from the players' characters' perspectives (the major powers in the realm), because (a) I am not them, and because (b) they wouldn't want me to reveal their private plans and stuff. But it seems to be fun following various Non Player Characters through. Expect more about the Compagnia del Sole, the exiled dwarfs, the Greenskin Corsairs and Biagino and Bertoldo. And hopefully more NPCs and groups as play/the story continues.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on November 01, 2013, 12:26:31 AM
Great stuff and can't wait for more
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on November 01, 2013, 07:28:12 AM
Thanks, Doo. Instead of waiting until the whole thing is finished, I'll post the first half of the general report now.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

End of Season 2, Summer 2401

General Report, Part One


For many in Tilea it is not a happy time, for some people things could not get any worse. The fears concerning the Vampire Duke of Miragliano have turned out to be very well founded as his dreadful army of walking corpses has laid siege to Ebino. Battle was joined before its gate as the Duchess Maria attempted to escape, perhaps hoping to beg relief from some neighbouring power. The duchess’s current whereabouts are, however, unknown, and no-one knows what fate has befallen her. It is whispered that she may have escaped one danger only to fall into some new peril.

Accordingly, the Archlector Calictus II of the Holy Church of Morr has commanded that the following be proclaimed by his priests throughout Tilea:

Good people of Tilea, faithful servants of Morr and all the lawful gods, take heed, for I bring not warnings and fearful predictions, but dire news of things that have come to pass. The Wickedness in the North is no longer brooding and preparing, but has marched forth even in the bright light of day, to begin clawing and tearing at the world of the living. Even now a vast throng of foul abominations surrounds Ebino, and has perhaps already devoured its populace. This will not satisfy such as the Vampire Duke, Morr’s curse be upon him, and if he is not stopped he will march on to conquer, corrupt and consume the whole of the north. What was our duty has become also an absolute necessity, and not only to please Holy Morr and ensure that his jurisdiction over the souls of the dead is restored, but for our very survival. Without further delay, all who can must immediately take arms and join in the stand against him. Poor Ravola cannot ride against him, for brute Ogre mercenaries have laid waste to that land. And in the south the threat of a great Waagh looms. And so we hereby call upon Viadaza, Urbimo, Remas, Trantio, Pavona, yeah even Campogrotta and the wizard lord, to put aside all differences and march forth together to put an end to this terror before it devours us all. We call on nobles and militia men, condottieri and foreign mercenaries, to muster and march with sword and spear, crossbow and musket, lance and mace. Now is the time to act, to destroy the threat before it grows too strong. May Morr bless all those brave warriors who obey this command, and curse all those base cowards who seek to shirk this duty.

In the south, far from the threat of undead domination, armies manoeuvre and merchants bicker, and all is as it ever was. The infamous band of mercenary raiders known as the Greenskin Corsairs have moved inland. It is said they have been contracted by some city state to raid their enemies. Many have warned that it does not bode well to have a Waagh in the east while Greenskin mercenaries like these are active in the west.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Greenskin Corsairs

As ever, they were the last to arrive at the camp. When the mules were alive, they were always behind the rest of the mob, and now the beasts had been eaten, the very marrow sucked from their bones (and all agreed very nice it was too), they were just that little bit further back. Toggler the goblin knew that Hafdi did most of the heavy work, but without Toggler’s constant encouragement they would never reach the camp each night at all. Hafdi, not the brightest of orcs – and that’s saying something considering the level of wit possessed by your average orc - was easily distracted. For the last hour he had been complaining about his swollen toe.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenSkinCorsCamp3_zpsaa4b0b5c.jpg)

“It’s not just ‘urtin, it’s itchin’ too!” Hafdi said.

“Well,” sighed Toggler, “pull a bit faster an’ we’ll get to where we’re goin’ an’ then you can get to scratching.”

“I in’t gonna scratch at it, not when it ‘urts this much.”

Not for the first time today, Toggler rolled his eyes. “That, my big toed friend, is what you call a dilemma.”

Hafdi stopped, so suddenly that Doodo the snot nearly fell from the front of the wagon. The orc looked confused. Well, moreso than usual.

“You talkin’ to my toe?” he asked.

Toggler had no idea where this new nonsense came from. “What’ya mean, talkin’ to yer toe?”

“You just said he was your friend, and told him about the dilella.”

“’Dilemma’,” corrected the goblin. “The word’s ‘dilemma’, ain’t that right Doodo?”

“Go faster. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!” shouted the snot, as he always did.

“Come on,” said Toggler, “it ain’t much further. You can bring Hafdi along too.”

Hafdi’s pained expression vanished to be replaced by a grin. “You is talking to my toe!”

Hefting the pole, and once again nearly tipping Doodo the snot over (he never learned), they set off for the final stretch …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenSkinCorsCamp2_zps17e28e02.jpg)

… passing by the camp’s outermost sewed-skin tents. There a bunch of Poglin Fangface’s goblins were gathered around a trestle table they had dragged from a woodsman’s hut nearby. Upon the table lay a murderous looking five-barreled pistol.

“I told ya you’d never get the thing to work, so don’t go acting all surprised,” one of them was shouting, a goblin by the name of Murda Crustychin.

His companion, Splitfinger, clutching a bent ramrod in lieu of any useful sort of tool, was snarling. “It’ll work alright, Murda. An’ if you don’t stop distracting me with yer shoutin’ I’ll be tryin’ it out on you first.”

Another goblin standing nearby, Aggler, hefted an impressively wide muzzled blunderbuss and glared at the other two.

Murda, his red eyes gleaming with a malice that was never quite absent, drew his cutlass and raised it threateningly. “You’ll not be pointing it at me if you ain’t got hands to hold it, will ya?”

Splitfinger, his back to his friend, stiffened, his crooked fangs sliding over his taught lips as he grimaced. He clenched his fist, making sure it was hidden from Murda by the bulk of his not insubstantial head.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenSkinCorsCamp1_zps6192e603.jpg)

But before he could launch his surprise punch, Aggler coughed. “Remember, boys, no arguin’,” he said, calmly swinging his blunderbuss around to aim at the pair of them. “Poglin said I could shoot ya if ya got to fightin’ again, an’ I mean to follow orders. I knows how to be a good gob.”

Murda and Splitfinger froze, then as the cutlass was lowered and thrust into the dirt, the fist was unclenched.

“’Sbetter,” said Aggler. Now get it fixed before it’s dark an’ I don’t need to tell Poglin about your naughtiness. He wants if=t ready real quick just in case the fun starts tomorrow. You don’t wanna miss out on the fun do ya?”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other, even more powerful, mercenary forces are on the move also, including the renowned Compagnia del Sole. Compared to other most condottiere armies this company have a long history, serving many different states. They remain, for now, in the service of Trantio, and have resumed their manoeuvres in the Trantine hills, though to what purpose (beyond keeping them busy and ensuring they work for their pay) only they and the Prince of Trantio know. They never camp in one spot for more than a few days, and their camp usually consists of several palisaded compounds in fairly close vicinity so that should the alarm be raised in one, the others might sally forth to their aid.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Compagnia del Sole

It was evening and the camp was preparing to change watches so that most the men could sleep. This was probably the last night they would camp here. In the last few weeks they had never stayed put in one place more than two nights in a row, except that they had been here for five nights. Most men presumed that a difficult decision was being made concerning how best to employ them – certainly riders went to and fro at every hour of the day, scouring the land around for intelligence. It was hoped by many that whatever they found, it would lead to some good looting, for nearly every fellow in the company was itching to get their hands on some plunder – all the better to enjoy themselves when at last they returned to Trantio.

The southern most of the three camps had been palisaded partly with stakes, partly with wooden pavaises. These were carried from camp to camp bundled in wagons, the stakes replaced as and when necessary. There were plenty of pavaises, for there was no shortage of crossbowmen in the company, and each possessed his own for use in battle should it so be ordered. It was understood that once loot had been acquired, then the wagoneers would dump their timber burdens and fill up with rather more exciting loads. Half the dwellings were tents of waxed linen, half were huts made of deal boards and turf, although the officers had pavilions of prettily painted cloth in the company colours and bearing the white rod and half-sun emblem of the company.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompSoleCamp1_zpsda0486ef.jpg)

The guards were vigilant, ready at any moment to let loose a volley and cry, “All arm”. Every gate had an officer and a drummer in attendance, plus a good half dozen or more crossbowmen to patrol the perimeter. Being a company of good repute, there was not one purblind man amongst the crossbowmen, which made them the first and best choice as sentinels.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompSoleCamp2_zps54a6a55d.jpg)

Somewhere within the camp:

It was a good sized pig, roasting for three hours already. Every mouth within two dozen yards radius was watering, and not a man amongst them failed to wonder how long it might be before they could partake of its flesh. Most were busy with some task or another, whether it was oiling armour, sharpening blades, or simply guarding a tent. Tending the spit was Donno, one of the lads who looked after the draught horses and mules, while Ottaviano and Baccio stood close to the fire, sipping not too sour wine from pewter goblets, and discussing business, as they most commonly did. Both had had their hair trimmed by the company barber, the better to suit the hardships of campaign, and both were dressed somewhat more practically compared to the clothes they favoured when representing the company as chancellors.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompSoleCamp3_zps70ddcc65.jpg)
 
Everyone in the Compagnia del Sole was expected to serve in the field, to be soldiers first and foremost, whatever other office they held or responsibilities they had. Ottaviano wore both padded leather and a short-sleeved shirt of mail beneath the company’s purple. His companion was un-armoured, but also wore the livery colours of the company, in his case the blue and red, as well as an embroidered badge upon his chest. A heavy blade hung from his waist.

“I cannot say I am surprised that Prince Girenzo was so keen to re-employ us for another term,” said Baccio. “What with the threats north and south of him – he’s between a rock and a hard place.”

“The rock, I take it, is made of bones and the hard place happens to have green skin,” suggested Ottaviano.

“You get my drift. So yes, it must be reassuring to have a company such as ours in his employ. Yet then to send us about this business, merely a matter of quarrelling with his neighbour, that’s the part I don’t understand.”

“The threats you speak of are very real. They also happen also to be far away. Why shouldn’t the prince tend to his own house first to ensure he will be ready for those threats?”

Baccio took a gulp of his wine, then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “So he isn’t just keeping us busy in the meantime?”

“Oh no. Nor is he trying to keep us happy, even if the lads’ll be content to indulge in a bit of pillaging. He’s looking to ensure that no-one else takes advantage of the present situation at his cost. Take this Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona - it seems to me, and I reckon to most others who have given it any thought, that he thinks he can take what he likes right now because everyone is preoccupied with your rock and your hard place. This might well be true, and it could serve Pavona very well when it comes to their own defence, but how does it help Trantio, or Remas, or Verezzo? If either the undead or the greenskins do reach this far then they will indeed be powers to contend with, and if so then these city states will need to stand together, as the Morrite church had decreed. That won’t be so easy if Pavona has been busy stealing their castles and swallowing up their towns.”

Baccio frowned. “Won’t Pavona simply have to do the lion’s share of the fighting then? The more Duke Guidobaldo has, the more he can raise for the defence of the land.”

“I don’t doubt at all, Baccio, that his numerous armies will fight most courageously against both foes, and should it happen we will likely be amongst his forces,” agreed Ottaviano. “Nor do I doubt that he will require payment from all those who need him to fight. It’s all about the sequence of events, my friend: Right now, everyone is distracted, fearful, so the duke of Pavona snatches this, steals that, conquers the other. The rest are offended, but those to the north dare not turn their backs on the undead, and those to the south cannot show their arses to the greenskins. Pavona prospers. Then the threats draw closer still, and the duke of Pavona, now grown mighty, offers for a suitable price to be the lion you spoke of and protect his neighbours. He then does so, probably swallowing a few more choice tracts of land in the process and consolidating his hold on what he has got. But winning nevertheless.”

Baccio smiled. “And everyone says thank you?”

“Oh yes. They will be so grateful they will forget his past crimes, at least for a little while. It is hard to be angry at your heroic protector.”

The smile had gone from Baccio’s face, replaced by a frown. “So Prince Girenzo, by using us, is making sure all that doesn’t happen? I think I preferred the happy ending where there was a mighty and heroic protector looking after everyone.”

“I think that is also exactly the ending Prince Girenzo desires. The difference is, in his story he is the hero and not Duke Guidobaldo.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompSoleCamp4_zpsa2041c62.jpg)

“Arrogant, aren’t they these nobles?” continued Ottavanio. “You have to love them, though. Without men such as these we would not have our living. Instead our only employ would be against swarming greenskin hordes or the horrors of every hell – a miserable and likely very short existence. I’d rather have my wine, roast pork, a bed of dry hay and dreams of pretty wenches and gold after the fighting. What say you, Donno?”

The mukeskinner looked up, as if awakening from a dream. “Huh?”

“I want to know your opinion,” said Ottavannio.

“Pig’s ready,” came the answer.

“See?” Ottavanio said to Baccio. “There’s another man who likes his roast pork.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

General Report, Part 2 to follow.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: WallyTWest on November 02, 2013, 08:34:46 PM
Thankyou.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Falkenhyn on November 03, 2013, 07:02:07 AM
Great job keep it up i very much enjoy reading these.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: spafe on November 05, 2013, 08:56:08 AM
Mwoar, Mwoar!!! :-p

Great stuff. Looking forward to part 2

On the subject of getting it from the players point of view, could you possibly ask them to write small contributions, that way they can give additional views/perspectives on it, even if its only after the fact (such as a general basking in his triumph, or plotting his revenge after a defeat). Obvs if they arnt up for it then nvm but might be an interesting addition to the yarn you are spinning
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on November 11, 2013, 09:45:57 PM
Thank you gentlemen for you kind words. At last, after 15 minutes here and 10 minutes there for the last 10 days, part 2 of the report is complete.

General Report, End of Summer IC 2401, Part 2

In the far north-east of Tilea, the realm of Ravola has apparently been swallowed entirely by the ogre army of the Wizard Lord Bentiglovio. What few peasants escaped the bloody turmoil have reported that both the fortresses of Maratto and Terme have arenow nothing more than lamentable, smoking ruins. Every knightly warrior, no matter how skilled in arms, how well protected by armour nor how well mounted, has been laid low, beaten into the ground by huge clubs and left to rot where they lie. In Ravola itself an awful new tyranny has begun, as Razger Bouldergut’s monstrous thugs swagger drunkenly through the streets, playing cruel games with the cowering – and ever diminishing - populace. It is feared that such easy victories and the loot they yield will draw ever more ogres from the east. No-one knows how the wizard lord of Campogrotta intends to control his growing horde, or even if he intends to try. It is commonly assumed he must either be completely insane, perhaps unbalanced by his desire for revenge against the people of Tilea, or that he has ambitions to forge himself an empire encompassing the whole of northern Tilea, or both. Others believe he has retreated into his palace to busy himself with some secret purpose and cares not a jot about the activities of the brutish army who enabled his return to Campogrotta.

In the far south the army of the VMC has marched in strength from Alcente against Warlord Khurnag’s Waagh! They have declared their first battle a great victory (Note: Battle Report to follow soon) and to advertise and celebrate their achievement the Marienburgers have printed a broadside to be distributed by their agents and merchants throughout Tilea.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCBroadsheet1_zps74cb41e9.jpg)
Thank you Ant for forwarding this broadside to me. Victory is indeed sweet, eh?

In Verezzo news of the VMC’s victory first arrived in a muddled report, declaring not that they had defeated one of the Waagh’s forces, but that they had actually defeated the entire Waagh and driven the fleeing greenskins into the sea to drown! Joyous celebrations spread across the city state, and several riots, fuelled by the high spirits, broke out. These were not the only things to ‘break out’: the prisoners held in the famous Le Stonche fortress joined in the merriment, loudly proclaiming that they too should celebrate such good news. Overcoming their inebriated guards, they vanished into the crowds of drunken revellers swarming through the streets.
 
Turmoil of a different kind has erupted in the northern city of Viadaza, where the populace fear the approach of the vampire Duke Alessandro Sforta of Miragliano. If the duke’s horde of abominations were to march south and cross the river Tarano at the bridge of Pontremola then Viadaza would become their next prey. Lord Adolfo has hastily mustered an army of mariners, militia and mercenaries to march from the city to face the foe, and has also commandeered several vessels in the port to increase the size of his fleet. The city has become a dizzy mix of drunken sailors, brawling ogres and swaggering condottiere. In amongst this heady swirl a rather incongruous religious movement has been born, focused around the exiled Miraglianan priest Biagino Bolzano.

Quote
Biagino would be the first to admit he had never expected to become the leader of a crusade. An unlikely agitator, unskilled in rhetoric and unaccustomed as he was to giving speeches to the ragged masses, he had instead begun his work by approaching the city’s Morrite clergy. His intention was, via priestly intervention, to convince Lord Adolfo to do something more than merely defend Viadaza. Biagino sought a much more aggressive response, just as the holy Church of Morr had called for in its decrees, with large armies allying to wipe Duke Alessandro’s undead minions from the face of Tilea. The Morrite church in Viadazza, however, was rather neglected by the authorities - accepted by the ruling classes as simply one of the churches serving the ‘Three gods’ at the pinnacle of the Tilean pantheon. Instead, as in so many city states across Tilea, the Church of Morr was served much better by the common folk. The labouring classes had little need of Myrmidia or Mercopio, but Morr was important to them. Death comes to everyone, and for the poor can be ever present, whether it be through disease, starvation, punishment or violence. The hard nature of their existence put prayers to Morr, for themselves or their loved ones, on the lips of the poor on an almost daily basis.
 
Thus it was that Biagino’s efforts resulted in the birth of a movement, first amongst the his brother priests and then the common people. He spoke of the need to act quickly, assuredly and without division, against a wicked enemy that threatened not just the rule of princes and dukes, replacing one lord with another, but the life of every Tilean. This chimed with the fears of the common people of Viadaza, from the middling merchants, sea artists and craftsmen down to the lowliest of Lord Adolfo’s subjects. Such unswerving conviction won over the priests and brothers, who took up his call. Soon every church and temple to Morr was filled with eager supplicants as the priests’ spread the message and people turned to Morr for salvation.

As he began his second month in the city, Biagino found himself in Garlasco Square, in Viadaza’s eastern quarter, standing beside Gonzalvo Cerci, the local temple’s incumbent. A crowd had gathered, much bigger than could fit within the temple building, a veritable sea of folk. The very old and the very young were there, as well as many a wench and even some ladies, but it was the men of fighting age who Biagino scrutinised. They were the ones who must respond to the church’s call; this battle would be their burden. As Gonzalvo began his sermon, Biagino turned his attention onto him, recognising quickly that the spirit of the famous radical Morrite reformer Sagrannalo was flowing through his brother priest.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BertampBiag2_zpsa6a38eff.jpg)

Gonzalvo’s widened eyes lent his gaze a piercing quality, and although he was tonsured like most of the lesser clergy of Morr, the remainder of his flowing, black hair swished about wildly as he gesticulated and pointed. He raised his hand to the skies when he spoke of Morr, and swept both arms outwards as if to embrace the entire crowd when talking of the people. He began by announcing that even though a great threat loomed over all in Tilea, there was hope, for the god Morr was with them and that they themselves were the vessels which that hope would fill. They were to become the soldiers of Morr, servants of not only the church, but of the greatest of gods, and there was no better god to serve in a war against the undead.

By now the crowd was hooked, and Gonzalvo was in full flight …

“Lord Guglielmo, holy Morr protect him now and forever, was ruled by honour. He rode against the foul foe for the sake of his family name, his own inheritance and to save his noble cousin the Duchess Maria. No-one can fault him for that. But he rode with only a handful of companions, hoping that surprise and speed would grant him victory. Our own efforts will be very different from his doomed quest, for we will be many, ready in both body and soul, and we shall directly serve the great god Morr, yeah, even becoming his brandished blade to smite the corruption that mocks his rightful rule over the dead. More than this, even though no more is required for our eternal reward, we will serve Viadazza by driving the invaders far from its lands, and we will serve families, friends and neighbours all. As blessed warriors of Morr we will face what so many run from, and so fight that which if allowed to flourish would bring eternal ruin to all those we love. It is the only course open to us, the one sure and certain way to save ourselves and serve our god, for if we do not do so then all those we love are doomed to everlasting torment, their souls forced to remain in this world even after death, animating their own rotting corpses in thrall to wicked masters.”

Biagino could see fear on many faces below him in the square. Gonzalvo’s words were unsettling them. Of course they were – these were unsettling times and Gonzalvo was simply telling things as they were. Yet Biagino guessed there was more to it. His brother priest knew exactly how his words would be received. This speech was to be a journey, in which doubts would be addressed, fears removed, until at last the happy destination was reached. At least, that was what Biagino hoped.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BertampBiag3_zps8dc4ae0f.jpg)

“You can be afraid,” continued Gonzalvo. “You should be afraid. But you must use that fear rather than let it rule you. It can fuel a fire in your belly. A fearful warrior can either run or fight. Those who choose run from the undead will never be counted amongst the blessed of Morr, nor can they expect his favour, and as holy Morr turns his loving gaze from them, they run towards everlasting doom, for the foul servants of vampires and necromancers never grow weary, and when the living start to stumble, breathless and aching, the undead draw steadily, inevitably closer. If, on the other hand, you choose to stand and fight, you will do so as holy instruments, as Morr sees full well your fear, understands the heroic effort it takes to master it and make it yours, and he will love you all the more for it. Morr’s love, expressed through his divine blessing, is the greatest weapon a man can employ against the undead – it will hone your blades, steady your aim and strengthen your armour. His will shall inspire our commanders; his presence shall dismay the foe; his power, made manifest through the prayers of his priests, shall unweave the vampire duke’s enchantments. Fear does not make you weak, not if you have the courage of conviction. You are not alone, for look - you have each other; nor are you helpless, because Morr himself guides you, shields you and makes you strong.”

Biagino was impressed. Gonzalvo had a talent for this. Looking at the crowd, who stood silently, awestruck, he wondered whether instead of Sagrannalo it was Morr himself working through his brother priest. The idea was not so crazy. If Biagino, a mere clerk of the church who happened to be lucky enough to escape the fall of Miragliano, could dream of visitations by Morr’s servants, why couldn’t such a man as Gonzalvo, a priest of imposing stature and real authority, momentarily manifest the divinity of Morr?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BertampBiag1_zpsca33230f.jpg)

 “Perhaps you are thinking, ‘But I am unskilled in the art of war. I have never prayed to Myrmidia, swung a sword, or drilled to learn my place in rank and file’? Well I say this to you: Every able bodied man here has strength enough in his arm to lift a blade, and one strike of that blade is all that is required to fell a walking corpse. You do not need the nimble skill of a gladiator or the honed practise of a duellist, simply a strong heart. All you need is to stand resolute before the vileness and stench of the undead, for in so doing, Morr’s blessing will wax strong in you. If you can do this, then the foe cannot win. As a butcher wields his cleaver, a woodsman wields an axe, a fisherman wields a gutting knife, your blades will do their bloody work. And blow by blow the horror will diminish. Morr will laugh with glee and his joy will fill you with bliss. You will be lifted above other men, blessed both in this life and in death. Morr will guide us, Morr will live within us, Morr will reward us.”

A cheer now went up, and Biagino could see that men, mostly the younger sort, were pushing to the fore. They were ready now, in this moment, to join the cause, to fight the fight. Gonzalvo leaned across to him and muttered, “Waste not, want not,” then joined the priests, both those before and amongst the crowd, in greeting, accepting and ushering the willing volunteers in the right direction. Within an hour a new regiment was created. Soon, very soon by the looks of it, an entire army would be ready. Not Lord Adolfo’s army, but Morr’s army.

Strange and intriguing events are occurring in some parts of Tilea. It is said that an ambassadorial party was thrown from the city of Trantio, while another had to escape from gaol in Raverno. Rumours of arcane magical constructions emanate from Portomaggiore: some claim that a clock tower of solid brass is being built, which will suck all bolts of lightning from the sky above the city so that none can harm its citizens; others say that a magical statue has been fashioned that can speak truthful (if cryptic) answers to all questions put to it; and others believe a massive cannon has been forged which has the power to send a 60 lb roundshot of iron more than a mile. Confused accounts spread through the south that an Arabyan army has invaded the peninsula, but it seems the truth is merely that Arabyan mercenaries are still being hired in strength by the boy king. He is supposed to have said in private that Tileans make poor soldiers compared to the men of the southern deserts, although many retort that even an immature boy would not believe such nonsense.

Arabyans, Marienburgers, Ogres, Greenskin corsairs – these are the kind of warriors lured to the realm to fight the battles of the unfolding wars of the north and south. Who is to say that these mercenary armies might not themselves become new enemies?

Praemonitus praemunitus (Forewarned, forearmed)

Note: Now I have all the (private) player end of season reports to write. Mind you, they don't have to include illustrated stories and such like, just facts and figures, and a smattering of rumours and reports.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on November 13, 2013, 12:08:48 AM
(http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/12/16/1324051452345/Mark-Lester-as-Oliver-Twi-007.jpg)

I may be the first to ask, but I'd really like a painting tutorial.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on December 10, 2013, 08:17:52 PM
The Little Waagh!

“We can do it ourselves, smash ‘em good and proper. Us gobs don’t need no Orcs when we gots a mob as big as dis.”

All the goblins nodded or grunted their agreement of Booglebors’s erudite appraisal. Except for Big Boss Gurmliss - he didn’t look convinced.

“We ain’t so big as you fink, Boog. Put it dis way, if Khurnag’s main mob was a mountain den we’re nuffin more’n a rat’s droppin’.”

Gurmliss could see anger on some faces, fear on others. The first probably thought he was insulting them, saying they were not fit for a fight. The latter would be thinking a little bit further and realising that if Gurmliss was suggesting they run from the foe, then surely Warlord Khurnag would make them pay for their cowardice. Well, thought Gurmliss, let them be afraid, but not about the orc warlord’s punishment.

“But,” he went on, “orders is orders. We ‘av to fight ‘cos we was told to mess up anyone trying to sneak up on Khurnag from behind. That don’t mean we wins, that just means we take a few of them down with us.”

Booglebor snorted derisively. “Great speech, boss.”

Gurmliss grinned back at him, two of his fangs curling over his lip. “Yeah, well. Let’s keep what I said between you lot an’ me. Get the rag tags together, all of ya, tell ‘em whatever makes ‘em ‘appy, just make sure they’s ready to move before Clanger rings de bell.”



As forces went, the Little Waagh looked impressive enough – if you were purblind, some distance away, and the sun was in your eyes. There were plenty of them. Two bands of wolf riders came up on the right flank of the battle line, with a pump wagon to their left. The big mobs, carrying short bows and pikes took the centre …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat1_zps4bcd1488.jpg)

… while on the far left the chariots, including Big Boss Gurmliss’ own, and another pumper, rolled forwards.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat2_zps6284c80f.jpg)

Several war machines – basically whichever ones happened to have grease enough on their axles to let the wheels move freely - had been dragged from the town. Clanger led the pike gobs. Of all the goblin mobs present, this was the only one that looked like it might sting. Everyone knew gobbo’s with bows tended to do little more than annoy the foe and pepper the ground with splintered shafts, and that although wolves were mean enough mounts their riders let them down somewhat when it really came to it. But the pike regiment, a moving copse of hafts tipped with vicious iron barbs, had a mean look about it.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat6_zps9ce219c7.jpg)

The trouble was the enemy had pikes too, and they were longer, more ordered and gleamed that little bit sharper. They also had guns, lots of guns, of every kind, big and small: cannons, muskets, pistols. They had horses too, with armoured men on their backs. More than that, they had defences. Not only had they occupied the goblins’ abandoned, rickety watchtower, they’d shifted the stone ruins around to fashion up proper walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat3_zps77334628.jpg)

Gurmliss cursed when he saw the enemy’s true disposition. His useless outriders had reported none of this, merely saying the enemy marched to beat of drums and dressed in matching colours. They had not lied, but they had hardly gone out of their way to impart the important stuff. There were more horsemen on the field than wolf-riders, which did not bode well at all, considering that numbers was usually the only thing gobbos had going for them. One band of riders were led by a man with brighter armour than the rest, sporting an orange sash and sat atop a grey mount.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat4_zps0472b43a.jpg)

Squinting, Gurmliss shielded the sun from his eyes and studied the man. He seemed to be in conversation with the fellow next to him, and both were clutching goblets from which they sipped, as if the battle were to be nothing more than a sporting hunt. Gurmliss fumed – he would like to take that goblet and stuff it down the man’s throat. Here he was, very likely about to die because he was more afraid of Khurnag than these men, and there they supped wine as if they were on a picnic.

Looking along the lines, Gurmliss strained to learn what else he could. The foe’s bronze-barrelled field pieces gleamed, while their orderly soldiers manned the defences. It was plain that the foe was simply going to wait for the goblins to advance. Behind the defenders he could just make out their camp – umpteen mules laden with supplies, which meant they no doubt had plenty of the noisome black powder that fuelled their guns.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat5_zpsa6aee2ea.jpg)

Was nothing going to go his way today?

A creaking and clattering sound broke his miserable reverie, and he glanced to his left to see the pump wagon picking up its pace. Bugger it, he thought, and lifted his hand to give the signal to advance. Might as well see the day through. Maybe the enemy’s powder was wet? Maybe their men were untrained youths? Maybe Khurnag would forgive him if he ran away after the first volley? Aye, and maybe the snotlings on the pump wagon were proofed against cannonball?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat7_zpsa8c654d8.jpg)

As the main bodies shuffled about in an attempt to sort their ranks and files before they joined in the advance, far to the right the two bands of wolf-riders separated to pass by either side of the hovel before them …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat8_zpsbb782dac.jpg)

… while bold as brass one of the enemy horse regiments trotted forwards as if the goblin pikes and chariots weren’t even there, clutching pistols in their raised hands in a gesture at once threatening yet strangely delicate.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat9_zps14f917f9.jpg)

The flag mounted on the back of Gurmliss’ chariot snapped in a sudden gust of wind, and Gurmliss muttered “Go on den!” to his chariot driver.

……………

All the enemy’s riders amongst had begun moving up, their knights staying together and coming round the hovel to counter the wolf-riders’ surprisingly bold advance.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat10_zpseb9dda21.jpg)

Then, before a single foot-slogging goblin had begun to march, a magical blast of burning energy came spurting out of the upper reaches of the tower, proving the foe had brought wizards too. The enchanted flames wreathed the pump wagon nearest the chariots, spilling umpteen squealing snotlings from it, some trailing smoke as they staggered about in agony, several bursting like gooseberries roasting on a griddle. It was, even for goblins who usually derive cruel amusement from such sights, a horribly dismaying start to the battle. Both the chariots beside Gurmliss’s turned and fled, leaving Gurmliss alone out on the left flank apart from the stone thrower, the crew of which had apparently failed to notice the pump wagon’s awful demise due to their heated squabbling over who got to pull the lever and so launch the first boulder.


(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat11_zpse28e22dd.jpg)

Then came the rolling thunder of the enemy’s guns, beginning with a ripple of staggered cracks, then melding into a roaring blast punctuated by the even louder retorts of the cannons. As a consequence, a lot of lead was hurled into the wolfriders, until only two remained – Booglebor and his standard bearer.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat12b_zpsa33bbd32.jpg)

Booglebor turned to look at his last warrior. “Oh good, you gots de flag den?”

The goblin, hunched and cowering behind his heavy round shield, the wolf-pack’s standard tucked between his shield and shoulder, was stunned by what had just happened. Nevertheless, he nodded.

“Oh, dat’s good,” said Booglebor, his sarcastic tone not in the least bit subtle. “That’ll be bloomin’ useful now there’s no bloomin’ pack left to follow it.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat12_zps74c8217d.jpg)

The goblin grimaced foolishly, then pointed forwards with his hooked blade. “Boss, look. We is gubbed.”

Booglebor laughed maniacally. “Oh, you noticed! Clever git.” Quickly balancing the range of almost certainly suicidal options available to him, he chose the only one he thought might actually have a chance of keeping him alive. Spurring his shaggy furred wolf he twisted its head with his reigns. “Follow me!” he shouted, and sped off around the knights’ flank.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat14_zpsc3e85494.jpg)

As he did so, the other wolf-pack came around the hovel towards the knights’ rear. Gurmliss wasn’t in the mood to sneak about looking for the enemy’s rear, and drove his chariot hard and fast at the pistol-bearing riders ahead of him. They simply trotted away as if he were some mild annoyance, like a bad smell they wished to stay further away from. The rest of Gurmliss’ Little Waagh marched, shuffled, and sent magic, arrows and bolts at the foe. Nothing came of their efforts. The enemy seemed utterly unharmed.

Next to the goblin archers the second pump wagon trundled along, powered by the frantic pumping of two snotlings called Eeriwig and Mudbelly.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat15b_zpsb66fa1e8.jpg)

The machine was a surprisingly robust design, almost sleek in its shape, sporting a very vicious set of spiky rollers and blades powered by the same set of pumping bars that propelled it.

“Faster,” ordered Mudbelly. “Faster an’ faster.”

Eeriwig grunted acknowledgement and pumped harder than ever before, the bars even lifting him a little off the floor of the machine on the upstroke. “S’good. Dat’s good,” said Mudbelly. Eeriwig grinned, sweat dripping from the end of his sharp nose while spittle and snot conjoined and congealed upon his lips. In between grunts he began issuing giggles and squeaks.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat15c_zps52bef105.jpg)

At that very same moment, across the space that still divided the two forces, an artillery officer of the VMC was pointing at a spot a little ahead of the pump wagon with his short-sword. The piece he commanded had the company's colours of blue and orange painted merrily on its wheels, while its crew, veteran professional soldiers of several campaigns, wore matching red coats.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat13_zps0e55f133.jpg)

The piece’s gunner and matrosses lifted the rear of the gun and swung it around to aim exactly where indicated. Within moments the match had been applied, the gun had fired and 9 lb of iron shot bounced right through the speeding, snotling contraption, tearing the pumping mechanism right out, along with Eeriwig who failed to let go of the bars, while one of the snapped chains swung violently around to cut Mudbelly in two. The shattered wagon slowed to a halt. Weeks later, one goblin archer (one of the few to survive the battle) would swear that Eeriwig was still pumping even as he flew through the air, leaving a splattering trail of blood and snot behind him!

It was not a cannon ball that did for Big Boss Gurmliss, but more magic. Once again magical fire lashed out from the eyes of the wizard atop the tower to sear the fur off the two wolves drawing Gurmliss's chariot. Howling pathetically they fell to the ground unable to roll and the chariot tipped over throwing Gurmliss to the ground. He picked himself up and limped over to a little copse of trees nearby. There he stopped, and carrying his unsheathed blade across his mailed shoulder, he glowered quite helplessly at the foe.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat18_zps8222fc4b.jpg)[/URL]

Nothing unexpected had happened. In fact, he was mildly surprised that he was alive and might actually still be so tomorrow too. It was not anger at his misfortune that filled him, but malice towards the foe. Let them have their pathetic victory, he fumed. Wait ‘til they meet the big boys. They’ll find out quick enough then what Greenskins can do. Killing gobbos, snots and scraggy wolves is one thing, but orcs and boars and giants is another. He did not run, but rather waited and watched – if he was going to face Khurnag he would at least give the most accurate report he could of the foe. Khurnag was mighty and cruel, but he was no fool. He would know from Gurmliss’ report that a rag tag petty force of goblins was no match for this foe. But he would also learn all about the foe’s composition, and so could plan and prepare how exactly he was going to tear them to pieces.

In the centre of the field, and quite possibly still ignorant of the hopelessness of their position, the two main regiments of goblins began to advance a little quicker.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat19_zpse7960b75.jpg)

Perhaps it was sheer numbers that so clouded their judgement, or their memories of victories serving as merely one small part of Khurnag’s Great Waagh? Whatever, they advanced right at the muzzles of the enemy massed guns.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat16_zps306de70f.jpg)

The VMC’s knights had reformed in a most professional manner and now trotted towards the last surviving wolf-pack.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat17_zpsb8c7354c.jpg)

Just as they arrived, with the goblins bemused as to why the heavily armoured foe was not charging, they unleashed a hail of pistol balls and thus felled almost half of the greenskins. More than a little dismayed that the foe could do such harm against them without even unsheathing blades, the surviving goblins turned and fled the field for good. Once again the cuirassier’s simply reformed, turned and set off back towards the centre of the field.

The pike goblins were now beginning to receive casualties as the foe stopped shooting at pump wagons and wolf packs and turned their attention on the sluggardly brace of regiments in the midst of the otherwise shattered goblin line.
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat20_zps3ef63e6d.jpg)

The cuirassiers charged headlong into the shortbows, the countershot of arrows bouncing from the steel plates of their lobster-like armour.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat21_zps0cdc55f8.jpg)

Which left the pike goblins all alone in the advance towards the enemy defences.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat22_zps053c18ee.jpg)

Cannons, muskets and pistols now all blasted almost as one, and tore the pike-goblins apart. What few remained fled away pell-mell. From atop a little mound of rocks Gurmliss watched them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat23_zpsd44c5667.jpg)

Then his attention was caught by the blaring of hunting horns to his right and he turned to see the shortbow goblins being trodden under the hooves of the foes heavy horses as they too ran.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/LittleWaaghBat24_zpsb8140eae.jpg)

Satisfied that there was no more to see, and happy in the knowledge that he was now merely one greenskin amongst the many pouring from the field, Gurmliss hopped down from the rocks to join the general flight.



Thus ended the battle which the VMC went on to describe as their ‘Glorious Victory’ against a ‘foul horde’ serving ‘dark gods’.

...

Thank you to Ant (or 'Uryens' to those on this forum) the VMC player for bringing his army to the field. And thanks to his good wife for volunteering to command the goblins. I think she learned a lesson regarding just how useless gobs can be - even when we all forgot to apply animosity! Perhaps some failed animosity rolls might have hampered the goblins, but tbh, it is hard to see how they could have done any worse. After casualty recovery rules were applied, Ant lost merely one knight and 3 handgunners. Not bad. Some might indeed say 'glorious'!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on December 11, 2013, 11:33:55 AM
I must point out in the name of fairness - it's part of a campaign and I had been able to select the ground I fought on and had about 750 more points than the gobbos.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on December 11, 2013, 11:47:05 AM
Yes, and those sort of games can be the best fun! It wasn't impossible for the goblins to weaken you.

Notice the doom laden references to the might of Khurnag's 'Great Waagh'? Do you think I am trying to worry the players?

Campaigns are, IMO, the most fun way to play WFB. You enjoyed the game, I think, as much as you would have done against an equally balanced opponent. You even made it a bit harder for yourself (not deliberately) by forgetting to place several of the regiments that were actually with your VMC army!

You got the ground you wanted by adopting strategy - luring the goblins from the town with a feint, after choosing a good spot at which to deploy. Oh, and you got lucky, for there was a good spot to be had. If I had rolled higher numbers for the NPC force's cleverness of response, they might have come up with some good strategies too. Goblins can be snaky and cunning - even if this lot weren't. Remember that they did not come at first (laziness on their part) and you could have moved away and thus fought in the open, but you stuck to your plan and it paid off.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on December 11, 2013, 07:24:28 PM
True
I am brilliant after all  :icon_biggrin:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on December 11, 2013, 10:52:34 PM
yes, you're brilliant. If you wanna write a piece for this thread that would be brilliant too!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on December 15, 2013, 10:08:19 AM
(They don't all need pictures, do they?)


Miracolo a Viadazza

“She has come, I tell you brother, it was her,” insisted Gonzalvo. He seemed hurt that Biagino might doubt him.

“But there have been so many refugees, noble and common,” countered Biagino. “Are you sure it was not simply a lady affecting Ebinan fashions?”

“I saw her face. People cried her name and she acknowledged them.”

Biagino still found it hard to believe. “Did she come alone? Was she injured? Was she on foot?”

“She rode upon a fierce looking horse, a fighting horse without doubt, and although her cloak was spattered in mud, her hair dishevelled, she looked well enough. She had two soldiers with her, wearing the livery of Ebino, one on foot the other riding a nag.”

“That is all that remains of her army?”

“Perhaps. They were not palace guard, nor officers by the look of them. Rather they were weathered and hard looking men, with the cold, cruel eyes of those who had seen too many battles. Maybe they were the last survivors of a company, the rest dying to keep the duchess safe?”

“Where is she now?”

“She was met by several of Lord Adolfo’s courtiers, then escorted to the palace. They had a company of brutes with them who pushed through the crowd.”

Biagino had to admit this all sounded convincing. The Duchess Maria had been missing for nigh upon two months, and in the second month it had become generally presumed she must have been killed after her flight from the battle before outside her city of Ebino. Now it seemed that those few who had claimed she was hiding, waiting until it was safe to continue her journey, had been right. Sadly her enforced delay meant that it was far too late to gather a relief force to save her city – Ebino had fallen to the undead weeks ago.

Momentarily distracted by his thoughts, he suddenly noticed Gonzalvo watching him intently.

“So,” said Gonzalvo, “Now she is here, will she lead our crusade?”

“Lead the crusade?”

“With her at our head surely even those uninspired by faith in Morr will join us? She is the rightful ruler of Ebino, and by inheritance perhaps of Miragliano, and could reward all who help her recover her realm. Mercenaries like to know they will be paid in gold and silver in the here and now, rather than with Morr’s favour in the hereafter.”

“I am not sure she is a general, nor even a soldier,” Biagino answered. “But she is very definitely a noble ruler. She might not lead us in battle, but in other ways, perhaps yes. At least, and it would be no little thing, she might be induced to assist our raising of an army. The peasants, labourers and seamen we have now are keen enough, but they are neither well armed nor skilled in warfare. If our army is to win victories, it does need seasoning with real fighters. But … best not get ahead of ourselves.”

Gonzalvo frowned. “Brother Biagini, we must act quickly. The enemy can only grow stronger with time.”

“Oh, we must indeed act as quickly as possible. What I meant was we cannot appear to be commanding her, nor rushing her. We should humbly seek an audience with her, politely present our case. She has Sforta blood and was the ruler of her own city – she must not think we are commanding her, making demands. We must offer ourselves to her as friends and servants, giving her hope, whilst explaining that we need her help – but doing so in such a way that does not make our cause appear weak.”

“That, brother, seems to me to be entirely possible. We can say we’ve already begun the work of raising an army, she might aid us by speeding up the process, ensuring that the army is ready soon enough to prevent the wicked vampire duke from taking too many more lives.”

“That sort of thing, yes. But tread gently throughout.”

……….

The next day

The two of them had returned in silence. Everyone on the streets had made way for them, either because they knew them and respected them, or because they could see they were priests of Morr and in a foul mood. Once back at their lodgings in the Garlasco Temple, they both threw themselves into high backed chairs at the table. Both knew they must talk even though the words would be difficult. Finally, it was Biagino who broke the silence.

“Does she think our cause is not just? Does she not believe that we are inspired by Morr. I could have unleashed his wrath in that very chamber.”

Gonzalvo had never seen his brother priest so angry. “You could have, but thankfully did not. They would all have thought us no more than practitioners of dark magic.”

“They had no respect for us anyway. Lord Adolfo looked at us with barely concealed contempt, as if we were mere rabble rousers. I am surprised he did not have us arrested there and then.”

“We have the duchess to thank for that.”

“And for nothing else.” His was what most vexed Biagino, that the duchess should offer them so little support. He had expected little better from Lord Adolfo, who was his father’s son. From the start of Biagino’s preaching, throughout the growth of the Morrite movement and up to the birth of the army, Lord Adolfo had offered no support – in fact only just stopping short of putting them down. His militia had dispersed several of the spontaneous gatherings, those unsanctioned by the church of Morr. His marines had been implicated in the killing of four peasant crusaders. Lord Adolfo had two of them hanged for the crime, but it was generally held that this was a mere token punishment to satisfy the priests, and that the executed men were chosen due to more to Adolfo’s dislike of them than their actual guilt.

The duchess had treated the priests better, yet hers was a cold civility. She addressed them correctly, listened politely, little else. She offered them the bare minimum of respect required, as if listening to them was simply a duty of her office. At first Biagino had thought it was a distracted state of mind born of her dreadful loss, the trials and tribulations of her flight. As time went by, however, he changed his mind. Her haughty manner, her aloofness, were deep-rooted, not merely an affectation to hide a traumatised state of mind.

“Perhaps if we had spoken to her before Lord Adolfo and her cronies,” said Gonzalvo, as if he had been reading Biagino’s mind. “I think he must have painted a sorry picture of our crusade. He might not have been bold enough to slander Morr in her presence, but he could belittle our army as nothing more than a mob. He’s said as much in public on more than one occasion.”

“That much is certain,” agreed Biagino. “I believe she does want to fight, just not by our side.”

“She did say we could fight under the standard of Miragliano.”

“No, we said we would fight under the standard of Miragliano, in her service, and she granted us that wish. Nothing more, just: ‘Take the standard and go. I have a more important duty elsewhere.’”

“Not in those words,” countered Gonzalvo.

“No, she put it more politely. She was politic throughout. Yet she meant that. We would go and begin our petty crusade, then she would bring a real army and complete the work.”

They fell silent again. After a little while Gonzalvo, in a somewhat dejected tone, asked, “So, what do we do now?” He sounded nothing like the firebrand priest who had delivered stirring sermons to the crowds.

“We begin our crusade,” answered Biagino. “As Morr wishes and Tilea needs. We make our army as fit for war as we can make it. If she brings an army, well and good. If not, we fight that bit harder.”

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 06, 2014, 12:07:27 AM
Bad Timing, Bad Intelligence and Bad Behaviour.

Prologue

Upon the Eastern Coast of Tilea

Sea boss Scarback’s Greenskin Corsairs had reached the eastern coast of Tilea, causing surprisingly little trouble en route. There they halted, for although they had been employed to cause difficulties for a certain force in that region, Scarback wanted to know that he had a means of escape should such prove necessary. His was not a big force, and he had no intention of biting off more than he could chew – or at least if he did he wanted to be able to spit it out before it choked him and leg it! Thus it was he ordered a defensive compound constructed to protect his little force while the somewhat more time consuming labour of repairing several wrecked vessels they had discovered on the beach was begun. Once he had seaworthy boats (at least seaworthy in an orc’s opinion), then he would start scouting about for ways to cause trouble.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hafdi was not having the best of days. It seemed to him that he was the only one doing hard work. Since the first light of dawn he had been lugging timbers from wrecks on the beach up to where Sea Boss Scarback wanted his fort built. His legs ached, his back even more, and he had more splinters in his arms than he could count (more than six, then).

Despite the fact he was an orc, Hafdi did not consider himself foolish (whatever Toggler said). On first being ordered upon the task it had occurred to him almost straight away that they should load their wagon with the timbers, then he and Toggler could lug it together up from the dunes and unload it at the fort. That way they would only need to make the climb four or five times. But Toggler, by his own admission amply imbued with the renowned cunning of a goblin, had pointed out that pulling wagon loads of timber up such a slope would be back-breaking work, whereas hefting one plank up there was hardly worse than carrying a couple of half-pikes. At the time Hafdi could see no fault with this argument, and so had begun the labour with enthusiasm and a friendly slap from Toggler.

It was well past noon, and having hauled more than a dozen planks in succession up the slope, a flaw was becoming apparent in Toggler’s argument. Every time Hafdi descended back to the dunes he was welcomed by the sight of his goblin mate, hammer and adze in hand, daintily hacking another timber off the wrecked ship. The first few times, Hafdi merely pondered why it was he was doing all the lugging while Toggler got to stay put down here. Then he became suspicious that Toggler’s planks seemed every time to fall away from the wrecks just at the moment he returned.

Now, about to deliver his fifteenth plank to the labouring gobbos at the fort …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenSkinCorsNewCamp1_zps58c138a2.jpg)

… an idea was forming in his amply boned head: Toggler was most likely sitting around idle nearly all the time, only getting off his behind as Hafdi returned from each round trip, jumping up to knock another plank off from the wreck. Looking busy, but only when he had to - only when Hafdi was there. Well, Hafdi thought, I isn’t carryin’ any more plankies. When I gets back we’ll play ‘swapsies’, an’ den I gets to tip-tap at the wreck while Toggler can drag his lazy lump up and down this ‘ere hill.”

The boys up here had been busy, it seemed, as the little row of stakes had doubled in length since Hafdi’s last visit. The three greenskins involved were arguing  loudly over something or other (no surprise there). Hafdi smiled. I’ll get loud wiv dat Toggler, he thought. I’ll shout me ‘ead off. Den when he comes up wiv some sort of cleverness to make me do all de work, I’ll not hear it. His words can’t trick me if I don’t know what he says.

The three labourers busy with the stakes consisted of two goblins and their stunted orc bully (the latter being a greenskin sort of supervisor). One goblin, Stenchel, had scooped dirt to form little holes, into each of which he had dropped a stake. The orc, Edbat, had proved willing to help with the work, but in a very minimal way, simply holding the stakes in place while the biggest goblin, Gooflig, hefted a large hammer to bash the stakes and drive them into the ground. Things had been going relatively well, until Gooflig missed the stake entirely on his last swipe. The hammer’s head slid down the side of the stake and thumped into the ground.

“Oy!” shouted Edbat. “You watch it wiv dat ‘ammer’. If you is hitting me I’ll ‘ave yer guts fer garters.”

“’Tain’t my fault, see,” said Gooflig, grinning as he always seemed to do. “Me hands are gettin’ all sweaty, and the hammer all slippery as a consequential. Just stand back a bit further an’ you’ll be alright.”

Edbat stepped away, leaving only one hand holding the stake, and placed the other on his helmeted head. Seeing this, the other goblin, Stenchel, placed his hands upon his own red-hooded head. Gooflig stopped for a moment and glared at the other two.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenSkinCorsNewCamp2_zps47a2b0ab.jpg)

“Watcha think yer doin’?” he demanded.

Edbat answered without removing his hand from his helmet. “If yer feeling slippy I don’t wants you bashing my ‘ead in.”

“Me neevor,” said Stenchel.

Gooflig could not stifle the spluttering laugh that burst through his clenched teeth. “So, let me get this straight, Edbat. In order to prevent me batting your head,” (here he winked at Stenchel) “which is decorated so nicely with a helmet, you put yer hand on yer helmet, meaning I’ll bash yer hand instead.”

Edbat glared menacingly at Gooflig. “You’d better not, not if you know what’s good fer ya”

“Meanwhile you, Stenchel,” added Gooflig, his attention shifting to the red-hooded goblin, “are so worried that my hammer might somehow magically extend to five times its length and so knock you on the noddle, that you slap two hands on your own bonce. Am I right?”

“Erm,” said Stenchel. Before he could add anything to his rather uninformative answer, Edbat butted in.

“Just get on wiv it, Gooflig. No silly business, no sweaty mistakes. ‘Cos if you do, I’ll use you as a stake an' see whether me own hands gets sweaty or not.”

“Alright,” said Gooflig, still grinning. “Keep yer hair on.”

Edbat glowered at him, half aware that there was some sort of mockery involved in Gooflig’s last comment, but too distracted by the thumping of the hammer to get his thoughts in order.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: May interest some of you to know that I tried a new sort of set up for these little photos. I fashioned a lump of plasticine into some ground, stuffed the stakes in, cut squares so the figures’ bases would slot in leaving the base tops flush with the apparent ground, then sprinkled flock over everything before brushing it off the actual figures. After placing some blue card and hills,  took the photos.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GreenSkinCorsNewCamp3_zps19c3687c.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: errantgamer on January 09, 2014, 02:39:09 AM
Marvellous stuff, Padre! This is the kind of campaign that makes you want to start one yourself, if you hadn't already. It's really neat to see how the interplay between all the different factions and mercenaries makes a great story. The Tilean focus -- something you don't normally see! -- is just the icing on the cake.

Your effort in writing this up is much appreciated (and you're doing it really well; I love the amount of pictures you give us).

http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/Smileys/phpBB/beer.gif
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: fauthsie on January 10, 2014, 07:27:53 PM
Just caught up on this! Great stuff!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 14, 2014, 08:41:23 PM
Miserere Mei, Morr

The Morrite Lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini, had finally yielded to the inevitable. Until the previous week he had scrupulously avoided giving any encouragement, open or private, to Biagino and the other lesser priests of Morr who were preaching the crusade. Now, however, the situation had gone beyond mere sermons and become a very real movement - an actual army was taking shape - and Lector Bernado had come to call upon Morr’s blessing on the enterprise, to hear the soldiers make their oath of obedience, even to offer himself as their spiritual general. Biagino and the other priests were very happy to have him. As the highest ranking Morrite clergyman in the city state they were already legally his servants, so his adoption of command seemed to put the world to right again.

Lector Bernado’s earlier reluctance to join the crusade had perplexed Biagino considerably. He could understand why Viadaza’s ruler, Lord Adolfo, the tyrannical son of an equally tyrannical father, might refuse to support the cause. It was in Adolfo’s nature to suspect all popular movements, born of his upbringing, his noble arrogance and his desire to be the only true power in his city. There were no such excuses for Lector Bernado. For months now the Church of Morr had been preaching just such a crusade, Arch-Lector Calictus II having issuing not one but two proclamations from Remas calling upon all Tileans to muster and fight the evil power growing in the north. Calictus even named Viadaza in the second proclamation. And still Lector Bernado, the highest ranking Morrite in the city, had kept his distance, preferring to attend upon Lord Adolfo, busying himself with petty affairs and courtly, ceremonial duties.

Still, Biagino was pleased to think, Morr has finally convinced him to join us, and at last we can expect to receive the monies and support necessary to march out upon campaign and commit a true force to the field of the battle.

Lector Bernado began by delivering a long sermon in which he praised the god Morr and those who served him in almost every conceivable way. He referred liberally to the two proclamations (the very same he had earlier been so quiet about), and argued convincingly as to why this Viadazan army was filled with exactly the sort of men who Morr would favour in battle. It was not as rousing a speech as those Father Gonzalvo had delivered in several city squares, but the soldiers cheered anyway, and in all the right places. Finally the Lector has reached the part where the soldiers were to swear their oath. A young lad stepped from the ranks and beat a peel on his drum to signal in a satisfactorily military manner that the moment had come, while one of the Lector’s acolytes stood before him with an open book in hand, holding it so that he could glance at the page to read the words.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MorrCrusade2_zps7cdd0d3c.jpg)

First he read the oath in its entirety: “You shall swear by the blessed god Morr and all the lawful gods, and by all you hold dear in this world, that you will serve as soldiers in this righteous army upon this holy quest, obeying all civil command, respecting authority both military and priestly, fighting boldly, shirking no duties, and furthermore that you shall not desist from the execution thereof until the chief commanders shall give you leave.”

The acolyte then stepped away and another Morrite priest began to shout the oath in manageable chunks so that the gathered soldiers could repeat the words …

“I swear by the blessed god Morr …”

The assembled soldiers roared their repetition.

“And by all the gods …”

Etc.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MorrCrusade1_zps0fe35e24.jpg)

Biagino had studied the army as it assembled. This particular gathering consisted only of Viadazans. It did not include the regiment of Arrabiatti horsemen or the large company of condottieri crossbowmen, paid for by the voluntary contributions that had poured in from the vast throng unfit for service due to age, sex or infirmity, yet who wanted to show their commitment to Morr’s cause. Of course there was also the very valid fear concerning the possibility that their home might be city conquered and destroyed by the nightmarish legion under the vampire duke’s command.

The crusaders had regimented themselves into several bodies, each formed into ranks and files as best they could, some doing so much better than others. They were arrayed around an ancient, refurbished carroccio, which already carried holy, Morrite relics intended to imbue the crusading soldiers with religiously inspired courage, and indeed there seemed to be a tangible aura all about the wagon, like that which pervades the mystical environs of holy shrines at twilight – a crepuscular and magical sensation.

Officers of the city’s militia had discovered an old clause in the regulations which allowed them to provide for the defence of their city if the ruler was incapacitated and no deputy duly appointed. In a bold move, the priests declared that Lord Adolfo was indeed incapacitated by his immersion in other affairs, and so a good portion of the militia had dared to muster – mostly those bold enough to go along with such a dangerous political move. Biagino saw this as no bad thing, for it was the boldest men he wanted in the army. Luckily, Lord Adolfo had not responded to the audacious legal usurpation of his command over these part-time soldiers, perhaps because he himself did not think them fit for purpose, having his own professional guards aplenty, or perhaps because he did not want to push such a large and armed mob of citizens into outright civil unrest, even rebellion. Either way, when they left the city to face the foe, he would not longer be troubled by them.

The militia, armed with pikes, made a colourful sight. Some upon the front rank and the flanking files even sported a smattering of armour.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MorrCrusade5_zps6c3ada37.jpg)

A large band of dockworkers and seafarers had also joined the cause. Bristling with a wide array of weapons, from curved blades to pistols, blunderbusses to axes, even throwing knives, they certainly looked like they could deliver a torrent of stinging blows. Biagino did not think they were much like soldiers, but he convinced himself this was of no importance, at least not if they proved to be brave, loyal and good scrappers.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MorrCrusade4_zpsfeb27197.jpg)

The noblest volunteers were a small body of knights, each a son of one of the ever dwindling noble Tilean families of Viadaza. Encased in plate armour, they sported their own heraldic devices, with the Crusade’s Morrite emblem upon their banner.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MorrCrusade7_zpsd40cdb4f.jpg)

There was a second body of militia – at least, militia of a sort. Insufficient pikes or halberds had yet been acquired to equip them, and the majority had very little in the way of experience, having drilled only for a short time, gaining a proficiency sufficient to march in relative order into the square and take their place, but to do little else. In an attempt to bolster their spirits, and make them feel as if they were just as much a part of the army as the rest, several of the lesser priests of Morr had taken to drilling and marching with them. One such priest, Father Antonello, had taken on his new military duties with gusto, and Biagino raised his eyebrows when he saw that even as the oath was being read the ‘fighting father’ (as he had become known) had raised his blade aloft as if the enemy were there before them at this very instant.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MorrCrusade6_zps157f20b7.jpg)

Bravo, thought Biagino, smiling. That’s the spirit. Then the smile left his face as he imagined Father Antonello, with his sandaled feet and his grey, woollen habit, facing the animated horror of the living dead. Perhaps, he worried silently, ‘spirit’ isn’t enough? Perhaps the wickedness of Vampires is too strong for an army of labourers and citizens to defeat?

He did not allow this sudden darkening of his thoughts to show upon his face, for he had been fighting such doubts for some time and was well practised in their concealment. The most obvious thing the crusaders lacked was Lord Adolfo’s professional soldiers: his numerous men-at-arms, his famed marines with their long barrelled muskets; his hulking ogres who spent peacetime guarding warehouses and palazzos; his train of artillery, commanded by some of the most experienced gunners in Tilea. Some elements of Lord Adolfo’s forces would not be missed, such as the foul half-orcs who crewed half a dozen of his fighting galleys, or the privateer greenskins he had hired on several occasions in the past to prey upon the shipping of rival city states. Notwithstanding these latter elements, the former would have vastly improved the punching power of the crusading army, not just through numbers alone, but because experienced soldiers and marines were much more likely to stand their ground against the horrors the Duke had under his command.

As Biagino and Gonzalvo had finally come to accept during their miserable audience with the Duchess Maria, Lord Adolfo really was entirely uninterested in supporting them. He had not formally protested against the crusaders’ cause, nor put overt legal or financial obstacles in their way, for to do so would place him in direct opposition to the Arch-Lector of Morr’s proclamations (if not, at the time, those of the Lector of Viadaza). But he had no made active effort at all to assist the mustering crusaders, indeed he had hindered at least some of the first gatherings as if they were nothing more than illegal assemblies by the dregs of the city. He had contributed not one spoonful of powder, not one pike head, not one horse’s shoe nor a single nail. The militia regiment of pikemen was paid for with the religiously inspired contributions of rich merchants and respectable citizens, who had also encouraged their sons, servants and neighbours to muster despite no order from Lord Adolfo. Even the silk for the flags was gifted by a Cathayan merchant based in the city. Lord Adolfo’s utter lack of support, along with his public comments and rumoured slanders at court, had made it clear that he, commander of the ‘true’ army of Viadaza in defence of the city, believed he had no use at all for a rabble of loutish labourers and citizen zealots.

Thoughts of the meeting with Lord Adolfo and the duchess stirred Biagino’s memory of a nightmare that had tormented him in the darkest hour of the previous night. In the dream he was once again petitioning the duchess, though this time her demeanour was somewhat disturbing. She scrutinised him with cold malice in her eyes, every trace of the gentle respect born of her nobility gone. When he spoke, she smirked cruelly. When he pleaded, she laughed mockingly. Lord Adolfo sat gazing at her all the while, quite ignoring Biagino. It was obvious he wanted her, perhaps as a wife, perhaps merely to satisfy his base lusts? The more Lord Adolfo stared, the more his face took on the semblance of an orc – his teeth becoming crooked and overlarge, his eyes reddening in the shadow of a bulging, misshapen brow. As Biagino’s faltering attempts at persuasion grew more feeble, Lord Adolfo, saliva dripping from his cracked and curled bottom lip, simply stared and stared some more. Then, when Biagino’s words finally dried up, just like they had in the waking world meeting, the duchess did not thank him for his concern and dismiss him politely – as she had done in the real meeting - instead she launched into a tirade of abuse, listing his sins (both old and recent), his many faults and frequent mistakes, even his most private failings, to show that he was unworthy, too sinful to serve a god, too weak to command men, to foolish to survive the onslaught of Miragliano. As her voice turned into a shriek, unpleasantly counter-pointed by Lord Adolfo’s grunts and groans, Biagino had fallen from the dream to arrive sweating and shivering in his bed.

He shook his head, breathed deep, then joined in the last words of the oath,

“… until the chief commanders shall give you leave.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/MorrCrusade3_zpsc09451d7.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 20, 2014, 10:16:58 PM
Heresy?

A letter .....

This to the Most Revered and Holy Arch Lector Calictus II, sent from Pavona

Before I make known what I have to tell, I wish to profess my complete loyalty to the Holy Church of Morr and the Arch Lector Calictus II. I remain the church’s most humble and sincere servant and wish no one to believe that I could ever harbour any schismatical tendencies nor heretical beliefs. I aim only to report what is being preached and promulgated, professedly in the name of holy Morr, by the priests and brothers who serve the Pavonan Lector, Mauro Capolicchio, and the civil officers who serve Duke Guidobaldo. I gain no satisfaction from what I have to report, only from the fact that I am able to reveal unto you the true state of affairs here in Pavona. I wish only to appraise you of how things currently stand so that you may act in light of certain knowledge rather than relying solely upon muddled rumours and third or fourth-hand accounts.

The heretical movement here in Pavona began innocuously enough with the growth in adoration of holy Morr. Increasing numbers of Pavonans dedicated themselves to his praise, devoting more hours each day to this worship, while others took to scourging themselves to wash away the stain of unworthy thoughts and desires. They flocked to his temples on holy days, the gathered crowds swelling to such a size that those who came late could not even enter such was the press of people bursting from the doors.

If one had enquired as to why such a new and holy fervour had gripped the citizens, most honest men would have answered that it resulted from the fears conjured in the common mind by the several threats presented by the vile Vampire Duke, Khurnag’s Waagh and the Brutes of Campogrotta. Others, more proud than fearful, may have declared that such devotion was only right and proper amongst Morr’s favoured city and its blessed inhabitants. In light of my own experience, I would add that there was (and remains) also the need to show conformity to the will of the city’s rulers. None can hope to prosper in Pavona if they are not outwardly and firmly Morrite. Apprentices are examined upon the articles of their faith, servants instructed daily, and before admittance to the city all foreigners must be interrogated to discover if they possess the necessary understanding of the truths of Morr. All of which would be to the good - such that Pavona could be considered a model state that all of Tilea should aspire to emulate – if it had gone no further.

Yet this was only the beginning. What could have indeed been the best example of holy devotion grew into something more. Duke Guidobaldo, who all Pavonans look to please in hope of favour, let his own theological thoughts be known. He declared how he saw the heavenly realm as macrocosm to our earthly microcosm, which one might suppose is a commonly held and respected belief: how the gods rule over their heavenly domains like rulers govern their states here within the earthly realm. More accurately, however, Duke Guidobaldo likened heaven to a perfect form which his own city state mirrored, if imperfectly. He declared himself to be the worldly equivalent of Morr, and his officers a reflection of the other gods. Both gods and officers wielded power over their own domains, but all bowed to the authority of their rightful lords. As Pavonans bowed to him, the Duke declared that the gods bowed to Morr.

When this was met with barely concealed confusion, he explained his thinking further, and in so doing, re-awakened an ancient heresy. The Morrite Lector of Pavona, who ought to have guided the Duke as to the church’s divinely inspired teachings concerning the heavenly pantheon and its myriad spheres, each one being a particular god’s domain, each one reflected (for good or bad) in the world, instead supported the Duke’s pronouncements. Furthermore, the Lector took it upon himself to search out precedents in tomes both canonical and apocryphal, until he and his most scholarly priests could present a case that seemed to support the Duke’s beliefs completely. This so satisfied Duke Guidobaldo that he proudly declared his priests to be the most enlightened in the world and commanded them to instruct his people in the truth. “Preach and teach!” he cried. “Mine own people shall know the full glory of Morr.”

And so it was that the people of Pavona came to see the heavenly pantheon in a new light. Not the light of truth, nor wisdom, but a tainted light, dim and weak, which illuminated only that which their Duke (and now they themselves) wanted to see, and left in shadows much that they should know.

Put plainly, and as ever I strive to write so, they believe thus: Morr is the god of death, ruler of the afterlife, the realm of the dead, and all mortal souls belong to him. This far they have not strayed from the truth. But then they add that all other gods, whatever their domain - be it war, trade, the law, or elves and dwarfs, the mountains or the sea, even murder, corruption or chaos – are masters of something earthly, something that will end in time, either through the death of all mortals or the very end of the world. When their domains ceases to exist, then they become powerless and forgotten. The demise of the mortal races and the earthly realm is their death. There can be no king of Bretonnia if there is no longer a Bretonnia, only a pretender to a non-existent throne. Such a man would be a fool, clutching to a power not merely faded but no longer real. Thus fare the gods when their own domains are ended. Their office is their being: Myrmidia is war, Mercopio is trade. Without their office, they cease to be.

Morr, however, is no such creature, no such god. Morr is death. His domain is that which houses the souls of the dead – for ever more. His dominion exists for all time, immemorial and eternal, for there can be no second death. When a mortal dies, they are dead forever, and so are subject to Morr’s rule forever. Morr is the only eternal god, he remains when all the rest are lost in the mists of time, when the other gods themselves have forgotten what they once were. And finally, when the other gods’ souls give up all that is vital within them, then they too join the ranks of the dead and so fall under Morr’s dominion.

Morr, the Pavonans say in their every prayer, is the one, true god.

Such heretical beliefs are only made stronger by the Pavonans’ victorious conquest of Astiano, for this petty war was fought since they dedicated themselves wholly to Morr, and their success is considered a gift from Morr rewarding them for their faith.

They do not yet think of themselves as schismatic, having not denied the Arch Lector’s authority, nor declared themselves as separate from the Holy Church of Morr, rather they see themselves as its most perfect and enlightened servants. Yet such is their pride and arrogance that I think it will not be long before they break away from lawful authority. Their heresy is in some ways subtle, for even now they do not deny the living power of all the other gods. They do not tear down statues of the other gods, nor desecrate their shrine, nor even do they mock them and their servants. They accept that when merchants make the proper sacrifices to Mercopio while his priests intone the correct rites, that their business will indeed prosper. They understand that a soldier who prays to Myrmidia the night before a battle, then marches with like minded, prayerful soldiers, will indeed fare better on the field of bloody battle, with victory even more likely when their army is accompanied by Myrmidian priests. They know that even foreign gods can affect mortal lives should they choose to do so. None of this is denied by them, but they see these gods as lesser beings, their worldly manifestations as ultimately doomed.  All gods but Morr have become in their eyes mere demigods, little more than saints, for every god but Morr is diminished by their inherent mortality. Thus they have themselves left off the proper respect of all the lawful gods, merely praying to them to intercede in their worldly fate, while the only god they worship is Morr.

None of them seem to recognise the sin of pride in their attitude, which Morr ever frowns upon. None accept that Morr and his holy church command them to give unto all the lawful gods their due respect. None now accept the holy church’s teachings concerning the ordering of the universe, from the heavenly realm to our temporary abode. There is no balance to their faith. They have become like giddy fools at court who pour unwanted flattery at a wise king, who thrust titles upon him that he does not want nor rightfully possesses. They would serve up heaven as a feast to Morr and expect him gluttonously to devour it all.

If I were to be kind and forgiving I might say that the Pavonans’ faith simply burns too bright, but that would be to make them appear innocent and honest. No, they are vain and greedy: they wish Morr to be the only god, and they themselves to be his favoured children, equal unto the other gods because those same gods are no less mortal than they.

This is heresy.

Your humble and most obedient servant, Brother Callisto Valli of the Order of the Sorrowful Raven

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 26, 2014, 12:48:30 PM
Bad Timing, Bad Intelligence and Bad Behaviour.

Prologue, Part 2


Gurmliss had been frogmarched through the camp by two hulking orcs wielding viciously sharp choppas. Being forced to walk quicker than his short legs were accustomed to was not what annoyed him most, it was the jeering from every greenskin he passed. He was being treated like a coward - worse than that, like a coward who was about to receive his punishment. He had led his pathetic force against the Tileans, to test them, probe them, discover their strengths, their weaknesses, and had done so despite the fact that he had known full well his army would be defeated and furthermore that he himself would most likely be killed. He had done so because it would prove him to be no coward, instead he might possibly learn something useful, and at no real cost to Warboss Khurnag.

So it was he left the massacre and rode fast northwards to report the battle. Khurnag had listened, Gurmliss was thanked (!), and the Waagh had begun its march south. Either Khurnag actually relished the idea of fighting such a foe, or he wanted his warriors to think he did. Gurmliss suspected the former. Yet, now something had gone wrong. Perhaps a rival had persuaded Khurnag to change his mind about Gurmliss’ actions?

He arrived at the orcs boys’ encampment to discover quite a crowd had gathered (to watch the entertainment?). His two escorts prodded him forward into a ring of glowering orcs, most of whom were scraping their steel choppa blades together to emit an awful squealing and squeaking. It was not exactly a reassuring sound.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBatPrequelA_zps0368aa15.jpg)

Khurnag was there, garbed in heavy iron plates almost from head to toe, with two goblin scout bosses at his side. Gurmliss knew the goblins, and neither was what he would consider a friend: the first he had once bloodied in a squabble over a barrel of wine, the second he had once chased off from a Tilean’s corpse so that he himself could loot it. Khurnag was grinning, as usual, for his fangs were so large they forced his lips into that shape.

Warboss Khurnag clanged his war axe and choppa together to silence the boys, then narrowed his already small eyes as he fixed them on Gurmliss. “You said the gobbos are all dead,” growled the warboss. “You said they were blown to bits. You lied. They’ve been found, sittin' in Pavezzano just like we left ‘em.”

This was not one of the possibilities Gurmliss had expected. Not at all. It was an impossible nonsense, for a start, for he had witnessed both the goblins' march from Pavezzano and their subsequent massacre with his own eyes.

“Who says de gobbos is still alive?” he asked, trying hard not to sound afraid.

Khurnag thrust his choppa at one of the goblins next to him, causing the little fellow to jump back to avoid being sliced. Gurmliss laughed, praying that such apparent confidence must surely help turn the situation around. He looked the goblin scout boss in the eye.

“You saw Pavezzano, did you, with our gobbos in it?” he said. “Where? Where exactly?”

The scout boss scowled. “Not more’n four miles from ‘ere: gobs ‘n walls ‘n engines ‘n all.”

Gurmliss laughed. “That ain’t Pavezzano, not if it’s four miles away. Pavezzano is leagues an’ leagues aways – days an’ days to march. You saw summat else.”

Grunts and snorts now eminated from the orc boys gathered around. The scout master shouted his answer, trying to inject a tone of mockery into his words (but failing to completely to hide the fear). “So you sayin’ dere’s two forts filled wiv gobbos on dis 'ere coast? I don’t ‘member passing one when we came up norf.” He turned to his comrade, “D’you, Jabble?”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBatPrequelB_zps28f9ef64.jpg)

Jabble’s eyes went wide as he realised this meant he too had to speak in front of this rather unsympathetic crowd. “N .. no,” he stammered. “Dere’s no ovver fort. Just Pavezzano.”

The first goblin grinned. “See? One fort. Dat’s all dere is. It’s not me who’s lyin’ ‘ere, it’s you. You ran away from Pavezzano an’ made up de rest.”

Once again Gurmliss laughed, although this time with less feigned confidence. “It’s you who’s lyin’, an’ yer so thick you don’t even know yer doin’ it …”

Khurnag grunted, which immediately silenced the arguing gobbos. “We’s got to get to the bottom of this, ain’t we boys? What a riddle eh? Either there’s a whole other gobbo fort appeared out o’ the blue, or Pavezzano has up and jumped along the coast, or brave Gurmliss ‘ere can’t quite remember where he ran away from? I know which one I‘d lay monies on.” A growling laugh rippled around the circle of orcs. “Tell you what, ‘cos gobs is gobs an’ there all as useless as each other, I’m not gonna decide who’s right. Nah, I’ll send Gurmliss to the fort. If the naughty goblins there ain’t ours then they’ll likely kill him. An’ if it is Pavezzano, then they’ll kill him for running away. Can’t do better than that, eh? You’s got two options to take yer pick from, Gurmliss.”

As the rippling laughter re-doubled, Gurmliss stood with his arms crossed. The two orcs guarding him seemed disappointed – perhaps they were looking forward to cutting him up into pieces?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBatPrequelC_zps873e8ea0.jpg)

Battle report to follow …
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 28, 2014, 08:41:03 PM
Bad Timing, Bad Intelligence and Bad Behaviour.

The Battle, Part 1


Scenario Rules

Due to Khurnag’s careless assumption regarding the identity of the Greenskins at the fort, his Waagh is currently marching by in a long, drawn out column, with little thought given to battle readiness. Thus in the game, which begins as the first accurate report regarding the fort is delivered to Khurnag, his Waagh will make a staggered arrival on the battlefield. The Waagh list is divided into ‘Peripheral’ units (scouts, lighter, faster units) and ‘Main Battle Line’ units. The former are all labelled ‘A’, the latter ‘B’. The following table will be used to determine what arrives on Khurnag’s table edge at the start of each turns.


1st turn 2D3 ‘A’ units, chosen randomly
2nd turn 2D3 ‘A’ units, chosen randomly from those which were still off the field, of which D2 could be swapped for randomly chosen ‘B’ units if the player wished.
3rd turn onwards 2D3 units, randomly chosen from those remaining on either or both lists.

Characters (labelled ‘C’) can enter the field on their own by rolling 4+ and using up one of the 2D3 slots above. Or they can arrive with an appropriate unit that has already arrived if they roll a 3+ (again using up one of the unit slots).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Battle

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat2_zpseffb8400.jpg)

Gurmliss was not the only one from Warboss Khurnag’s greenskins who made their way to the fort. Several other riders had meandered in that direction as they made their general way south. He already knew he was right about the greenskins there, because moments ago a single wolf rider had hurtled past him screaming about enemies, no doubt hoping to turn the rest of the Waagh in this direction. Gurmliss’ chariot trundled along beside another, while he spotted the body of wolf riders from which the lone rider must have originated to his left – a little mob led by a particularly vile goblin named Clabtoe. A pump wagon, very likely just here by chance rather than design, was rolling along in a clackety fashion to his right.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat1_zpsb464aff0.jpg)

It seemed the enemy were already alerted, for they had formed into companies, crewed their engines, and lined the fence with missile troops. Gurmliss was not happy about the number of engines they had, especially the lines of muzzles, big and small, he could see resting on the rickety fence – cannon, swivel guns and hand guns. Guns were bad news for chariots. Guns behind fences were even worse.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat3_zps15e50b22.jpg)

The defences included several little redoubts, one of which had a small piece of artillery mounted at it (and a crewman who looked remarkably like Gurmliss – could be his twin brother!). Beside the cannon were some mean looking orcs with crossbows. Advancing on this foe was going to hurt, thought Gurmliss, at least it would for those unlucky enough to approach first. Once the Waagh came up properly and Khurnag’s warriors got over the fences, it would be quick, easy (and bloody) work, for the Waagh vastly outnumbered this petty tribe.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat4_zps28c4c2e0.jpg)

Yes, he decided, victory would surely be Khurnag’s, of that there was no doubt, but those who went in at the front would not be around to enjoy the spoils. There were even half a dozen brass swivels, crewed by orcs, right beside the only gate that Gurmliss could see – a gate so positioned that to enter he would have to ride right past them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat5_zpsc2dfdfd1.jpg)

The handguns were wielded by a ragged band of small goblins, off on the enemy’s left flank …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat6_zpsdf8f40af.jpg)

… while inside the fort were two larger bodies of fighters, one an orcen company, the other gobbos. The orcs looked like seafarers and for a moment Gurmliss wondered if these were the same orcs who had brought the vanguard of Khurnag’s Waagh over the Gulf from the Badlands, but that made no sense because most of them had been pressed into service in the Waagh, their boats and ships abandoned. Besides, why would those greenskins get themselves into a scrap with an army they knew to be vast?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat7_zps0d3bad97.jpg)

The largest enemy company, a mass of goblins, looked wilder than most goblins. They were armed to the teeth with every sort of weapon, but mostly pistols, boarding axes and cutlasses. They had to be pirates.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat8_zpse2bf7269.jpg)

A second artillery piece sat upon a fortified earthen mound above and behind the outer defences. It was much larger than the one down by the gate, having the look of a looted dwarfen piece. It was commanded by a cloaked orc whose head was enclosed in a battered, bloodied metal helm – likely from whoever it was he last butted in the face.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat9_zpsab98af3d.jpg)

Although it was hard to make out the details it looked like many of the greenskins inside the fort were engaged in an argument. No surprise there, Gurmliss thought. This day would go a lot better for him if the enemy was fatally divided. Yet as Clabtoe’s wolf riders began to close on the walls it became obvious that not all the enemy was bickering - the crossbows and gunners by the gate were busying themselves. When the cannon’s blast came it was loud enough to make Gurmliss’ wolf team jolt his chariot. The effect on the wolfriders was somewhat more serious, and combined with the flurry of iron-tipped bolts that issued from the crossbows, it caused the surviving wolf-riders to flee.

Gurmliss grinned. He had never liked Clabtoe so he did not feel bad it was him who was stung first. Glancing behind he now saw that the galloping goblin wolf rider had successfully summoned several companies of other riders from the Waagh. No less than Warlord Khurnag himself had arrived with his guard of Boar Riders, while Thagger’s Big Uns came up beside them. A boar chariot also trundled within view, as well as a goblin shaman whose name Gurmliss had never managed to pronounce (admittedly not having tried to do so often: ‘you’ or ‘him’ usually sufficed).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat11_zps67e705c5.jpg)

Khurnag was riding his giant boar Butter, whose oversized tusks were rivalled in the little herd only by the curved horns on Khurnag’s helmet. The warboss’s boar rider guard carried his personal standard, a pole adorned with the rotting skull from the minotaur Khurnag famously felled during the Battle of Foulmire.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat12_zpseed7aee5.jpg)

Thagger’s Big Uns thundered up on the flank, their heavy hooves making more noise than Khurnag’s Guard who had thrice their number. Their own ragged banner had once been the personal standard of the Badland’s Warboss Gravell the Red, who had been pushed from his wyvern mount by Khurnag, then skewered on Thagger’s spear. That was the day Khurnag had declared Thagger should command his own riders. Laughing, the warboss had added: “I don’t want to have to do all the batterin’ and bashin’ then ‘ave you stick yer spear in and spoil my fun before I’m done.”  (Thagger’s nickname amongst the Waagh’s goblins had been ‘Spoiler’ ever since).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat13_zps9a702601.jpg)

Now that Khurnag was on the field, most of those who had previously been milling about began to move more directly towards the foe, with Khurnag and his boar riders moving as fast as they could. Gurmliss himself, eager despite the gnawing fear in the pit of his stomach, to repair his reputation in Khurnag’s eyes, was right out in front, his hurtling chariot bouncing so much he had to grip with all his might.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat14_zpsb6a17a0c.jpg)

Meanwhile the arguments were apparently raging on inside the fort. The sharp retort of a handgun or two rang out and Gurmliss felt his throat tighten as he anticipated leadshot tearing through him, but the shots were aimed at targets within the fort! An orc fell screaming, then several others ran out to hack furiously at the handgunners, killing a good number. When the cannons boomed, once again making Gurmliss jump, they aimed not at him but at the boar riders, felling one; the crossbow orcs also chose not to trouble his chariot, instead bringing down another boar rider.

Behind the vanguard more regiments from the Waagh were arriving on the field, only to end up in an altercation with Clabtoe’s recently rallied wolf riders. Gurmliss learned later that Clabtoe had declared that he was leaving, saying that he did not come all this way to fight “orcs ‘n gobs” in a rickety fort with” likely no loot at all up for grabs”.  He came to kill men for gold and silver, not to squabble with greenskins like everyone did back home. The newly arrived troops were somewhat annoyed at this exhibition of truculence by the goblin boss, and took it upon themselves to convince (in a bloody manner) him and his riders to turn around. As the boss of the pike goblins put it, Clabtoe and his lads were going to attack the fort, and they were going to go first. What resulted was a messy squabble (not dissimilar to what Clabtoe had claimed he did not like about back home) which meant the newly arrived Ogres had to waste time marching perpendicular to the battle front just to get around the riot.

The fort’s defenders now did something that Gurmliss really did not expect – the goblin handgunners climbed the fence and ran out towards Khurnag’s Boar Rider Guard!

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat15_zps85e02db9.jpg)

Perhaps they were simply trying to get away their supposed allies within the fort, having lost five of their number to the orc pirate’s blows? Certainly their action was one they would have done if they had been in their right minds. Meanwhile the orc swivel gunners unleashed a volley of sangrannel, only to witness two of their own barrels shiver into pieces and kill gunners wielding them. When the intact guns failed to visibly harm any of Khurnag’s warriors Gurmliss assumed that their powder must be rotten. The three surviving orcs were momentarily stunned …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat16_zpsf5caed65.jpg)

… then frantically began stuffing powder and shot into their barrels.

(To continue …)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 04, 2014, 09:32:59 PM
While the pirate orcs loosed a sting of pistol shots, bringing down one of Khurnag’s boar boys, and a cannonball smashed the chariot behind Gurmliss’ own, more and more regiments from the Waagh were arriving at the field of battle: boar chariots, spear chukkas, a big regiment of boys (although not the Waagh’s largest) and the Waagh’s army standard bearer Big Boss Malkey the Fist.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat17_zpse44b90b7.jpg)

Not that many of these units made much headway, as the argument involving Clabtoe’s wolf riders and the pike goblins flared out to draw in several other bodies. Two orc boys died to goblin arrows, then two wolf riders died before they could escape the vengeful orcs’ wrath. At the real fighting front the Spoiler’s boar riders chased after the goblin handgunners who had run off after suddenly recognising  the utter insanity of their decision to leap the fence and head out on their own. Khurnag led his own much larger body of boar riders to charge the crossbow orcs at the little gate, losing one of his boys to a fall as they tried to negotiate the fence.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat18_zps61b56f0a.jpg)

The crossbow orcs were hacked apart quickly and efficiently, until only one remained …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat19_zps2d00b0e7.jpg)

… who then turned to flee, being chased down by Khurnag and his lads. Gurmliss watched as the orc war boss and his regiment of riders’ momentum carried them into the little wooden bastion containing the foremost cannon, where they set about the goblin crew and their bully with glee.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat20_zpscb10bc90.jpg)

A thunderous boom sent an iron roundshot over the boar rider’s heads to bounce across the field and tear an ogre leadbelcher in two, but Khurnag and his boys did not let it distract them as they tore the terrified cannon crew to pieces. Gurmliss was not the only one watching them, as inside the fort the goblin pirates stared with sick fascination (and some gut wrenching trepidation). They readied their ranks and files to face Khurnag as best they could, their shattered ship’s wheel standard held at their front.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat22_zpsdf924952.jpg)

More and more elements of the Waagh were arriving to add to the confusion and general milling about at the rear of the greenskins’ line. Another pump wagon trundled onto the field, as well as a large body of mercenary ogres.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat21_zps2909524e.jpg)

Growing more crazed by the minute, Clabtoe persisted in his disagreement with every other greenskin regiment around him, so that the ogres had to march around the growing riot up to where their recently battered cannon wielding comrades were.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat23_zpse12c26f6.jpg)

Undaunted by a flimsy fence, Khurnag led his boar riders in a charge against the goblin pirates and was himself bloodied in the thigh by a shiver of wood as his boar Butter crashed through the defences. Another boar rider fell to the goblins’ countershot, but when the riders hit they scattered the goblins and sent them hurtling away in panic. Unwilling to chase such a pathetic foe, Khurnag steadied his lads and ordered them to turn to face inside the fort. There they saw that Gurmliss had manoeuvred his chariot through the gate, while the last three enemy swivel gunners had destroyed the pump wagon.

Now the last of the foe were surrounded on two sides by Khurnag’s Waagh, and not only from outside their defences.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSBat24_zpsa84256bd.jpg)

Khurnag was about to bellow ‘Waagh!’ and charge in, when instead his boys began squabbling over the looted pistols they had taken from the fallen goblions. Still, there were others who were keen to get stuck in, including the Spoiler and his lads. The trouble was the fence and Scarback’s orcs proved a very nasty combination, and four of the Big Un boar riders were brought down. Gurmliss, seeing his chance to show Khurnag that he was made of the right stuff, charged alone into the swivel gunners (happy in the knowledge that they had had no time to reload) and killed all three of them). He held back, however, from charging the large regiment of orc pirates, for he wanted to go in when Khurnag did.

There was a momentary pause, the only movement being Sea Boss Scarback’s pirate orcs turning to face Khurnag, then with a cry of “Waagh!” in went Khurnag and his lads, joined by Gurmliss’ chariot. As they crashed in, Khurnag and Scarback found themselves locked in personal combat with each other, while all others stayed out of their way.
   
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GSvGSLastPic_zpsd3ef2715.jpg)

Sea Boss Scarback could not hurt the mighty warboss, but Khurnag’s huge cleaver bladed spear bloodied the orc pirate. The Boar Riders and their mighty mounts tore into many other pirate orcs, with Gurmliss’ chariot also cutting several down. Perhaps the pirate orcs regretted their lack of armour? More likely they just died cursing everything. Whatever the last thoughts of the dying, the still living broke and ran, only to be run down and ground into the dirt by chariot wheels and boars’ hooves.

The battle was ended. Sea Boss Scarback’s Greenskin Corsairs were no more. And still more regiments of the Waagh were arriving on the field!

(Note: Although this battle is described in a very story like manner, it was indeed a normal tabletop game with my mate Duncan and I staying up stupidly late in the Christmas holidays, drinking slightly too much beer (as we felt obliged to do), and getting the usual amount of rules wrong – but not caring. What might appear to be story driven arguments and actions in this account are all in truth retrofitted from the events on the tabletop: mostly due to me having to invent story reasons for ill-timed episodes of animosity. Interestingly, although I was worried about how to explain the silly level of animosity shown on both sides, at the time of writing it actually proved extraordinarily easy to come up with reasons for greenskins to fall out with each other!)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 09, 2014, 07:28:52 PM
I think the bandwidth problem with my photos may be a one off. It resets tomorrow - I didn't make it by 5 hours, now that's not bad. I'll see what happens next month and maybe upgrade if necessary.

Edit: And the images are back. Hurray!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 15, 2014, 06:38:56 PM
Crusade
(Prologue to a Battle)

Biagino watched as the army marched across the bridge at Pontremola to the northern bank of the River Tarano. The crusaders’ military commander, the condottieri general Urbano D’Alessio, had declared the land on the far side of the bridge to be the better place to make a stand. He did not say why (and why should any general worth his salt have to?) but Biagino and several other priests secretly agreed that the decision was most likely based on the fact that with a river behind them, spanned by only one bridge, the crusade’s peasant and militia soldiers would have more difficulty fleeing the field of battle. Whether or not this would consequently make them more likely to stand their ground the priests could not decide upon. The enemy force would be terrible, the battle more like a feverish nightmare than the waking hours of the day. Then again, thought Biagino, what battle is not a nightmare?

With little else to do right now but wait and watch, he found himself once again angry that Lord Adolfo had refused to support the crusade in any way beyond merely allowing them to exist. The lord of Viadaza was now sick abed, admittedly, but this was not the reason none his troops were present. He had never intended to send any soldiers, and now his rather convenient illness meant he had not even had to watch the crusaders’ departure from his city, nor give them any sort of blessing or ‘fare thee well’. The crusaders had paraded through the streets nevertheless, their maroon flags emblazoned with the raven-winged hourglass emblem of Morr, the crowds cheering, the marching men sombre and sober. One might well have expected Lord Adolfo’s soldiers to line the streets and patrol the walls and gates to ensure an orderly parade and exit. Instead they were either confined to barracks or guarding Lord Adolfo’s palazzo. When the crusaders had passed the palazzo gate, Biagino did glimpse a great number of guards, including even some soldiers with orcen blood, pallid skinned, red-eyed wild men bearing viciously curved scimitars. They had put him in mind of the recent nightmare in which he had been humbled by the cruel duchess. Since that night, Biagino could not think of Lord Adolfo without seeing his dream face, drooling, hideous, bestial in its brazen lust.

It was as if Lord Adolfo was expecting to be besieged, which was odd, considering how he had so consistently mocked the crusaders as nothing more than a rabble, entirely worthless as a military force. Yet here he was behaving as if they posed a real threat, mustering his guard in a sudden fit of timidity. At the time, Biagino had momentarily feared it might be part of some cunning plan in which the crusaders were to be divided, disarmed and dispersed. But he dismissed the idea as ridiculous. The truth was simple: Lord Adolfo wanted the crusaders gone. The crusaders knew it, and Lord Adolfo knew they knew it. Surely he had mustered a strong guard just in case the bad feeling bubbled up into rebellion.

Right now the militia pike regiment were crossing the bridge – or at least they would be if an overloaded cart had not become stuck at the northern end of the bridge.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeProloguePic1_zps13d1a7c2.jpg)

Biagino could not help but stare as two burly peasants pulled at the draught horses’ harnesses, while the great heap of sacks threatened to topple from the wagon to create an even more stubborn obstacle. The confusion was not helped by the fact that a handful of peasant militia had already begun constructing a short stretch of wooden fence to partially close off the bridge. While some of the labourers had indeed stopped working and joined Biagino in watching the struggle with the cart horses, two were still hauling stakes around – very likely what had spooked the horses in the first place.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeProloguePic3_zps18538ee3.jpg)

The pikemen stood with apparent patience, well drilled in their postures from years of weekend practise, their brace of drummers now sensibly silent. Many had mocked them as ‘rude militia’, as part-time, amateur soldiers who were ever ready in arms apart from during times of war, more fit for drinking songs and wrestling over who got to wear their few pieces of communally stored armour than for battle. Biagino, however, saw that whatever they had once been, they were now inspired by Morr. More than their patriotic duty, more than loyalty to their long familiar officers, more than an urge to protect their family and neighbours. Morr.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeProloguePic4_zpsa404d7ad.jpg)

The large regiment of crudely armed peasants, led by fierce Father Antonello, seemed truly to be keen for the fight. It was a resolve that would no doubt be tested when they stood before the foe. Presently proud of the fact that they wielded pitchforks and scythes, flails and axes, reckoning that their familiarity with such tools made them nimble in their use, their enthusiasm could well wane when the bony corpses of long dead warriors came at them without flesh to scythe or organs to pierce. To fight such monsters required an extra-ordinary sort of courage and discipline, not mere skill at farm labour. The pair of peasants now yanking with all their might to move the cart looked determined indeed, but what was a pair of stubborn, bucking horses compared to a shambling horde of horrors, stinking of the grave and driven by the mighty, death defying will of a vampire?

Just as this thought sent a now familiar chill through Biagino, the wagon lurched and the wheels began to turn. As it trundled slowly away, the pike regiment’s colonel was already issuing the command: “Prepare to march!”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeProloguePic2_zps4aec4ad8.jpg)

Biagino was left with a lingering doubt. If dumb animals and a wagon filled with grain sacks could halt the best regiment of foot they had, then was it utter foolishness to think they could drive back the vampire duke?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 22, 2014, 05:52:14 PM
We Shall Stand

They were to make their stand upon the northern side of the bridge at Pontremola. The old bridge had seen better days, but the damage was superficial and it was still strong enough to transport the Viadazzan crusading army across without incident. The two toll-towers were abandoned, the keepers had fled in fear along three months ago along with the Ebinans crossing to escape the clutches of the Vampire Duke. To the north the road was fairly well delineated with hedgerows, more than a mere highway of hardened earth as it had ancient stone foundations. It coursed northwards through the gently sloping, eastern hills of Usola.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle1_zpsb3bd9bdc.jpg)

For six full hours the Morrite crusaders stood in battle array awaiting the foe. Not one man succumbed to weariness, for it was not a hot day and each and every one of them was sufficiently nervous concerning the imminent battle to ensure churning stomachs, not a condition in which one might sit down to rest easy. The mercenary crossbowmen made a show of looking nonchalant about the situation, yet everyone could see that it was exactly that – a show, effortful and deliberate, and attempt to hide their true state of mind.

The Carroccio stood behind the main battle line, its huge silken standard snapping as the breeze tugged at it. Since the army had left Viadazza every citizen had assembled morning and night to pray around it, as if it were the kind of holy shrine that would draw a crowd of pilgrims. And so it should, for it bore the most revered and holy artefacts the Church of Morr in Viadazza possessed, including the bones of three saints and the hilt of the sword an almost forgotten hero had used to slay the first vampire to set foot in Tilea. Well, it was either the first, second or third – it depended who exactly you asked and where they were from.

The Crusaders’ right flank consisted of two regiments of horse, one heavy and the other light. The former, positioned forwards, consisted of what few nobility had accompanied the crusades – being garbed in full plate armour and riding barded destriers. The lighter horse were what remained of the Arrabbiati Brotherhood, led by Lord Totto himself, recently recovered from the wounds he had received during the battle to save the Duchess Maria. Next stood an antique ribaudequin which had been restored to (what was hoped to be) working order. The peasant militia, captained by Father Antonello, who had spent all last six hours tirelessly maintaining their spiritual frenzy, stood next in line, flanked by the equally large militia pikemen. It was amongst these colourfully attired militia that Biagino stood, nominally their captain. In truth he only commanded in the way that the Lector commanded the army - a militia captain actually gave all the military orders, at Biagino’s request, just as the condottieri general Urbano D’Alessio listened to the Lector’s suggestions and turned them into military orders as he saw fit. Yet now that battle was about to be fought, D’Alessio had begun behaving more like a captain than a general, taking personal command of the mounted knights, leaving Lector Bernado Ugolini in the traditional position for a general (in the rear at the centre). The Lector was accompanied by his bodyguard, each man bearing the feathered wings revealing their origins as descendants of mercenary Kislevites.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle2_zps28b541d2.jpg)

The second militia regiment stood next in line, the swordsmen, led by Father Gonzalvo. They were not so large as the pike regiment, but they made up for this deficiency in swagger. Then stood the mercenary crossbowmen, calmly refusing to span their bows until the enemy was in sight. Upon the bridge was the army’s only cannon, a bombard of a long abandoned design which had been inspected for flaws and cracks by each and every one of the crew nearly every day. They had yet to find any such thing, though the real test would come when they began to fire in anger, over and over, heating the barrel in a way that had not been done in decades. The army’s baggage was placed upon the southern side of the river, with several wagons on the bridge itself. Biagino had wondered if this were also part of General D’Alessio’s scheme to keep the crusaders from fleeing too readily.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle3_zpsffab3462.jpg)

Out on the far left flank stood one company of skirmishing seamen, with the third and last artillery piece – a mortar – placed behind them on the far side of the river. Many a crusader had prayed that the grenadoes lobbed by this piece would tear the enemy’s rotten corpses to pieces in great swathes. Biagino was hoping that the undead, deficient as they were in muscle and sinew, might be more easily dismembered than living men and thus more likely to fall to the mortar’s explosive ammunition.

The only other company in the crusade were the scouting seamen, who were not present in the battle line as they had moved off ahead of the army to outflank the Duke’s shambling horde.

Quote
Viadazan Crusaders Total = 2670 points
Army list created from Campaign Tilean List, itself a modified version of the Treachery & Greed Campaign list

Morrite Lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini
Warhorse, Horseman's mace, Light armour
Prophetic Book Bound spell Harmonic Convergence; Robe of Cathayan Silk Wearer generates one additional power dice; Sword of Might
Special rules: Righteous Fury; Grim Resolve.
Prayers of Morr (power level 4):
Holy Protection (augment): Lector of Morr and unit he is with have a 5+ ward against all wounds until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr decides when it is their time to die.)
Morr’s Caress (hex): range 24”, target unit suffers –1 T and –1 Str until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr moves them a little closer to death for a while).
Morr’s Stare (direct damage): range 12”. Target single individual model (even character in a unit). Caster and target roll D6 and add to Ld stat. If Lector wins, victim loses D2 wounds with no armour saves. (Morr passes judgement.)


Urbano D’Alessio, Condottiere General
Warhorse, barding full plate
Sword of anti-heroes; Charmed Shield;Talisman of Endurance
Mercenary skill: Hopelessly stubborn Character & his unit = stubborn

Three Priests of Morr: Biagino, Gonzalvo & Father Antonello
Special rules: Righteous Fury, Divine Power
Lesser Prayers of Morr (innate bound spells, power level 3)
Lesser Holy Protection (augment): Priest of Morr and unit he is with have a 6+ ward against all wounds until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr decides when it is their time to die.)
Morr’s Touch (hex): range 24”, target unit suffers –1 T until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr moves them a little closer to death, in undead weakening the necromantic magic holding them together, for a while).
Morr’s Glance (direct damage): range 12”. Target single individual model (even character in a unit). Caster and target roll D6 & add to Ld stat. If priest wins, victim takes a Str 4 wound, no armour saves. (Morr passes judgement.)


Biagino: Circlet of Burning Gold
Father Antonello: Ruby Ring of Ruin

Callistro Gallani, Condotta Captain
Artillerist

Carroccio
War Wagon & Army Battle Standard
Magic standard (Home-rules) = Standard of Morr All troops within range of its battle Standard effect are immune to Fear caused by the Undead(+85 pts)
Special rules: Stubborn, immune to psychology, large target. War Wagon: Chariot, with single profile. NO  'swiftstride' rule. Moves as monster, may not march or charge. May not pursue; flees only d6". May not enter difficult or very difficult terrain. May not cross obstacles. Immune to poison and killing blow.
Armed with 6 handguns, which may fire even if the war wagon moves. Usual penalty to hit for moving and firing applies. Handguns have a 360 degree line of sight. In combat, has no flanks or rear. Attacks are armour piercing - assume handgunners are shooting as the CC attacks. Cavalry, chariots or monsters (including ogre-sized models) charging a war wagon do not count as charging. They also suffer -1 to hit the war wagon in combat.


The Arrabiatti Brotherhood
Lord Totto Level 2 Wizard
Warhorse, Dispel Scroll, Seed of Rebirth
9 Border Horsemen
Full Command; Warhorse, short bow, Shields, light armour, Horseman's maces. +1 S, mounted models only Fast Cavalry

Lector’s Guard 5 Border Horsemen 
Warhorse, bows, shields, light armour, spears ; Full Command. Fast cavalry

36 Militia Pikemen
Light armor, pikes; Full Command

20 Condotta Marksmen
Light armor, crossbows; Full Command

15 Buccaneer Skirmishers
2 hand weapons; Skirmishers.

15 Buccaneer Scouts
Pistols; Skirmishers/Scouts.

25 Bravi 
Swords, shields; Full Command

7 Knights
Warhorse, shield, lances, barding, full plate; Full Command

35 Peasants
Full Command

Ribaudequin
Mortar
(Archaic) Great Cannon    
Range 48”, Str 8, Multiple Wnds D4

The Vampire Duke’s army was large, with four large bodies of foot soldiers moving over the hills, and plenty of even more monstrous horrors besides. Ahead of the army rode a little company of Hex Wraiths, their every motion unnatural and eerie as the gleaming bones of their mounts grated beneath fluttering robes that seemed not quite a part of this world.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle4_zpsc01ad1a5.jpg)

Behind them, on the far right flank of the undead line of battle, crept a large body of ghouls, then next in line a mass of skeleton warriors strode, momentarily disordered by their descent from the hilly ridge. A huge horde of zombies spilled through the gap in the hills where the road coursed, and beside them came more skeletons, these being heavily armoured and carrying blades that gleamed in a hellish green.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle5_zps9dd9c04a.jpg)

Six brutish horrors came next, horrible to behold, yet somehow less nightmarish than the Vampire Duke himself and his guard of Black Knights. Finally, upon the foul horde’s far left, atop a hill which now looked like little more than a tiny mound compared to the bulk of the creature upon it, was a Terrogheist. The monster’s wings folded and unfolded in mockery of life, as its head stooped low upon its long and bony neck to espy the foe before it.

In even his worst nightmares, Biagino had not imagined the foe as terrible as this. Suddenly the might of the crusade seemed to diminish, and as he glanced left and right the soldiers seemed now to turn from warriors into mere farmers and merchants, from inspired agents of Morr’s will to very mortal men, alone and trembling.

They could not win. The foe was too mighty, too monstrous, too many.

Then he heard Father Antonello singing. It was a solemn hymn to Morr, yet the defiance in his voice was very clear. It was not the sound of a fearful man trying to fool those around him into believing he was brave, but rather the voice of a man governed wholly by obedience to the god of death. Voices joined his, then more and more, until all three regiments were singing. When the bell on the carroccio began to ring in time to the hymn, Biagino felt Morr’s presence like he had never done before.

They could win. They would win. Morr willed it.

Battle to follow asap
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 27, 2014, 07:04:15 PM
Battle Part One

Behind the undead battle line the company of scouting seamen climbed a low ridge to see what there was to see. They could not help but stop, for the foe was arrayed so thick and numerous that the crusading army was barely visible beyond them. Still, the scouts had come here to do what could be done to slow down the enemy units on this flank, and so somewhat hesitantly they cocked their pistols quickly scrutinised the ground ahead to ascertain the best route forwards.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle6_zps688240b2.jpg)

The enemy wasted no time, for there was not a creature amongst them who could recall what it was to feel hesitation. The hex wraiths charged at the company of skirmishing sea men, sending them hurtling away to splash in the waters at the rivers’ edge. (Game note: It occurs to me now as I type that we had both forgotten vanguarding units cannot charge in the first turn. Oops! Still, the buccaneers got away.)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle7_zps1b6b9b9e.jpg)

On the far side of the field of battle the monstrously huge Terrorgheist flapped in a horribly graceful manner - for such a large and ragged beast - and came to land right before the mounted men at arms.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle8_zps2e4572bf.jpg)

The beast then began a pained and painful squealing, like a bird caught bloodily in a trap. Thinking it ugly enough, the men at arms had no idea what more the beast could  and would yet do with its scream. The rest of the undead horde shambled onwards, those closest to the Vampire Duke, the ones with the longest legs and those mounted  on bony horses given impetus by their proximity to him who had raised them, thus moving much further than the rest.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle9_zpscd751c3a.jpg)

An enormous body of zombies came on in the centre, their stench carrying for more than a mile downwind, their gait ungainly, their arms swinging loose as black nailed fingers clutched at the air in their ever present urge to tear flesh.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle10_zps3f991f12.jpg)

Biagino stood in the front rank of the Viadazan pikemen, happy to allow the beating of the two drummers to jolt the fearful thoughts from his mind. And there were a lot of such thoughts. Only moments before he had witnessed five corpses claw their way out of the ground in front of the crossbowmen, obviously summoned by the Vampire Duke to obscure the mercenaries’ line of fire. He could not help but wonder again that the crusaders had bitten off far more than they could chew, for the enemy was numerous enough to begin with, yet now even more were being raised to serve them.

Once again he glanced over at Father Antonello …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle11_zpsb7d360a7.jpg)

… and once again took solace from his reassuring presence. If anything, Father Antonello’s peasants were even more keen for the battle than the militiamen beside them – fair chomping at the bit to get at the foe. Then Biagino’s reverie was broken by the dying screams of two pikemen who had succumbed to some spell emanating from the Vampire Duke. He did not know it, but the Black Knights around the Duke suffered worse, as they lost three of their number to an uncontrolled spillage of magical energies from the Duke’s spell. As a few moments later the Black Riders returned, summoned back into the world by necromantic magic, no crusaders even noticed they had ever gone!

(Game Note: I didn’t notice at the time, but Daz’s two vampires both attempted to cast Invocation of Nehek, and the second one repaired the Black Knights. Of course, in normal rules the Duke could not cast another spell after his earlier miscast. Maybe there is some magical trait vampire’s can buy which allows them to do so? I have checked the VC book myself but I can’t find anything. I have a feeling we weren’t doing very well with the rules in this game!)

General D’Alessio now led his little company of armoured nobility in a charge against the Terrorgheist, their fear almost entirely washed away by the proximity of the carroccio and its inspiring collection of Morrite icons and relics. (Game Note: I write ‘almost’ because of course the monster’s terror was reduced to fear.) Only one knight managed to pierce the tip of his lance into the beast’s bony carapace, but it was enough both to visibly weaken the creature and bolster the other knights’ courage. With the crusader’s Morrite banner streaming above them, they fought on.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle12_zpse2b86234.jpg)

While they fought heroically, like mythical knights of old, against the monster, elsewhere bolts were loosed and ironshot fired. Two of the Ogre-like monsters fell to these missiles, and five Graveguard joined them in their second death.

Now, as the Hex Wraiths finished the job they had begun and chased the Buccaneers off the field of battle entirely, Duke Alessandro led his reformed Black Knights in a charge against the Viadazan noblemen with General D’Alessio.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle13_zpsf3554cc4.jpg)

Few amongst the crusaders could believe that the Vampire Duke was already engaged in combat, against their army general no less, and with a giant monster by his side.  Yet they steeled themselves, and the light horsemen of the Arrabiatti Brotherhood moved up to the spot vacated by the noblemen, so that the Crusaders’ line could stay sound.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle14_zps8fa5a3a8.jpg)

Just then the men of Viadaza were given an awful glimpse of what the enemy was capable of, for the Terrorgheist gave vent to another screeching wail, this time so overwhelmingly horrible as to take the life of five of the knights before it. As their metal-clad corpses slid from their saddles to clatter to the ground, the Vampire Duke laid about General D’Alessio furiously, raining blow after blow upon him, but the general’s full plate armour and the blessing of his holy talisman prevented each and every blow from wounding him. Obviously outmatched, and likely to die any moment, the general stubbornly refused to flee but fought on, accompanied by only one remaining guard, the standard bearer.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle15_zps5c0d5d28.jpg)

Aware that the Duke’s death was probably the only thing that could bring the Crusader’s victory, and knowing that General D’Alessio could not possibly hope to survive on his own, Father Antonello ordered his peasants to charge the flank of the Black Knights. Not wanting to be outdone by peasants, the Arrabiatti also charged into the Vampire Duke’s guard, so that now a huge fight was taking place on the far right of the Crusaders’ line.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle16_zps487248a2.jpg)

No less than a dozen more Graveguard were felled (including some who had already been re-re-animated) by a deadly combination of crossbows, cannon and mortar. And while these very worldly weapons were being employed, the priests were also praying for spiritual aid. In this way they blessed the peasants with the lesser form of Morr’s Protection, while the Lector used his prophetic book to cast the enchantment commonly known as Harmonic Convergence on the Arrabiatti. The priests knew both these units would need every bit of help they could get, for although they outnumbered and surrounded the foe, the enemy was both fearless and frightening, as well as better armed and armoured.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle18_zps2b27079d.jpg)

As the fight began, Biagino found himself very close to the enemy’s brute horrors:

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle19_zpse1273a7e.jpg)

When the militia sergeant ordered the pikes levelled, the monstrous foe did not exactly recoil, but it was obvious that somewhere in the tattered remnants of their consciousness they knew that to charge headlong into the serried rows of sharp steel tips would be foolish. So it was they halted, their heads stooped as they leered horribly at the Viadazans.

Somehow General D’Alessio's armour once again saved him from each and every one of the umpteen blows rained upon him by the Vampire Duke. (Game Note: For a second time, even at -3 to save, somehow I rolled all 5s & 6s!) Yet although the general’s armour saved him, he could not himself harm Duke Alessandro, for the vampire had beguiled him supernaturally, leaving him so befuddled that his own attempts to strike blows where easily parried by the wicked Duke. Nor could the Arrabiatti harm the foe, and - perhaps unsurprisingly - neither could the peasants (even though they had been filled with such confidence by the good priest leading them). Ignoring the peasants as if they were of no consequence at all, the foul creatures of the night mortally wounded six of the Arrabiatti, and their subsequent deaths were somewhat loud and disturbing. Lord Totto shouted most boldly to the last few that they should stand and “See this through”, and such was their high regard of their leader that they did indeed do so. But not so the peasants. Father Antonello was dumbfounded by his supposedly blessed warrior’s failure to even scratch the foe, and his momentary silence was enough to undo all the work he had done with his inspiring words. The peasants turned and fled, running right through Biagino’s pikemen and Gonzalvo’s swordsmen. Neither of the militia units broke, perhaps having always expected just such behaviour from the peasants, but the peasants burst out of the swordsmen’s left flank with the stunned Father Antonello still amongst them. For the first time in months he harboured doubts, his faith in Morr so shockingly tested.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle20_zps32a01f12.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 05, 2014, 08:55:57 PM
(Turns 3 and 4)

The green-bladed Grave Guards now charged the Viadazan swordsmen, their onslaught also catching some of the peasants and forcing them to redouble their efforts to flee. In so doing, the peasants now took the mercenary crossbowmen with them – both broken bodies running pell-mell towards the river, the dangerous depth of the waters momentarily forgotten in their urge to escape.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle21_zps2d3617ad.jpg)

Dark magics were summoned by both vampires, so that the Black Knights danced macabre, and the Grave Guard acquired a hellish vigour, but the joint efforts of the priests and Lord Totto ensured that none of the enemy dead were re-animated. The Terrorgheist unleashed another horrendous cry and the last of the Viadazan nobility tumbled from his saddle, his silken banner falling to be trodden into the mud by a taloned and bony claw. A moment later Lord Totto was brutally cut down by the Black Knight’s champion, and the very last of his shadowy brotherhood fell by his side, leaving General D’Alessio to fight on alone. Once again, although still magically befuddled by the vampire duke’s proximity, his armour and wards proved effective, saving the general from each and every blow. Even the Vampire Duke, his mind cold, cruel and not quite of this world, was beginning to feel frustration at this mere mortal who refused to die.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle23_zpsdeaec753.jpg)

(Game Note: We both failed to realise at the time that if a lone character is fighting a challenge then the fact that his base is corner to corner with a separate unit does not mean that unit remains caught up in that combat. So the Terrorgheist could have left this combat in the next turn. I’ll discuss below whether this would have had much of an effect on the game.)

The long line of shambling, undead foot soldiers continued its advance …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle22_zpsf831a12e.jpg)

… while the Grave Guard hewed down swordsman after swordsman, with the Duke’s vampiric captain (once a renowned mercenary from the Empire, now a monster with barely a trace of human thought remaining) gleefully hacked off the militia champion’s head, then joined his guard in their pursuit of the utterly broken Viadazans. The undead slaughtered every man who ran, and found themselves before the carroccio.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle24_zps69138fdd.jpg)

Their bestial commander, the tortured creature who now inhabited the twisted, living corpse of Captain Theobald, grinned with glee. Here was something he would enjoy tearing up as much as any mortal. He could feel the power emanating from it, the spirit of the god who hated the undead more than all others. He raised his black-clawed hand, gestured …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle25_zpsc3937b68.jpg)

… and barked his command. As one the Grave Guard hefted their massive blades and prepared to charge. 

Knowing only too well that to win this battle the vampire duke must be killed, and that the embattled General D’Alessio could not be expected to fight alone against such horrors, the Morrite Lector of Viadaza commanded his bodyguard of Kislevites to charge into the Black Knights’ flank. This they did without hesitation, for since their march from the city they had understood that in a war such as this their role could not remain merely ceremonial.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle26_zpsb021ab73.jpg)

Glimpsing the Lector’s charge, Biagino finally decided the time had come, and ordered the pikemen to charge into the horrors standing before them. Some of the fleeing Viadazans noticed these charges, as well as the fact that the enemy was still some distance away, and faced with almost certain death in the cold river waters decided that flight was perhaps not the best option after all. So it was that they rallied, reforming their ranks and files with the river immediately to their rear. 
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle27_zpsf4e01203.jpg)

The crew of the ribaudequin hefted their ancient war machine anti-clockwise so that it pointed at the Grave Guard, and after a brief moment’s hesitation during which one of the screamed at the Lector’s secretary to get out of the way ….

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle28_zpsa56ff478.jpg)

… they sent a hail of shot which felled three of the foe. Two more were shot down by the carroccio handgunners, while the cannon sent a ball through the rickety corpse cart and tore it to pieces, the damage so effective that it completely un-knitted the dark, magical forces holding the foul and stinking construction together.

Once again, now very obviously miraculous and surely certain proof that Morr was indeed present with the Crusaders, General D’Alessio’s armour withstood the torrent of blows rained down upon him by the vampire duke. (Game Note: all 5 wounds saved by armour or ward saves!) Urbano now managed to pierce his foe with his blade, so that corrupted blood bubbled from the wound, withering the grass wherever it spattered upon the ground. Three of the vampire dukes’ Black Knights were dispatched by the Kislevite riders, and such was the ferocity of the combat that all the remaining Black Knights now collapsed, as well as the Terrorgheist, leaving Duke Alessendro Sforta to fight alone.

(Game Note: If we had realised the Terrorgheist was no longer a part of the combat – see comment above – then it would not have perished, but there is every chance that the ribaudequin or a well placed spell would likely have removed its last few wounds. Perhaps one might say that the rules errors in favour of the undead earlier in the game balance this error in favour of the Viadazans. Neither me nor my opponent are bothered about this error, as we are aware it was a genuine mistake and there are always some such mistakes in our games.)

Biagino was caught up in a no less dangerous combat, and prayed that the Crusader’s hatred of the foe would spur them on to cause great harm. It was not to be, however, for despite the ferociousness of their efforts, all they could do was scratch the foe. (Game Note: 24+2 re-rollable attacks, results in 2 wounds!)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle30_zpsd0af47d3.jpg)

The enemy was not so unlucky, however, and tore into the pikemen so viciously that ten Viadazans fell to their attacks. Despite the awful damage dealt to them, the spirit of Morr was still with them and the Viadazans stood their ground. As they clutched tight at the pikes, leaning upon each other in an attempt to counteract the tremendous weight of the foe, behind them the surviving Grave Guard now smashed into the carroccio.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle31_zpsd8bdb31d.jpg)

The vampire Theobald screeched with glee as he and his guard hacked at the wagon and its crew, ripping both apart.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle35_zps42655fe1.jpg)

Clambering up the side, tearing a terrified crewman right out of the upper platform and hurling him into the Grave Guards below, Theobald yanked the Crusaders’ army standard from its bracket and threw that down on top of the now dismembered crewman. (Game Note: Now no 18” Ld re-roll, and no 18” fear immunity for the Crusaders!)

The vampire duke’s right wing, a veritable sea of nightmarish foot soldiers shambled onwards, slowly but surely closing the gap between themselves and the enemy.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle33_zpscfe1910b.jpg)

The gunner and matrosses manning the cannon on the bridge might have become worried about the massed regiments’ proximity, had they not been at that moment on the receiving end of a charge by the hellish Hex Wraiths.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle32_zps2b21093c.jpg)

Needless to say the gun crew stood no chance and all were butchered. The wraiths then burst out from the other side of the bridge, galloping over the river waters as if on solid ground; their ghostly, unnatural hooves barely splashing as they moved.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle34_zps35914758.jpg)

Clambering over the splintered wreckage of the carroccio, the vampire Captain Theobald led his Grave Guard in a charge against the recently rallied peasants. Considering how the peasants had so far behaved, and how bloodily effective the Grave Guard had been despite being greatly diminished by missile fire, and with the mobile Shrine to Morr (which had until now been the focus of any confidence the peasants possessed) having been completely desecrated, it was obvious that they could not possibly hope to stand. Yet for the briefest moment it looked like they had a chance, for they certainly had numbers on their side.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle36_zpsd6541f11.jpg)

Biagino and the pikemen once again suffered horrendous casualties, beaten by bone clubs bigger than themselves …
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle37_zps2936a4f1.jpg)
 
… yet still they stood their ground. (Game Note: Passing their now non-re-rollable Break test at 5 or less!) Biagino himself could do little more than pray, the shafts of the pikes close around him so far protecting him from harm.

On the far right of the Crusaders’ line the desperate fight against the vampire duke himself continued …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle29_zpsfe2c5300.jpg)

… with General D’Alessio’s battered and bent armour once again preventing the duke’s blade from penetrating his flesh. The general himself was now barely able to wield his own blade, as he had finally succumbed to fear – the fight had been impossibly long, the foe so nightmarish, that it was all he could do to stay mounted as the blows repeatedly rang against his steel armour. Lector Bernado could see what a state he was in, and so read from his prophetic book to cast the spell Harmonic Convergence on the general. The Lector also tried to inflict Morr’s Stare on the vampire duke, but Alessandro’s wicked magics brushed that spell aside. It was enough, however, to distract the vampire, and now suddenly General D’Alessio regained his courage and snapped out of the magical beguilement that had until now held him in its grip.

The fight between them seemed to blaze anew, as both thrust and parried, hacked and twisted. And still the General’s armour could not be pierced (Note: once again, unbelievably, he saved against 4 wounds!) Although neither could harm the other, all the while Duke Allessandro’s grip on undeath had been weakening – surrounded by foes, outnumbered, alone – so that now, to the utter amazement of those fighting him, he slumped forwards in his saddle, his head lolling to bash against his mount’s skull. Then, with an anguished cry, he fell to the ground as the beast carrying him collapsed into nothing more than a pile of bones. As General D’Alessio let his aching sword arm drop to his side, his tears hidden by his dented helm, the Kislevites thrust their long spears one after the other, over and over, into the vampire duke’s now still corpse.

Duke Alessandro Sforta was dead. Not merely unliving, but truly and completely dead. 

In that moment the necromantic force holding the entire undead army in this realm was greatly weakened, and like a wave washing across a beach, the diminishment in its power spread across the field to affect body after body of undead soldiers. Two of the Crypt Horrors fighting Biagino and the militia pikemen collapsed, as did half a dozen zombies, even more skeletons, and four of the Grave Guard. All five Hex Wraith’s simply vanished.

(Game Note: End of Turn 4. End of game.)

No one cheered. The Lector, his guards and General D’Alessio were simply too exhausted, while all the rest were still embroiled in combat and could not yet know what had happened. But the vampire Theobald knew full well what had happened – he felt his sire’s death to the core of his being. Grimacing (as if his face was not ugly enough already) he refused to allow the anguished cry building inside him to be released. Instead he turned and ran. This was no frantic, scrambling flight, but a purposeful and controlled reaction. As he ran he commanded all those he could to fall back, using every bit of magic he could summon to hold them in this world.

Where he was going, what he intended to do, only he knew.

Over where the foul remains of the vampire duke lay corrupting the soil beneath them, the Lector and General D’Alessio were discussing their next move. After what they had done they had no fear of what was happening behind them – a crumbling (if still massive) force of zombies and ghouls seemed of little consequence compared to the foe they had faced and beaten.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeBattle38_zps934f26a7.jpg)

Before long the orders were given and the surviving Crusaders were falling back southwards over the bridge. To some, pushing on against the defeated foe might seem the most desirable course, but the Lector and General D’Alessio knew their men were exhausted, and that a powerful vampire commanded what was still a sizeable enemy force. The enemy was not tired – it no longer suffered such mortal complaints. The enemy was not afraid, for no trace of emotion was left to them. Besides, the important work had been done. The vampire duke was dead, his army in retreat. Now there was surely time to regroup, recuperate, recruit and then return to complete what they had so effectively begun. 
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: iamtheeviltwin on March 06, 2014, 04:08:24 PM
What a great write-up.  I really love the narrative campaign and battle reports that you are putting together.  (It should tell you how effective they are that I was really worried for the life of poor Brother Biagino)...
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 06, 2014, 04:24:17 PM
Thanks for saying so, evil twin. It helps to know I am still on the right track and that someone is still reading with something like enthusiasm. There's a lot going on in the campaign right now, two more battles to arrange (delayed only by the busy lives of me and my players), and I am always working on future story pieces. Once we get the first battle done I can do the end of season phase, which should have a number of illustrated stories in it like last time. 
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 19, 2014, 08:03:03 PM
General Report, End of Autumn IC 2401, Part 1

The Viadazan Terror

Biagino was met by the Lector’s secretary as soon as he returned to the camp, to be told he was summoned to an audience with the Lector. He had been out with a small company of militia scouring the land for supplies, there encountering two Viadazans so terrified that they could barely explain themselves. They spoke, incoherently, of the fall of Viadaza, and of the dead rising to kill the living. In truth, their vocabulary was inadequate to describe the horrors they had witnessed. At the time Biagino had prayed that they were simply fooled by circumstances, and were describing events in a village, a nightmarish encounter with a scouting company from the vampire duke’s army, or maybe just repeating what some mad prophet had dreamt. Yet as soon as Biagino saw the secretary’s face he knew that the two peasants had, in their own broken way, told the truth.

The secretary was mounted, and Biagino was forced to walk quickly to keep up with him and so hear his words. “They say the enemy are everywhere – I mean all over the city. There’s no safe place left. Some of the palazzos may have kept them out, but who knows? The undead cannot get in, and those inside can’t come out. There may be one palazzo still held by the living, perhaps more. As for the rest of the city, it seems every ward and quarter has been taken, with the undead roaming in large companies, killing everyone they can find.”

Biagino could barely take it in. The crusaders had killed the vampire duke, at great cost to themselves. They had served Morr bravely in the face of a truly nightmarish foe. They had watched the remaining undead scuttling back northwards. And still Viadaza had fallen. “What of Lord Adolfo’s men?” he asked. “Did they not attempt to defend the city?”

The secretary waved his hand dismissively. “Lord Adolfo’s men where nowhere to be seen, not alive anyway. If they did make a stand, no-one witnessed it. There was no battle like that we fought, apparently not even any defence of the walls and gates. Some amongst the walking dead looked like his marines; there were even some brutes who might once have been his ogres. But as to where Adolfo’s living men are, no-one can say.”

“How can an entire army disappear? How?” Demanded Biagino. “Did they leave the city? Did Adolfo flee south and take them with him? But no - I can’t see how he could possibly do that yet not be seen. What reports of Lord Adolfo? Is he still alive?”

“I reckon there has been some great act of treachery,” said the secretary. “Several people reported Lord Adolfo’s assassination; one told of a monstrous fiend roaming the corridors of the grand palazzo. Maybe the soldiers were lured away, or poisoned, or otherwise duped into their own destruction? The fleet has certainly fled – the hurried departure of nearly every ship in the harbour seems to have been one of the first signs that something was amiss. Maybe the threat came from the sea, and so the sailors saw it for what it was first? One old fellow described a cabal of necromancers leading the uprising, both the raising of the dead and their capture of the city. Another told us that saboteurs led the dead in, and dug the dead up. The Lector has insisted on hearing each and every account. I believe it to be an act of penance for leaving the city.”

“No-one could fault him for leading our crusade. He did what he must do.” Biagino had been wearing a frown throughout the conversation, and now his furrowed brow felt locked in place, his head aching as a consequence. “Maybe what had happened was meant to coincide with the vampire duke’s advance on the city? And it would have done, more or less, if we hadn’t stopped him crossing the river.”

The secretary pondered a while, then spoke. “Whatever the original intention, the living dead have succeeded in taking the city, even without the duke.”

They had arrived at the Lector’s tent, where their spiritual leader was still questioning a series of witnesses who had fled the city. Before him was a bedraggled fellow, who at first sight might be taken for a country vagabond, but his rags were the remnants of city fashions and his beard had recently been trimmed in the style of the swaggering city watch. The Lector was standing, which was unusual for such a situation as this. One would expect him to be seated upon a throne, while those being examined or bringing petitions humbly stood before him. It was immediately obvious, however, that the Lector was simply too agitated to sit. He was pacing back and forth, and at this moment asking a question.

“Where did they come from?”

The raggedy man’s head twitched and Biagino caught sight of his eyes – wide and staring, as if he was still witnessing some horror right now. “Some came from the sea, my lord.”

“In boats? Ships?”

“Some, yes. I saw one rise up from the water itself, to drag itself up onto the wharf. The rope he’d been hanged with still around his neck, his belly bloated.”

“But the rest, the ones from the ships?”

“They did not sail into the harbour, but came from ships that had been docked a while. There was fighting aboard – I heard the shots, the shouting. Then a while later, they came. More came from the Sea Garden, and those hanging at the shore line were cut loose by the others.”

“Surely the guards and marines were ordered against them?”

“I don’t know. There was fighting aplenty, but I don’t know anything about orders. The dead seemed to know what they were doing. They looked to arm themselves, each and every one, and they gathered in strength by the Sea gate. Then they swarmed through into the city itself.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Zombies1_zps10bce266.jpg)

“And then?” asked the Lector.

“I know not, my lord. That’s when I left.”

The Lector waved the man away without even looking at him, and another witness was brought before him, this time a young woman. Her skirts were so filthy she looked to have waded through a mire. Of course she had, thought Biagino. What would one not be willing to suffer to escape the clutches of an army of walking corpses?

“My lord, this girl is from the eastern quarter,” said the priest who had ushered her forward, “She saw a pack of ghouls.”

“Ghouls,” repeated the Lector, spitting the word out. “Where exactly did you see them?”

The girl did not hesitate. “I saw them first in the graveyard on the Colle Orientale, my lord. I can see it from my chamber window. Later, when I ran away, they were everywhere. Everyone was screaming, men and boys were fighting, dying, then … then fighting again. If everyone hadn’t been fighting, the creatures would have seen me.”

She spoke quickly, almost keenly, perhaps needing hoping to expunge some of the horror by reporting what she had seen. It was obvious to Biagino that the Lector had not heard her last words, but was instead mulling his next questions. “What exactly did you see? Who commanded them?”

“The ones I saw in the Garden of Morr were half naked, horrible. They had pale flesh, black lips, sharp teeth, and were dressed only in rags. No-one commanded them, my lord. Like a pack of savage dogs they were, not soldiers, not men. When they came to the garden there was no one to stop them. More and more came, clambering over the walls …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ghouls1_zpsd2041356.jpg)

… until the garden swarmed with them. They tore at the gates, at the doors of the crypts. They wanted the corpses. I watched them.” Here she hesitated for a moment. “Just watched - too afraid to leave my house. It wasn’t only me. I think everyone was, at first anyway. When they’d dragged out all the bones they could find in the crypts, they set about the graves. I swear I saw a hand reach up out of the soil, and one of them fiends ran over to it to tug at it.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ghouls3_zps978929af.jpg)

“Others scratched at the soil, digging with their hands until they could pull the coffins up and out. Bent and twisted they might have been, but either they were awful strong or some enchantment lay on the ground. It seemed to part for them, as if it wanted to yield its crop of bones. Then … it was hard to look but I could not turn away … they chewed on the bones. I could hear them sucking out the rotten marrow. Other corpses came out of the ground moving of their own accord, the worms still feasting on their corrupted flesh, and these they allowed to walk away.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ghouls2_zps7af45288.jpg)

“Still other grisly remains they piled up in one corner, snarling and snatching at each other as they did so.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Ghouls4_zps6cac0b92.jpg)

“The stench was horrid, my lord. The whole city smells like that now. You’ll know it if the wind changes.”

The Lector’s face registered disgust. Perhaps, thought Biagino, he remembers the foul miasma we all breathed in the battle? The girl was led away to be replaced by yet another refugee, an old, bent, grey-bearded man, who must surely have been helped to leave the city for it was plain he could not have run away himself.

“This man saw that which came from the crypts,” the priest by his side announced.

“Which crypts?” asked the Lector. He looked doubtful and Biagino knew why. The city’s ancient crypts were protected by powerful wards - locked by decades of prayer so that Morr’s hand alone held the key.

The old man coughed to clear his throat – a rather long business that might have annoyed or bemused those present were they not so concerned to hear what he had to say. Finally he spoke. “’Twas the old crypt by Le Panche, my lord. My companions left me near there while they searched to find a safe passage for us all.”

“Le Panche?” said the Lector. “So, not within the city bounds. Go on.”

The old man coughed again, not taking so long this time. “I heard a clattering from inside and thought to look through the bars. My eyes are not what they used to be, though, my lord, so I couldn’t see much. Then there it was, in the deepest of shadows - a face.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Skels2_zps0ac10532.jpg)

“It seemed like a statue, except that it was looking at me. Well, the bars were iron – good and strong – so I was not afraid, and I wanted a better look. My companions had left a lantern hanging from the branch of a tree so that they could more easily find me again. So I took it and shined the light down the steps.”

He stopped, as if he were merely telling a bed time story to a child, and intending to create suspense. Once again, no-one complained, they merely wanted to know what he saw and cared not a jot how he told them.

“Then I saw them. Three there were and not statues but bones. The foremost wore a helm and held a shield before him, his lower jaw gone, his upper resting on the rim of his shield. The one behind carried a staff and made as if to shout at me. Of course, there was no sound. The third I couldn’t really see that well, and nor did I want to. I left them there, behind the bars, and I pray to Morr, my lord, that they are still there.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Skels1_zps2d90ebf5.jpg)

Biagino had heard enough. Ghouls, zombies, skeletons: it was the Battle of Pontremola all over again, but this time engulfing Viadaza, and the undead had won. He felt sick. It was not fear that made him so, however, but frustration and doubt. Had he not done all he could to serve both Morr and Tilea? He had raised an army and fought a mighty foe. Yet all for nothing, for now the undead were both north and south of them, and the army was broken and dispersed. He had lost his home, the Ebinans had lost theirs, and now the Viadazans too. Would the whole of Tilea succumb to this wickedness? Had Morr given them victory, hard won as it was, only to abandon them now?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Fidelis von Sigmaringen on March 19, 2014, 08:16:29 PM
Very well done. Picture 6 is very dark, though - at least a real inkling of a face would be nice.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 19, 2014, 08:38:50 PM
I'm sure there is at least an inkling of a face there - it had to be just not quite visible but definitely something there, for that was what the character described. Besides - Picture 7 is exactly the same set up as Pic 6 but with my mobile phone torch shined into the corridor! :icon_biggrin:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 20, 2014, 09:41:14 AM
I may be the first to ask, but I'd really like a painting tutorial.

I never answered this before, mainly because I was too embarrassed to write how very, very simply my technique is: Using enamels - paint black undercoat, leave several days to dry thoroughly, then paint cells of colour on (leaving black outline around everything), then lighten some of the colours and add a touch of the lighter shade here and there. Last, tidy up any black lines that got splodged with paint.

That's all there is to it - the only other major technique I use is doing big batches of figures - 40 belts, 40 shoes, 40 blades - etc. I've not changed my painting method in 26 years!!!!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Fidelis von Sigmaringen on March 20, 2014, 09:49:49 AM
The last episode reminds me a bit of the Graveyard in the Witcher.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 20, 2014, 09:58:07 AM
I am ashamed to admit ignorance of 'The Witcher'. I shall begin a quick google hunt now and see if it is film, book or comic. Or something else?

Edit: Oh, never thought of that. It's a computer game. I've never been a player of video games (well, I used to play Defender in the 80s). My boys are growing up, though, so soon I will surely be dragged kicking and screaming into awareness of that particular aspect of modern life.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 30, 2014, 07:44:31 PM
General Report, End of Autumn IC 2401, Part 2

Is it Done?
Late Autumn in the City of Trantio, Central Tilea

It was perhaps true that any other Tilean ruler would by now have been raging about the state of affairs, shouting in frustration at his council, complaining at the dishonesty, laziness or cowardice of mercenaries. Not Prince Girenzo of Trantio, however. His demeanour never seemed to alter, and only the fact that he had been enquiring up to four times every day for news revealed how the matter weighed upon his mind. The condotta mercenaries of the Compagnia del Sole had had all the time they needed to strike at Pavona, indeed time enough to have returned laden with loot. Yet they were still out there, skirting around the realm of Pavona like a scavenging fox looking for a cunning opportunity to strike without risk to itself. Every report they sent to the prince gave a different excuse. First there was the threat of the Pavonan army, reckoned to be far greater in strength than the Compagnia. Then there was trouble with moving the artillery. Then it was camp fever and the flux. Eventually, news came that they were at last to strike at the newly developed settlement in Venafro just east of the conquered city of Astiano. Since then, nothing. That is until now.

The prince was mounted and armoured, engaged in military exercises with his gentlemen in the open field to the east of the city. It was a bright, blue sky day and he and his knights, bedecked as they were in plumes and their elaborately fluted armour, atop brightly barded horses, looked as if they had stepped out of the pages of a book of heroic tales. A little body of noblemen and officers, the prince’s ever present councillors, stood chatting to one side, for the most part clad in the traditional burgundy and green of Trantio.

Upon sight of an approaching party, the prince had halted, ordering his men-at-arms to form a rank. He removed his impressively plumed helmet and watched as one man stepped forwards from the rest of the newly arrived company, a Compagnia del Sole captain called Duilio Citti who had brought the first set of excuses to be presented to the Duke over six weeks ago. The captain bowed, apparently a dab hand at that particular courtly etiquette, and then awaited the prince’s command.

“Do not tarry, but say what you have come to say,” the prince ordered in his quiet, clipped voice. Whether a felon was being dragged before him for judgement or a newly acquired horse was being led in for his inspection, the voice was always the same.

“Your grace, I bring better news this time. The Compagnia is victorious. Venafro is laid waste and a good deal of loot taken. The Pavonan army was outmanoeuvred and failed to catch us.”

The prince did not respond immediately – it was not his way to rush. Like the others there, Captain Citti simply waited. Silence fell, interrupted only by the snorting of one horse and the pawing of another’s hooves at the dirt.

The captain wore a travelling cloak of soft leather over his blue and red tunic and hose. His own cap sported yellow and white feathers - the colours of the Compagnia’s Myrmidian emblem. The little company behind him, also garbed in blue and red accentuated with white and yellow, looked grimy and tired. Some had removed their helmets like peasants might remove their caps in front of their betters, but in the mercenaries’ case, they did so only for comfort. Indeed it would normally be considered inappropriate for soldiers to doff their headgear in the presence of officers, or to adopt such a lazy posture. Veteran mercenaries, however, went by different rules.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GirenzoTrantio1_zps52239b68.jpg)

“How far behind you are they?” asked the prince.

Captain Citti looked a little confused, as if he did not at first understand the question. “Your Grace, the Compagnia is not yet returning. They have laid siege to Astiano, that they might further harm Pavona.”

Prince Girenzo’s own captain, Sir Gino Saltaramenda, laughed. “So now, all of a sudden, the Compagnia has found courage?”

Captain Citti directed his answer to the prince, “We seek only to satisfy the terms of our contract, your grace, and to obey our orders.”

“You seek only to enrich yourselves,” said the prince, “which you can do best by not only being paid but taking a share of an even bigger haul of loot. I take it, then, that the Pavonan army are far removed, otherwise I doubt you would tarry so.”

“I know not exactly where the enemy is, but General Fortebraccio seemed satisfied that the risk was well worth taking. He does not intend to stay long at Astiano.”

“How so?” demanded the prince. “It is a walled town, is it not? Sieges take time.”

“It is walled, your grace, but there is little garrison to speak of, and they were previously conquered quickly and easily by the Pavonans.”

Again Sir Gino laughed. “The Pavonans were no doubt willing to take casualties, which is why they carried the day in a storm. I very much doubt your own soldiers would wish to climb ladders as their comrades fell on all sides to lie heaped and dying in the ditches below.”

The mercenary captain flashed a defiant look at Sir Gino, giving a glimpse, perhaps, of just what he was capable of. A man such as he, a veteran condottiere soldier, had most likely been through hell several times over, and himself created hell for others as often. “The Compagnia’s fighting reputation is unblemished these past ten years. Myrmidia’s blessing is ever upon us. We fight when it proves necessary.”

“And will it?” asked the prince. “Will it ‘prove necessary’?”

“No, your grace. General Fortebraccio and his army council believe we can quickly extract a heavy fine from the Astianans. Once that is obtained, we can leave.”

“Let’s hope the people of Astiano do not realise you don’t actually intend to attack,” said Sir Gino.

“And let us hope that the Pavonan army does not arrive in time to catch you,” added the prince. “For then I would lose the fine, the Compagnia and the plunder already taken.”

Captain Citti smiled, then gestured lazily to one of the men in the company behind him. “Sergino, the list.” A young man, unarmoured but sporting the Compagnia’s livery and girded with a heavy blade, strode forwards with a rolled paper in his hand. The captain continued, “This is a complete list of the plunder taken from Venafro, your grace.”

Prince Girenzo fixed his eyes upon Captain Citti. “We shall see, shall we not, when my agents inventory your baggage train, just how complete it is.”

Sergino walked towards the prince himself, eliciting smirks from the mercenaries and annoyed looks from the Trantian councillors. He proffered the paper but Prince Girenzo ignored him.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GirenzoTrantio2_zps00e90e59.jpg)

One of the councillors stepped forwards and coughed to catch Sergino's attention, then beckoned him over with his finger.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on April 17, 2014, 05:53:52 PM
A History of Tilea

Feeling guilty about not putting the historical background I gave to the players of this campaign into this thread, I have now done so.

You may simply want to read the stories as they come out (which is what I thought originally would be the best way to do this thread), but some of you might well want to get a better understanding of all of this, and the history of the region is a good way to do so. Also, I think I have a new player joining the campaign (replacing an inactive one) and thought it would be better to have all of this stuff chronologically placed in one thread, so that he can get up to speed more easily.

Due to character limits, I have slotted the history into three earlier posts, shifting some other things around. I have added some photographs and maps from the previous campaign which are directly relevant to the historical account.

Please see

http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=46787.msg835246#msg835246

and the subsequent two posts

http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=46787.msg835313#msg835313
and
http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=46787.msg836195#msg836195)

for the history.

Next up, later tonight, an account of religion in the human realms of Tilea. This will be lifted from an earlier piece in a previous campaign. Then, over the next few days, a new battle report is due, which I am working on right now.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on April 17, 2014, 07:06:11 PM
Playing catch up again ...

Loved the orc & goblin forts!

Where'd that bridge come from?  And the towers on either side?

Great read on the history, too!

 :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on April 17, 2014, 07:10:04 PM
Thanks GP. I am glad I put the history piece in now.

The fort was made from coffee stirrer sticks. Always grab a handful, not one!

The bridge is a 1970's 1:32 scale (i.e. 54 mm) WW2 Airfix model, and the towers are 1970's Timpo knights castle towers. The lesson to be learned here: never throw anything away!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on April 17, 2014, 08:25:40 PM
A Short Treatise on Religion in Tilea by Master Lamberto Petruzzi of Astiano, Presented to his Grace Duke Guidobaldo Gondi of Pavona in the Summer of IC 2401. May the glory of Morr shine wisdom into the hearts of all good men.

Adapted with corrections from the work of the Empire scholar Uther von Gelburg
 
No less than any of the human realms, the worship of the lawful gods plays a part in almost every Tilean’s life. Public and private beliefs cultivate a healthy fear of the immortal deities, bolstered by tradition, law and the powerful authority of churchmen, both spiritual and worldly, and not least the mysterious workings of the gods themselves. The world of men is so ordered that each has his place in the great scheme of things, authority stems from the gods down to princes and the highest clergy, then to noblemen of all ranks, further to gentlemen and priests of all degrees, to citizens and merchants, and finally reaches common labourers and peasants. Each bows only to the powers above them. As the gods hold council, presided by he who will one day rule them all, so too great princes must treat with other princes, clergy with clergy, nobles with nobles, and so on amongst peers downwards through creation.

But the exercise of faith does not always yield peace and harmony, for it has so often been expressed in conflicting ways. Noble priests conduct high ceremonies in the grandest temples accompanied by serene hymns, yet outside ranting preachers stir the common people’s fears with apocalyptic warnings to conjure dire visions and elicit the much less musical sound of frightened wailing. Our realm also boasts numerous, humble, godly folk who only quietly complain about nepotistic priests, and ascetic hermits whose lives contrast starkly with the wayward ways of hedonistic clerics. And as the wildest men of faith openly bare the scars of their self-scourging, the most gentle simply give offerings so that priests may pray for their souls, and the rich gift gold to build temples and so ensure their names are ever after remembered.
 
The three most influential churches remain those of Morr, Myrmidia and Mercopio – commonly know as ‘the Three’. When, upon rare occasions, an edict is jointly issued by the rulers of these churches, it is sealed with the symbol ‘MMM’. But of course the most favoured church in Tilea is rightfully that of Morr. It came to prominence a little over an hundred and fifty years ago, when Morr was finally recognised by all truly enlightened Tileans as outranking every other god. It was then, and is now, accepted that as all mortal things must die, and as Morr rules over death, he should therefore be the most respected and feared of all the deities. Furthermore, as the other gods rule over mortals, all of whom will ultimately yield their souls into the Morr’s care, then the gods themselves surely recognise his supernatural authority over even them.

It is Morr who must be placated if one’s soul is not to suffer eternal torments in the afterlife. Those who, by neglect or wilfulness, fall out of favour with him are doomed to become troubled spirits - sorrowful, fragmented souls dwelling in the shadows of the darkest nights. Or worse, they might be resurrected by wicked practitioners of the black arts as walking corpses, forced to un-live a fate most definitely worse than death. So it is that the church of Morr has always been gifted the greatest bequests and offerings, its holy ceremonies attended by the greatest crowds. Wealth begets wealth, for as the church acquires land so to it acquires rental income; as it acquires gold, so too can it invest in enterprises to yield ever more gold. Now its ornate edifices tower above those of other temples and churches, its priests are adorned more richly, and its influence in worldly affairs is much more widely felt than that of any other church. All as it should be for the greater glory of Morr.
 
The Tilean church of Morr no longer concerns itself solely with funerary rites as it did in the distant past and still does in the northern realms of the Old World, instead its temples ring daily with the sound of chanting and hymns as cannons and choristers petition Morr to protect the souls in his care. Few Morrite priestly orders garb themselves in the old, traditional black robes. Most wear a grey habit, with dark red surplices, hoods and caps to represent the colours of the late evening sky, a sign that they alone can intercede between mortals and the god of death, between day light and dark night, between life and death. Whether their robes are plain linen or wool, silk or satin, adorned with gold braid or silver lace, they remain outward signs of the role they play in every mortal's passage into the afterlife.
 
Certain ignoble events have undoubtedly shaken the Morrite church in the past: the most famous scandal being the shame and dishonour brought about in IC 2343 by Frederigo Ordini. This Arch Lector and overlord of Remas hatched a diabolical plot with the enemies of all mankind, the ratto uomo, and sent many thousands of brave men to their deaths in a false war. Yet although this did have long term consequences in the realm of Remas, as well as amongst the princely rulers of the city states who innocently sent their own soldiers to support the doomed venture, it did not shake the beliefs of the vast majority of common Tileans. This is mainly due to the simple fact the church of Morr has never claimed that individual men, even priests, lectors and arch lectors, are infallible. Frederigo was declared insanely wicked, the victim of spiritual assault by demonic beings whose greed and pride had caused his terrible fall from grace. This decree did not quite satisfy all Morrite clergymen, however, and the renowned, ranting reformer Sagrannalo of Trantio used the doubts concerning the true nature of the church’s higher clergy to gather an army-sized mob of schismatic, peasant followers, who set about ‘cleansing’ temples. (In truth, merely ransacking and robbing them.) Once this violent and misplaced reaction to the Frederigo plot was finally dealt with, the church both regained its proper place in the hearts of men and resumed its growth. 

According to the established Tilean churches’ laws, the rulers of the three main churches - the arch-lector of Morr, the arch-priest of Myrmidia and the high priest of Mercopia - wield great influence when acting in concert. They can command the investiture of princes. They can excommunicate heretics, even rulers, theoretically removing all authority those princes might claim over their subjects. They can declare holy war against states, clans or peoples serving unlawful gods. This traditional cooperation is still practised for matters of great import, involving the great nobles and principalities, but in many matters of a more petty nature, the Morrite arch-lector rarely concerns himself with the formal ceremonies required to express other churches’ willing acceptance, knowing full well that the Mercopian high priest and Myrmidian archpriest do not care to go through the whole rigmarole upon every occasion it is theoretically required. If these church rulers would also accept the Morrite arch-lector’s rightful authority as the direct servant of the most senior deity, then such ceremonies could much simplified to become merely a matter of acknowledging and accepting of the holy church of Morr’s rulings.
 
The church of Myrmidia is very well respected in Tilea, and indeed there are few soldiers, whether militia or mercenary, who do not pray to her  - although many only remember do so when bloody battle is imminent. Many priests and priestesses of Myrmidia still wear the traditional robes of white and red, but there are several well established regional orders who garb themselves in different colours, such as the Reman Myrmidian clergy in their greys, yellows and greens. Mercopio could be considered the god of day-to-day life for a vast number of Tileans, as nearly every purchase or deal involves a whispered prayer to him, and his name is invoked upon deeds, bills and receipts. Mercopian clerics are to be found residing over civil law court matters such as inheritance, sales, mortgages, endowments, leases and trusts, as well as matters of debt, foreclosure and bankruptcy. The goddess Verena is of course invoked in criminal law trails, herself worshiped by magistrates and clerks throughout the realm, but with considerable overlap in civil and criminal law both gods are often called upon to bless and guide all those involved in legal matters.
 
Most of the other lawful gods of the Old World pantheon are worshiped somewhere in Tilea, having shrines and chapels, guardians and priests. These ‘lesser’ faith priests and priestesses are often called brothers or sisters rather than fathers or mothers. Manaan, Shallya, Taal and Verena are the most prominent churches outside of the Three. Shallyan sisters have hospitals in every city and major town, as well as country hospitals for those in need of isolation. It is widely believed that secret shrines to the trickster Ranald are hidden away in the slums of all the biggest settlements, and although his more devout followers are distrusted and unwelcomed by most people, they have never yet been put under edict of excommunication. Followers of Khaine the Murderer, or the vile gods of Chaos, as well as all the known wicked gods, are all by law subject to excommunication, making it every lawful Tilean’s duty to thwart, arrest and if necessary, kill them. Petty shrines to foreign deities, like Ulric and Sigmar are tolerated in the cities and ports commonly frequented by foreigners.

As a final note, I must mention a trend in evidence in our realm of Tilea, which is novel and philosophic in nature, however foolish and false, and is of a kind not commonly found elsewhere in the realms of men. Perhaps it is an inevitable error, considering the frantic swirl of ideas and invention encouraged in Tilea? Artists conjure illusions and masterpieces worthy of wizards or priests, while architects are guided by mathematical principles to create buildings to rival those made by elves or dwarfs. Such are the successes of these endeavours that misguided men begin to wonder whether their own marvellous works might equal those of the gods. I have myself heard, upon several occasions, scholars discussing deities as if they were metaphors rather than reality, as if they were merely the stuff of myth, superstition or literature. Some consider magic not to be the work of gods, but instead a mysterious, dangerous, yet entirely natural phenomenon, caused perhaps by sympathetic resonances arising from men’s wills and alchemical admixtures of potent ingredients, or perhaps arising from etheric currents flowing both above and below ground like air and water might do, or even as the manifestations of a neighbouring yet quite alien plane of reality. (All this despite the obviously potent blessings the wisest priests can channel through prayer.) Many such people would rather recognise ‘Fortuna’ as their only goddess, not in the form of a heavenly, immortal being, but rather as an all-pervading force, the spun web upon which all our lives are caught. I would not wish to labour this point overmuch, however, for such irreligious men are thankfully few in number, their misguided beliefs cannot prosper, and they themselves will surely dwindle to nought in time.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on April 19, 2014, 06:12:14 PM
What to do with Caution on a Still Day
Battle Report: Part One

Very Late Autumn IC2401, Near Astiano, Central Tilea

As evening fell, all was quiet in the peaceful hamlet of Farina. Simply a cluster of houses, little bigger than an inn, it lay two miles north-east of the town of Astiano. Its inhabitants had had their fair share of troubles of late, what with the Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona’s recent conquest of Astiano, and the inevitable looting and protection payment demands by scavenging bands of soldiers. Now they had learned that the infamous Compagnia del Sole, reputedly the largest condottieri force currently active in Tilea, were outside the walls of Astiano. Happily, the mercenaries seemed keener to extract money from the town’s citizens than to scour the land around. If the council of Astiano chose to pay promptly, it was perhaps possible that Farina would this time remain relatively undisturbed.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav1_zps133e0951.jpg)

The Astianans were indeed willing to raise the necessary bribe quickly, but their new lord, Duke Guidobaldo was moving even more quickly. He had been riding at the head of his state’s army trying to catch the Compagnia del Sole before they could do too much of what mercenaries were famous for doing – looting and burning. He had already failed to prevent their destructive raid on his newly completed settlement of Venafro, which sat astride the road joining his old realm with his new possession, and had no intention of allowing the robbers to rob even more from Astiano.

Upon the approach of an outnumbering foe, any other mercenary company wouls most likely have fled away. General Micheletto Fortebraccio and his officers had no intention of doing so, however, for their baggage train, filled with the goods stolen from Venafro, was not exactly capable of speedy movement. Every officer agreed that the loot took precedence, and the fact they were on the verge of being made even richer by the terrified populace of Astiano simply increased their greed. When the Compagnia’s council of war considered the matter of their reputation, they were not worried over what would become of it should they turn tail and flee, but rather encouraged by the fact that it was surely good enough to make the Pavonans think twice before committing to battle. Had not the Duke of Pavona spent the last six weeks hesitantly probing and manoeuvring in an effort to scare them away without actually having to meet them in the field? So it was that the Compagnia, sensibly concentrated in one camp for just such a situation, marched boldly towards the advancing Pavonans. They would not wait to fight defensively with Astiano to their rear, but chose to attack, and in so doing hopefully fuel the enemy’s doubts the enemy concerning battle.

The people of Farina ran from their houses, taking only what precious belongings they could easily carry, and as the sky darkened, the abandoned settlement grew very quiet indeed.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav2_zps8b80c0e2.jpg)

Then, from both east and west simultaneously, came sounds – drums, horns, shouting. The two armies approached, and both were already arraying from line of march to line of battle. Captain Brizzio Scarpa led the Compagnia’s mounted men at arms on the far right flank, advancing over the low hill towards Farina. Every man wore full plate armour and rode a barded horse, and all but Scarpa carried a yellow and white striped lance, lending the regiment a most pretty appearance.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav3_zps6c121074.jpg)

Upon the other side of Farina, on the flatter, less woody ground, came the Compagnia’s main strength. The gunners hauled the two artillery pieces onto the last of the little hills, while below them the foot-slogging men at arms and the large regiment of halberdiers marched in line and in step. Out on the far left flank a large company of crossbowmen rushed forwards to plant their protective pavises and begin the skilled business of spanning their crossbows.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav4_zps17296c25.jpg)

The Pavonans came on in a not dissimilar array. Mirroring the mecenaries, they planting one of their own artillery pieces on a hill, while their horse soldiers were arrayed on their left and a large body of handgunners on the right, with their massed foot regiments in the centre. Their line, however, overlapped the Compagnia’s for they had two large bodies of mounted soldiers, not two but four regiments of foot, and three of those with detachments. They were also equipped in a most modern manner, for on their far right they placed a helblaster, a novelty acquired by the duke from Nuln.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav6_zps358c5927.jpg)

Despite the obvious disparity, the Compagnia del Sole’s light horse, a small body of mounted crossbowmen on little better than nags, moved also to the far flank in an attempt to match the foe’s line …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav5_zps6ea88c00.jpg)

… although this did mean they would face a much larger body of pistoliers who were already trotting boldly forwards past the little hamlet. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav9_zps1df3264e.jpg)
……………………………………….

General Micheletto Fortebraccio surveyed the enemy, noting their numbers, their arms, their disposition. Their blue and white banners fluttered prettily above the glittering steel of their helms and halberds. One thing that caught his eye immediately was their uniformity – not just in their livery, but also the steady ease of their advance, the neatness of their ranks and files. This was certainly no hurriedly mustered force of ill-trained militia, but an army both practised in drill and sure of their cause. Perhaps it was not only their leader Duke Guidobaldo who thought himself favoured of Morr? Could it be that the soldiers were also emboldened by religious fervour?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav7_zps6ef84324.jpg)

The general turned to address the man at his side - Banhaltte, the black-bearded and wild eyed northerner who carried the halberdiers’ magically imbued standard. “What do you think of the foe, brave Bann? Are they the blessed servants of a god?”
   
Banhaltte grinned. “They dress well enough. ‘Twill be a shame to besmear such pretty clothes with blood.”

Fortebraccio should not have expected anything but bravado from the ensign. Many other men were within earshot, and Banhaltte knew what they needed to hear - pondering aloud whether or not they served the god of death was perhaps not the best conversation to have right now. Taking the ensign’s lead, the general laughed. Spotting the movement of wagons behind the enemy lines, he said: “And look, brave Bann, they brought even more baggage. At this rate, we’re going to end up with too much to carry!”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav8_zps5e7bfd23.jpg)

What happened next was not what the general expected. Rather than advance in line to bring all their strength to bear as one, the Pavonan line broke up as their handgunners and archers moved ahead while the main fighting units remained where they were. In doing so, they even blocked their heavy horse’s line of advance! Maybe, he thought, the foe was not so confident after all? Maybe they thought to fight this battle at a safe distance, afraid to engage in the melee? Or maybe they knew something he didn’t know?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav11_zps7ff355cd.jpg)

It now dawned on him that the enemy might have more units moving up on the Compagnia’s right flank, obscured by the hamlet. If so, then he hoped Captain Scarpa could deal with it, or at the least find a way to warn him about it. What he could not know was exactly what the enemy had upon that flank.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on April 19, 2014, 08:02:50 PM
Oooh!  Tilean vs. Tilean!  A battle is about to be joined! :icon_biggrin:

And where'd those buildings come from?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 01, 2014, 08:55:18 AM
Yeah GP, Tileans all round. One side purely mercenaries, the other more Empire like (i.e. one using a modified T&G/EoW list, the other a standard Empire list. Neither being anything akin to a power list - both very fluffy and WYSIWYG.

The buildings - some are bought, most are made from foam card, balsa, modelling clay and roof-tile sections.



What to do with Caution on a Still Day
Battle Report: Part Two

A dozen Pavonan pistoleers advanced confidently over the hilly ground to the west of the hamlet. Each was furnished with at least a brace of pistols, and all enclosed in well-fitted armour. Several sported blue and white plumes upon their helmets. Their mastery of horsemanship was very obvious as they came on in close order even over the rough ground.
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav10_zps7391a8f0.jpg)

Captain Brizzio Scarpa, commanding the Compagnia’s heavy horse quickly realised he could not simply choose to ignore them and continue his attempt to flank the enemy’s main line just as the battle was joined. To do so would most certainly leave these pistoliers free to wreak havoc at the rear of the Compagnia’s line – perhaps killing the artillery crews on the hill, or even capturing the precious baggage train. Thus it was that – reluctantly - he gave the order for his regiment to turn and face the foe. His heart sank as he did so, for he knew full well how difficult it could be for a body of heavily armoured riders such as his own to get to grips such a slippery opponent. Light horsemen could often perform a nimble dance when they had to.

As his men turned, the enemy unleashed a loud volley of pistol shot at the Compagnia’s mounted crossbowmen (Game note: 24 shots!) Unsurprisingly several of the Compagnia soldiers fell as a consequence, leaving only one pair alive. These remained before the foe, (Game Note: I got lucky with the panic test!) stunned and not exactly sure what to do.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav12_zpsa5b305bd.jpg)

What Scarpa had not noticed was the enemy cannon upon the hill on the other side of the hamlet. The men crewing that cannon had, however, spotted the sunlight glinting off the horse’s steel carapace as the mounted men at arms turned into position. The gunners grinned as they hefted the piece around to aim its muzzle through the gap between the tower and its neighbour right at the horsemen’s rear rank.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav14_zps5e23df74.jpg)

The ball whizzed by the buildings to decapitate two of the riders, much to the confusion of their comrades, who heard the awful ‘thud, thud’ before the distant blast of the cannon. No doubt keen to vacate their current position, they spurred their horses on to attack the rear of the pistoliers who had just cut down the last two crossbowmen. When they realised heavy horse were about to close on them, the Pavonan pistoliers’ bravery dissipated and they fled away pell-mell not to return to the battle. (Game Note: A chancy flee roll took them too far and thus off the table.) The mercenary men at arms let loose a huzzah and, under Captain Scarpa’s orders, began the business of reforming so that they could go about their original intentions. Captain Scarpa prayed that they were not too late.



The Compagnia del Sole’s maroon flags fluttered in the blustery wind as their two main bodies of foot soldiers awaited orders. General Fortebraccio was growing worried. Captain Scarpa and the horse should have made their appearance by now, and yet there was no sight of them. A little while ago he had heard the sound of a volley of firearms, perhaps pistols, perhaps handguns – he could not be sure. Since then, nothing. If his own horse did not come around the flank it would leave his two regiments facing three enemy regiments of foot and their horse. The enemy line would extend far beyond his own, allowing them to overlap, flank and so engulf the Compagnia foot. Fine soldiers as General Fortebraccio’s men were, it was not likely they would stand their ground if attacked on both sides while pressed to the front.

Not a man to delay when events needed a decision, the general glanced over at Captain Gaetano over on the front and left of the foot men at arms to his right.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav13_zps805e1d6e.jpg)

Gaetano’s white hair was blowing wildly, while his heavy blade was held before him, shining sharply. General Fortebraccio knew the old soldier would follow his command without question, and already – even before he had fully realised what he was going to do – a pang of guilt played through him. He was damned if he was going to lose the loot they had already taken, and doubly damned if he would risk the Compagnia’s annihilation to boot. It was time to leave, taking the loot with them. Not soon, but right now, while the men at arms where able to hinder the enemy’s inevitable pursuit. The guilt he had felt before now surged - not because he was going to ask Gaetano to fight, nor even because it was a fight the captain would surely lose, but rather because he would have to lie to his old companion, and cruelly too. As he could hardly make it appear he was sending Gaetano and the men at arms to their death simply so that he could abandon them and save his own skin, he would thus have to order the advance in such a way that Gaetano and his men did not realise what was truly intended. It was a lie only by omission, but that did not make the general feel any better.

So, having commanded the drummer by his side, the beat went up for a ‘right-hand advance-oblique’, a manuoevre the Compagnia had practised on several occasions: the right-most unit would march on, the next waiting a moment before doing so, resulting in their staggered arrival at the foe’s line of battle, hopefully allowing the second and subsequent units time to respond to whatever the enemy did and thus better protect the flank of the first unit. Except that after the order was given and the men at arms moved on, General Fortebraccio held up his hand to signal his own regiment to stay put. And so they stood, watching the other regiment march out alone. Having already lost five men to the enemy’s magic and seven more to a well placed cannon ball, the halberdiers were sufficiently stunned enough not to question the order.

The men at arms’ advance turned into something of a charge at the little body of handgunners ahead of them, but they did not reach as the enemy fled away through their own knights. (See Game Note #1 below)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav15_zpsc0c0f2c7.jpg)

Banhaltte the ensign frowned, then revealed his confusion to General Fortebraccio with a gesture. “We’re not advancing?” he asked.

The general simply stood silently, watching, his hand still held aloft. His guilt was welling to unbearable levels, mixing with anxiety and regret. All his men were hardened mercenaries - his men at arms skilled warriors clad in plate steel, his halberdiers emboldened in any fight by the magical aura of their blessed banner. He looked again at the foe. Yes, they had the more bodies of men, but those bodies were smaller than his, even after all the damage his halberdiers had received, and they were not so well armoured.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav16_zps361903da.jpg)

Nevertheless, he found himself signalling to his halberdiers to fall back facing the foe. As the drum beat the command, he could just hear Banhaltte words, this time said with bitterness: “We’re not advancing.” Then the general spotted something between the trees and the hamlet, something coloured yellow and white.
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav17_zps51c9e285.jpg)

It was Scarpa and his horse. General Fortebraccio had to stop himself from crying “No!” His thoughts were half prayer, half anguish: Myrmidia forgive me. What have I done? Banhaltte sniffed, a mundane sort of sound would well suit the task of gaining a fellow’s attention on a lazy summer’s evening in an alehouse. General Fortebraccio looked at him. Raising his eyebrows, Banhaltte announced, “We should have advanced.” (See Game Note #2)

Captain Gaetano and his men at arms had apparently not noticed the general’s deception, for they marched boldly onwards – some even let out a cheer when they spotted their own heavy horsemen off on the flank.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav18_zps0e7b53d2.jpg)

Captain Scarpa halted the horsemen and watched as the men at arms were charged.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav19_zpsa331e221.jpg)

The foot soldiers received the charge defiantly, barely budging an inch, and after taking some casualties from the foes’ first thrusts, brought down their heavy blades, pole-arms and hammers to take down some of the foe. Scarpa knew this should have been the moment he and his company joined the fray, but he knew also that something was wrong. Where were the others? Had the enemy somehow broken the general’s large regiment of Halberdiers with magic and missiles? When he looked across the field, however, he saw the General Fortebraccio and most of the halberdiers were still present, just not where they should be. Worse than that, they were – albeit steadily - falling back. 

Then, just as the melee in the centre of the field became a furious, clattering mess of screams and blood, the halberdiers turned and began marching away.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav21_zps415606fb.jpg)

The battle was lost. Captain Scarpa now realised that Fortebraccio must have already decided it was lost some time ago, and was in the process of ensuring that neither the Compagnia nor the loot was also lost. So it was that he too ordered a withdrawal, leading his horsemen away just before the foot-soldiers in the centre were finally broken and the foe spilled over them and onwards in the grip of battle lust.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CompVsPav22_zpsd6925556.jpg)

A handful of crossbowmen, and the surviving knights and halberdiers now moved hastily away, not quite disorderly, urging the baggage train on as best they could. It was not the Compagnia del Sole’s finest moment.


Game Note #1: At the point I made this decision I did not realise that the heavy horse where going to successfully drive off the Pavonan pistoliers, and also have time to get up to where I originally wanted them. So, being the campaign GM, commanding an NPC mercenary force, I rolled a dice to decide if the Compagnia might take the campaign-rules option of a fighting withdrawal from the field. For this to work, one has to have a unit of suitable strength fight for more than one round against the enemy. If so, this counts as a ‘holding action’ and allows the player to retreat units off their own table edge to begin flight from the battlefield. It’s a risky manoeuvre, involving rolling on various campaign-rules’ charts, but it seemed my only option in light of what I thought was almost certain defeat otherwise. I wish I had noticed the horse, however, because with them coming around to support the flank, I probably had a good chance of victory!

Game Note #2: I felt stupid at this point, blaming my tactical rubbishness on the fact that I was taking photos and making notes and such. If only the halberdiers were at the men at arms’ side! I consoled myself with the fact that the enemy knights had not one but two well equipped lords in their body (Duke Guidobaldo and Lord Polcario), so probably would have ‘gubbed’ my boys. But in truth I knew I had turned an exciting drama full of possibility into a desperate sort of drama, full of running away!

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 17, 2014, 12:28:09 PM
A Blessed Army: Part One

Ridraffa


It had been a long afternoon. The leaders of the exiled Pavonan Dwarfs had been discussing their future, working their way through every place they might make their new home; one by one dismissing them. Now, as the sky darkened on this late Autumn day, they addressed yet another possibility - Remas.

“Surely Remas would be no more welcoming to us than Pavona?” asked Master Boldshin, his voice beginning to strain after the long and oft’ heated discussion. “By which of course, I mean that they would refuse us all hospitality. Duke Guidobaldo is Morrite to the marrow of his bones, while Remas is the very seat of the Church of Morr. If the duke believes dwarfs a corrupting presence in his city, then how much more must we be hated in Remas?”

Glammerscale, apparently still thriving upon the debate, shook his head. “No, good cousin, that is not so. The Church of Morr is a broad church, and the difference between the Morrite faith of Remas and Pavona is not merely one of degree, but rather one of doctrine. Indeed, I have heard it said that the arch-lector has seriously considered declaring the Pavonan Church of Morr to be schismatical, and that in truth he would already have done so were it not for the evil in the north and the consequent need for Tilean unity.”

Master Boldshin tugged tightly at his copious whiskers, as if trying to reign in the welling frustration building inside his frame. “You say no, cousin, then prove the very point I was making! If the arch-lector yearns for unity, then he will hardly act in such a way that would upset Duke Guidobaldo. Welcoming those exiled by the duke is no way to endear oneself to him.”

Raising his hand whilst delivering a token cough, the diminutive Norgrug Borgosson, servant to Master Gallibrag Honourbeard, craved attention. As he himself had only yesterday returned from Remas, no-one thought it odd that he might have something to say. Once Gallibrag had gestured his consent, Norgrug spoke quietly and assuredly. “Remas has dwarfs in its forces – an entire regiment no less – not just those dwelling within its walls. The Remans would not turn us away – not for being dwarfs, at least. They might have other reasons, but that would not be their motive.”

“The Reman Overlord Matuzzi commands the city state’s army, not the arch lector,” said Boldshin, almost falling over his words he was in such a rush to disagree. “For all we know the arch lector is even now suggesting a termination of contract for the dwarfen mercenaries, as well as banishment for all the rest. We cannot act so foolishly as to settle ourselves in another city so likely to be on the brink of turning out our kind. It would be bad enough if they were merely to prevent our prosperity, and our utter ruin if they too drove us away.”

Norgrug smiled, perhaps in an attempt to mollify Boldshin. If so, he failed, for the most of the company took it as a mocking sort of expression, some being shocked at a mere servant’s audacity. “Not so, master Boldshin. The day before my departure I witnessed the arch lector himself, and several many priests of the triumvirate churches, blessing the Reman army, dwarfs included.”

Boldshin’s pessimism was not to be defeated so easily. “Then what if it is the Overlord who is of a like mind with Duke Guidobaldo? Maybe he will move against the dwarfs despite priestly attitudes?”

“He will not, for he is merely Overlord in name. It is Arch Lector Calictus who rules in Remas.”

“No, Norgrug,” countered Boldshin. “That cannot be. The Remans themselves ruled against such a thing. Not since Arch-Lector Frederigo have they allowed a priest to hold both spiritual and secular office. It is their law.”

Norgrug pondered a moment. “I suppose it could well still be their law, for the Overlord remains Overlord. He has, however, named Arch-Lector Calictus his captain general, his first minister, and some more offices besides. I can assure you, Calictus rules in Remas.”

The assembled dwarfs became agitated. Confusion was mixed with disbelief, contrariness with doubt, and the questions came tumbling out: Was Norgrug certain? Why did no one else know this? How did it come about?

Norgrug attempted to acknowledge each query, then set about answering as best he could. “The outside world believes Remas to have been somewhat inactive of late. Calictus seemed to restrict himself only to making proclamations ordering the people of Tilea to unite against the vampire duke, while the Reman Overlord Matuzzi himself was conspicuous in his lack of action.”

Glammerscale was nodding. “That much is certainly true. I myself have heard merchants joking at Remas’ expense, mocking the irony that while Viadaza assembled a crusading army, Remas itself failed to answer its own lector’s call. Yet I did also hear some rumours of upset in the Reman streets: demands for action and that sort of thing.”

“They were more than rumours,” said Norgrug. “I learned a lot from the dwarfs in Remas. They told me that the people of Remas went from speeches and complaints, petitions and paper combats to open riots, illegal assemblies, mutinous militia actions in the space of little more than a week. Now there is indeed a new government - not a new form of government, rather an old sort, of a kind that until recently most Remans thought was no longer a possibility. The growing threat in the north, where entire towns and cities have fallen to loathsome undead armies and all have succumbed to an unending, waking nightmare, has brought the Church of Morr into prominence, as it was in years gone by. Every human in Remas accepts that of all authorities in Tilea, either priestly or secular, the Morrites are best able to thwart the undead and cleanse the land of their corruption. As such, my informers suspected that the Arch-Lector would eventually have been begged to accept command of Remas’ army, if not the whole city state. That this came about so quickly seems to have been due to Calictus’ exceptional ability to manipulate the tangled web of Reman politics, deftly mixing well-placed bribes, threats, promises and suggestions, so transforming this re-emergent desire for the church’s guidance into very real power.”

The company fell quiet, Boldshin included. It was the eccentric – How can a dwarf wizard be described as anything but eccentric? - Master Glammerscale who broke the silence.

“I do not doubt you, Norgrug, for I do not doubt the wisdom of the Reman dwarfs. Yet, if such change is afoot, then we can not take anything for granted. All that we think we know is made uncertain by the tumbling of events. We would be walking into the unknown.” There was a general murmur of agreement. “If we are willing to do so, then I believe there is another course of action, no more or less uncertain, that we ought to consider. I have a letter here which not only invites us to settle, but promises prosperity and protection …  ”

………………………………………………………………………………………
A Blessed Army: Part Two

Remas



Arch Lector of the Tilean Church of Morr, His Magnificent Holiness Calictus II, was not the only high cleric to attend the blessing. As his command of the Reman army had been confirmed by the Triumverate churches and the edict sealed with ‘MMM’, then the Mercopian High Priest and Myrmidian Arch-Priest were also present. The three church rulers, with the attendants and guards, as well as several clergy from the minor churches, stood before the oldest Morrite church in the city, that of Saint Ettore of the Flayed Arm.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/NewRemas1_zps3e11f67e.jpg)

Calictus II wore a cloak of vermillion, the traditional peaked hat of a lector, and a red and grey striped cassock bedecked with solid gold roundels. His two bodyguards, both northerners sworn to lifelong service, were liveried in the orange, blue and red of Remas, while his captain of the guard, the moustachioed Kislevite Lukyan Soldatovya, wore full plate armour.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/NewRemas2_zps557e4a06.jpg)

Flavio Tognazzi, High Priest of the Church of Mercopio, carried a shoulder height staff of bullion silver, topped with a golden knob. His gold-rimmed mitre added a foot to his height and his heavy, multi-layered vestments - cassock, camisia, surplice and stole. He held his right hand aloft to deliver his blessing as the soldiers marched by, his own flamboyantly slashed and puffed bodyguard standing boldly behind him.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/NewRemas4_zps5c12960d.jpg)

The Myrmidian Arch-Priest Luccino De Sicca was attended by a novice priestess and two mercenary guards. He wore a heavy hood, gauntlets of thick leather, a robe trimmed in yellow and green and carried a staff fashioned from the preserved remains of the spear used by the hero Publius Cornelius to kill a three headed dragon during the time of the ancient Reman Empire – a staff now tipped with a golden reliquary containing the ashes of said Publius Cornelius (who, of course, perished in the fire  gushing from all of three mouths even as his magical spear pierced the triple-headed beast’s single heart).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/NewRemas3_zps8c24a178.jpg)

The first soldiers to pass the little crowd of high clergy and attendants were the dwarfs, a solid mass of iron and steel, wearing armour over armour. Their presence in the Reman army, acting as the General’s Lifeguard, deployed in the most privileged position on the right of the army’s vanguard, and always first in the column of march, they were certain proof that the Remans were not of a like mind with the duke of Pavona. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/NewRemas7_zpsbef37da1.jpg)

Next in line was the Cathayan Company, the foreign sound of its brass horns no longer a strange one in the city. The soldiers bore an ensign bearing an old emblem of Morr, the key to the afterlife, and beneath their scale armour wore the blues and reds of Remas. Their main fighting body, armed with a far eastern style of spear that could double as a halberd, was preceded and followed by crossbow companies.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/NewRemas5_zps0daeb1a7.jpg)

The Cathayans were followed by the mercenary pikemen, a regiment of fifty northerners, nearly all from the most northern regions of the Empire. Their pikes, held at high-port like a forest of young trees bending in a gale - had been decorated with the city’s colours, while they themselves wore the same colours in and amongst their own attire. They were led by their swaggering major, who had a huge, two handed sword sloped upon his shoulder.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/NewRemas6_zps96c9a914.jpg)

And the parade continued.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 30, 2014, 05:59:36 PM
She Returns

Biagino found it difficult to keep up with Ugo. Not that Ugo, a coachman by profession, clad in a long, thick leather coat over a mail shirt and carrying the heaviest looking firearm Biagino had ever seen, was particularly fleet of foot, rather that he was less wary about making a noise. Biagino hated being so close to someone who seemed wholly intent on advertising their presence to all and sundry. This was most definitely neither the time nor the place to be so loud. Three times Biagino had pleaded with his companion to be quiet, only to be answered by an instruction to hurry up. While Ugo wanted speed, the priest wanted quiet. They were in agreement about one thing, however, neither wanted to be there at all.

They had been sent to the woods north-east of Busalla, close to where the road branched to Viadaza, due to reports of enemy movement thereabouts. Up until now the Viadazan undead had stayed within the city bounds. If they were moving further a-field then it could prove a very dangerous hindrance to the activities of the last remnants of the Morrite crusader’s army. Right now, Biagino was acutely aware that the enemy could prove very dangerous to him personally any moment. While there was concealment for him and Ugo in the many shadows, there was also concealment for anyone or anything else. For all he knew these woods could be bursting with night terrors and grave-horrors, and a monstrous fiend waited behind the very next tree. Perhaps only dumb luck had kept them alive so far? It did not help that every second tree adopted the guise of some ghoulish creature, the branches so easily transforming into ragged limbs reaching out to claw at him.
 
At long last and quite suddenly, Ugo began to move cautiously, bringing his boots down softly and carefully. Stifling the urge to vent his annoyance by pointing out that Ugo had obviously been capable of silent movement all along, Biagino instead chose to give thanks to Morr that his companion had finally seen sense. The feeling of satisfaction was short lived, however, as it now occurred to him that there must be some pressing reason for the coachman’s sudden caution. One look at Ugo’s wide eyed face confirmed this suspicion.

“What is it?” Biagino whispered. Ugo put his finger to his lips. It was an action which in light of his previous carelessness would have much exasperated Biagino if it were not for the manifestation of a fear so strong as to override all other emotions. Ugo removed his finger, and very slowly – as if to move his arm suddenly would in itself be dangerous - reached out to point through the trees. Once Biagino turned to look, Ugo hefted his dwarf-made, iron and steel monstrosity of a blunderbuss, and peered, wide-eyed, through the trees himself.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EntryIntoViadaza1_zps60b82bbd.jpg)

“There they are,” Ugo said, in words made of little more than a breath. “This is as close as we go, and we don’t stay long.”

Biagino was not going to argue. One look and he could see they had almost stepped into a nightmare. He was no innocent. He had faced the undead in battle. But then he had an army about him, strong in their beliefs and firm in their ranks and files. Now there was only him and Ugo, alone in the woods, and mere yards from a veritable legion of undead. “Reports of enemy movement,” General D’Alessio had said. At any other time the pathetic insufficiency of that comment might have brought a wry smile to Biagino’s face, but here and now, faced with the truth, it was a sob he had to stifle.

Skeletal warriors lined both sides of the road, two ranks deep, their bones clean and white –thoroughly washed by the rains of earlier that evening. They clutched spears, and but for an eerie twitch here and an uncanny twist there, they could have been mere statues. The only sound was a strange creaking and scraping, emanating from bones grinding in sockets and ossified spear-shafts rubbing against the rusted rims of ancient shields.

Then there was another sound: the slow beat of drums, of the kind that might go before a convicted felon being led to the scaffold. Neither Ugo nor Biagino could bring themselves to move, such was the new layer of trepidation conjured by that sound. Biagino wondered if they were about to witness some poor souls being led to their doom, their blood to be drained by vampires or their bodies twisted and corrupted by necromantic magic. Yet he knew that was not likely. The undead were arrayed as if to welcome a prince, to show their strength and be inspected at one and the same time. This was more like a parade. Indeed, moments later, a pair of drummers marched by, then three torch bearers, followed by some nobly attired riders. The first of these was a lady riding side-saddle upon a mount barded in flowing, blood red silks. Her skin was deathly pale, and she wore a headdress and diadem of an archaic style. In her right hand she wielded a brazen staff topped by a silvered serpent’s head.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EntryIntoViadaza2_zps14dab7b5.jpg)

She was a vampire. Her appearance was proof enough, but the potent aura she exuded confirmed washed away all hopes that she might be anything else. Biagino had felt the same deathly chill before, on the field of battle at Pontremola, where no less than two such fiends had commanded the enemy host. At that moment, the vampiress turned her head slightly, in Biagino’s direction. His insides churned as dizzy fear washed through him. Then he saw that she was not looking at him, rather at something that had caught her eye amongst the skeletal warriors lining her route. She turned back.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EntryIntoViadaza4_zpse3f515a2.jpg)

Just as it seemed impossible to be more afraid, he was: he realised he knew her face. He had seen it before in his nightmares. More than that, he had met her in waking life. Since then her flesh had blanched, her mouth become distorted by the fangs curling from her upper lip, and her cheeks had sunken so that bony ridges now framed her huge, dark eyes. But her expression was one he had witnessed before, for she had used it upon him. She wore only a hint of it in life, but in his dreams she had given that same scornful, wicked and proud look full vent. It was the Duchess Maria!

His knees weakened, threatening to bring him down. He stumbled backwards a little way. Luckily, the rustling sound thus made was hidden by the sound of drums, hooves and clattering armour from the road. Even Ugo failed to notice.

The Duchess Maria had been corrupted. She had turned, then returned. And here she was being welcomed by an army of undead into Viadaza.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EntryIntoViadaza3_zps1ec33624.jpg)

Unexpectedly, he knew immediately it all made sense: the Duchess’s miraculous escape from Ebino; her lack of effort in convincing Lord Adolfo to support the crusade; Lord Adolfo’s uncharacteristic, dreamy fascination in her, and the way Viadaza fell to the undead almost immediately the Morrite clergy had left. All these things fitted together. The duchess never did escape, but had become a secret servant of evil, no doubt sent to sew the seeds of Viadaza’s destruction. She beguiled Lord Adolfo to fatally weaken the crusade, whilst simultaneously ensuring the priests of Morr still left the city. The fall of Viadaza was her doing.

His nightmares had been a sign all along. Morr himself had no doubt sent them to reveal the truth, yet Biagino in his ignorance – so many times - had woken, drenched in sweat, simply to dismiss the lingering images from his mind as quickly as possible. He thought them a weakness arising from his own self-doubts, when they had been no less than an inspired vision of the truth, presented starkly and boldly. Here was the duchess exactly as she had been in his dreams, the true self she hid behind her sorcerous disguise. 

The Vampire Duke Allessandro Sforta was no more. Now there was the Vampire Duchess Maria Colleoni.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EntryIntoViadaza5_zps72466659.jpg)

The curse upon Tilea had not been diminished at all. If anything, it was waxing stronger, threatening to conquer more cities and towns and to swallow ever more souls.

...
(Painting 40 new skeletons for this piece took time. Wonder if they'll ever see the tabletop?)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on May 30, 2014, 09:56:50 PM
Another great post by the master! That's the old DoW Belladonna Whatevertheycallher, right?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: damo_b on May 31, 2014, 02:15:12 PM
The figure is the old mounted Liamhian vampire. good work as every padre.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 31, 2014, 09:49:26 PM
Thanks Damian. And yeah, an old Lahmian figure is right I think. Can't for the life of me recall how I got her. I know I painted her for an old campaign for the next door neighbour's wife's character. Yeah, we had nearly the whole street involved.

Shame you can't be there for the battle tomorrow. I have a feeling that Khurnag's Waagh might have done better under your command than mine. But still, I'm gonna go green on Uryens. 3300 points of green. If only his army hadn't been busy digging defences, then it would be easy.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on June 21, 2014, 04:32:02 PM
Some Trouble at Tursi
Approx. 3200 pts of Tilean mercenaries versus 3300 pts of greenskins

The mercenary army of the Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie’s Tilean enterprise had been busy. Their establishment at Alcente had been granted in return for providing much needed defence against the Badlands’ orc warlord Khurnag. Now they had to make good that promise, for Khurnag had turned his attentions towards the south-west and was approaching the watchtower at Tursi with a large Waagh!, perhaps his entire strength. So it was that the VMC soldiers had incorporated the watchtower into the defensive perimeter of a fortified camp. The construction was not fully complete, but it was substantial, as they had piled earth up to create parapeted works and palisaded bastions.

Here you can see the eastern portion of those defences, where the tower itself stood.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG1_zps0a2240fa.jpg)

The tumbledown ruins of an ancient shrine to forgotten gods formed one side of the eastern gate, while an earthen bastion bristling with sharpened poles sat upon the other. The tower itself was typical of the southern region of Tilea, constructed of local stone (unlike the ancient ruin), plastered and painted, with tiles of red clay atop its buttresses and crenellations.

The watchtower’s recently installed garrison, a company of mounted handgunners who had been assigned the duty of regular patrols throughout the area south of Sussurio and north of Alcente, now formed part of the army awaiting the Waagh. Initially they made as if to attempt to outflank the foe, ensuring they were spotted as they feigned doing so, but then they doubled back and settled themselves behind the wooden defences to the south of the tower.

(Game Note: Ant used his general’s mercenary skill of ‘Tactician’ to redeploy this unit and hi heavy horse, first putting them outside the fortified camp and thus luring me into placing several important units on that flank in the hopes of engaging them. And then, to my surprise, they were gone. It seems men are more subtle than greenskins. Who would have thought it?)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG2_zps90c06464.jpg)

Two companies of locally raised brigands defended the same stretch of defences, one being behind the double fence (yet to be filled in with earth and stones), the other occupying the tower itself.

The VMC’s main strength was deployed along the defences on the other side of the tower. A twenty strong firelock company, until recently employed separately to the rest of the army, manned the first stretch of earthwork. They were clothed in grey and armed with long barrelled but light pieces of a novel new northern design inspired by dwarfen lock mechanisms, which did not require slow-match for ignition. Well drilled and already experienced in battle, they now flashed their pans, adjusted flints and frizzens, then stuffed lead balls into their cheeks ready to spit into the muzzles after loading each charge of powder.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG3_zps722ef8bd.jpg)

A brass-barrelled saker was emplaced next, then the regiment of Estalian rodoleros (sword and buckler men). The orange and blue VMC colours fluttered above them, carried by the young ensign Anders van Rooven, a man of as worthy a descent as one could have in the city of Marienburg (his family being not only of noble blood but also very successful in their mercantile interests). By his side stood a Myrmidian priestess, the Tilean noblewoman Luccia la Fanciulla, whose presence much inspired the rank and file soldiers about her. They had found it very easy to embrace the god of war when her mortal agent took such an attractive form. Another saker broke up the line of foot, and then next stood Captain van Luyden’s company of shot, in which each man was also busying himself with preparing his handgun. The archmage Johannes Deeter, whiskered wholly in white while clothed entirely in black, stood with them. Unusually, he was not attended by his apprentice Serafina - she was inside the watchtower, sent to support that wing with whatever magics she could muster.

Colonel van Hal’s Tercio, the ‘Meagre Company’, guarded the gate, consisting of a main phalanx of pike with two sleeves of shot. Unusually one of the little companies of shot stood in front of the pike, while the other stood at its side, flanked itself by a ribaudequin attended by the VMC’s Master of Works and artillery commander, Captain Singel.

Out on the very far left flank was the army’s Lord General, Jan Valckenburgh, clad in black lacquered cuirassier armour, accompanied by Captain Wallenstein and his company of heavy horsemen. While their bred-for-war mounts snorted and champed at their bits, the riders spanned their wheel-lock pistols, knowing that they would without doubt be using them very shortly and so need not worry about weakening the springs. Their heavy maces, perfect instruments for bashing in thick, orcen skulls, hung from their saddles besides the pistol holsters.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG6_zpsd76d1814.jpg)

Warboss Khurnag, or ‘Mighty Khurnag’ as his own warriors called him, had chosen to ride his wyvern to battle the better to be seen by his boys, and to terrify the foe. Ever since he had refused to fly the beast over the walls at Monte Castello (in the knowledge of what the batteries of guns would do to the beast) there had been tittle tattle amongst his lesser servants, which had only the previous night been foolishly voiced within his earshot. The speaker was now dead – in fact he died only the merest moment after he realised, with horror, his mistake – but Khurnag’s pride had been dented. So now he sat atop his green-scaled, monstrous mount at the rear of his force, squinting against the afternoon sun to see just what in the way of guns this new foe possessed. It seemed that the goblin big boss Gurmliss had not been exaggerating when he said that the army of Alcente was almost exclusively armed with black powder weapons. Not that knowing this would have changed Khurnag’s mind regarding his choice of mount, for if he was to regain the respect of his army and ensure they continued to call him ‘mighty’ then the wyvern was the only choice. Known only to him, and perhaps his mount, Khurnag did not like what he saw, and somewhere deep inside his raging mind there was a gnawing doubt telling him that he had made a mistake; a big mistake.

(Game note: A discussion between me and Ant during set up certainly made me wonder whether my “Got the model, will use it” attitude was going going to prove somewhat stupid!)

On the greenskin’s left flank, amassed there in the mistaken belief that the foe had deployed several bodies of horsemen outside the walls, were not only Khurnag, but two orc boar chariots, two bolt throwers, Khurnag’s three maneaters and almost eighty missile troops – arrer boyz and gobbos. Just the sort of troops to weaken then smash the enemy riders. If only the riders were still there.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG4_zps65fc4f08.jpg)

Now they faced only walls and a tower, manned by enemy handgunners and bowmen. Not the ideal opposition for chariots and riders. Luckily, the greenskin right, where the important hand to hand fighting would surely take place, was still surely strong enough to deliver a fatal blow. Nigh upon eighty orcs marched in two large bodies, with stone throwers ready to hurl huge rocks behind them. Boar riders and wolf riders came up on the far right, with wolf chariots and a pump wagon to add to the confusion they could create.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG5_zpse8fd2d3f.jpg)

Perfectly satisfactory, all in all, thought Khurnag. Or, more accurately, “It’ll do.” Once he had cleared this lot away from their piles of dirt and shiny tower, he could sate himself and his warriors with looting Alcente and all the settlements around. He gave no thought to what he would do after that, for he simply had not considered that far ahead, and right now his mind was filled with a lusty eagerness for battle. Hefting his heavy, serrated choppa, he prepared to give the sign to advance.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG7_zpsbbb8eb3a.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on June 26, 2014, 07:54:05 PM
Some Trouble at Tursi: The Fight

As the orc warboss raised his choppa to give his signal, the men of the VMC were already touching slow match to powder to fire their two sakers directly at him. One cannon’s barrel shivered immediately, burning the crewmen to send them reeling from their bastion. But the other gun sent a six pound roundshot to tear a chunk of scales from the wyvern’s neck then plough right into Khurnag’s belly. Lifted out of his saddle, he was dead before he even hit the ground.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG8_zps05f7075a.jpg)

The mighty Khurnag was dead. No sword had been bloodied, no arrow loosed, no leadshot fired - just one iron ball - yet the Waagh’s commander was dead. His mount lurched ungainly, badly wounded by the more than glancing blow to its serpentine neck. Those greenskins who failed to witness his demise were nudged and nipped by their comrades so that within a moment or two nearly every Waagh warrior was aware that Khurnag had fallen, if not that he was dead. Yet none seemed to think this was reason enough to feel dismayed; certainly not to retreat. It was, however, distracting enough to subdue their otherwise perpetual squabbling, and so it was that the entire army began its advance as one just exactly as Khurnag had intended they should (Game note: i.e. no animosity fails.)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG9_zps95f79a74.jpg)

A weak wave of magical summonations sputtered from the line of green, while a pair of huge stones landed with a thump nowhere near the men of the VMC and only one handgunner succumbed to the orcs’ first volley of arrows. The little artillery piece the Waagh’s goblins had looted from Scabscar’s camp by the sea did kill three rodoleros, but this was the only real harm of any kind caused. Not that the greenskins were really trying yet – they were more concerned with closing the distance between themselves and the enemy. Most keen of all were Thagger the Spoiler’s boar riders, their pace matched only by the Waagh’s lone surviving pump wagon.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG10_zps6d8c1d65.jpg)

On the greenskin’s left, the boar chariots, uncertain as to what or who they should charge, nevertheless rolled around either side of the maneaters, while the dazed but angry wyvern hopped over to land between them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG11_zps92125b51.jpg)

Behind the defences no-one moved from their position. They were busy enough re-loading, and determined to launch as much lead and iron at the enemy as possible, then to meet whatever survived with a palisade to protect them. The wizards and priests of the VMC conjured a Net of Amontek upon Thagger’s boar riders, as well as killing one of the same with a Banishment spell. Pha’s Protection embraced several many of the defender’s units, while Shem’s Burning Gaze felled one unlucky goblin. Of course this was a mere taster, for now a hailstorm of arrow, bullet and ball burst outwards from the walls. Goblins and orcs across the line fell, including half of the boar riders. Not everything went as the VMC intended, for their ribaudequin blew itself up and their saker shot simply buried itself into the earth. But the wizard’s ethereal dissipater shook the pump wagon to pieces, and the sight of this sent one of the wolf chariots fleeing from the field.

Knowing his lads must surely now be wondering if they would even reach the foe alive, Boss Thagger gave vent to a furiously defiant cry, urging his riders to “Go faster, ya Slugabeds. Go faster now!”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG12_zps3564b3df.jpg)

What he had not reckoned with was the cruel power of the Net of Amontek. One of his boar riders was killed by its etheric barbs and none of the rest could free themselves from its grip. And they were not the only regiment that ground to halt. Someone in the massive regiment of orc boyz had already cracked a joke about Khurnag’s death (too soon, perhaps?), and the ensuing mix of laughter and anger held them back as the rest of the army surged onwards around them (Game note: failed animosity).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG13_zps1f27b8e9.jpg)

Once more the greenskin magic failed to get to grips with the foe, while the magical protection of a Banner of Respite meant that the stone throwers caused no harm either. Again only the goblin cannon caused any real harm, felling two of the heavily armoured cuirassiers with the VMC lord general. Perhaps to prove that they were not dismayed by such treatment, General Valckenburgh ordered his gentlemen to advance – being the only VMC unit to move.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG14_zpsf46826d6.jpg)

They then fired a pistol volley at the wolf chariot, their efforts boosted by the two detachments of handgunners to their right. The chariot did not have a chance. Witnessing its destruction, the goblin big boss Gurmliss was reminded of the very similar fate of the entire Little Waagh when it faced the VMC. His resolve, at least what remained of it after Khurnag’s demise, crumbled, and as he tugged at the fur of his wolf mount to halt the beast, the rest of his riders took this as a sign to shift for themselves, and so turned and fled away.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG15_zpsb7e075c1.jpg)

Meanwhile the Net of Amontek now ensnared the goblin archers and Shem’s Burning Gaze delivered a coup de grace on the wyvern. Perhaps distracted by their magical entrapment, the goblins did not panic at the sight of the wyvern’s death, but the orcen archers’ courage failed them and they fled away in disarray. A good number of orcs and goblins fell amongst the ranks of several different units, brought down by leadshot and arrows, but the VMC’s only surviving saker was not to join in their fun, for it too blew itself up. (General Valckenburgh would later order an investigation into the destruction of his three artillery pieces, suspecting sabotage at worst, and at best, negligence.)

At last some of the greenskins were within potential striking distance of the foe – although nowhere near as many as they might have had if it were not for their tendency either to squabble or run away at the slightest provocation. The smaller regiment of orcs, led by big boss Malkey the Fist, who carried the army standard, attempted to reach Captain van Luyden’s company of shot, but, whilst losing five of their number to a volley, they failed to do so.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG16_zpsac4d3a06.jpg)

Only the goblin archers, breaking free of the magical net binding them, and losing four of their number in the charge, successfully reached the foe – hurtling themselves at the earthen bank upon which the grey coated firelock company stood.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG18_zps8cfe0958.jpg)

Thagger’s attempt to support this somewhat weak assault had already failed, for when his boar riders lost two of their number to the Meagre Company’s forlorn hope of hangunners, they turned and ran, pelting past the wolf-riders doing just the same to their left. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG17_zps8078715f.jpg)

Of course the goblin archers, although they did bring down several of the enemy, suffered at the hands of the VMC’s mercenaries, their attack much weakened by the fact that the foe was protected by substantial defences (Game note: No charge bonus and no rank bonus – home rules due to fact that these earthworks were something considerably more than a mere fence, being built with battle in mind.) No-one, not even themselves, was surprised when they fled.

So far the greenskins had done nothing but bicker, stumble, retreat or bounce. Yet with numbers still on their side …
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG21_zps81840df0.jpg)

… most still had not realised that their cause was surely doomed.

(End of Turn 3)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on June 28, 2014, 02:49:24 PM
Turns 4-6

As General Valckenburgh’s cuirassiers turned a little, with equal calmness the garrison handgunners simply trotted back a few yards from the defences. Two volleys of arrows laid low one of the Maneaters, while salvoes from the several companies of shot wounded another ogre, and brought down a smattering of orcs and goblins elsewhere in the Waagh’s now ragged lines.

With a bellowed roar of frustration Thagger halted his last surviving riders.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG19_zpsa9f19731.jpg)

Next to him the wolfriders began bickering over what they ought to do next, with Gurmliss’ rather less loud voice lost amongst their chorus of shouts and insults. On the left of the greenskin line the last two maneaters charged the tower and set about hacking at the defenders. Both sides gave as good as they got and the very bloody assault resulted in the demise of the maneaters as well as five defenders. Nearby the boar chariots hurtled at the palisade, smashing through it, killing all ten of the archers defending it, then loudly rattling into the yard within. On the right, big boss Malkey the Fist led his boys into Captain van Luyden’s company of shot, losing four of their number to a handgun blast just as they began to climb the earthen bank. Big boss Malkey badly bloodied archmage Deeter, and the old man could do little but cower back and hope the men around him could defend him against further harm. With four orcs falling and one handgunner, the fight broiled on, with neither side yet ready to break.  (Game note: -1 to hit as fighting over defences, no rank bonus) At their side the big mob of orcs moved up close to the foe, urged on by Big Mosher.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG20_zps6cb5e2eb.jpg)

Once again the greenskins’ magic proved incapable of harming the men of the VMC, as their wizards channeled away its effects with dispellings and wardings. A huge stone crashed amongst the rodoleros, instantly killing five , yet they proved both brave and loyal, and simply reformed their ranks and files. 

Now the rodoleros, champing at the bit for a fight and no longer willing to stand passively whilst dying to enemy fire, leapt over the barricades, the army standard of the VMC streaming above their heads, and charged into the flank of Malkey the Fist’s orcs fighting at the front of the bastion.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG22_zps8f4f7adb.jpg)

Unwilling to risk receiving a charge from the boar chariots, the tower garrison’s mounted handgunners did what such troops do best and galloped around the foe’s flank. The sound of gunfire came from the other side of the tower as the firelock guard felled another eight of the goblin archers they had just pushed from the wall. Out on on the VMC’s left the two detachments of foot handgunners combined their firepower with the cuirassier’s pistols to cut down ten of Big Mosher’s orcs. (Game note: 10 was not quite a quarter of their strength, they needed 11!) Big Mosher grinned, for at last – at long last – he was about to draw the enemy’s blood. He raised his choppa and gulped in the breath necessary to bellow the order to charge. But it was not to be. For in that instant, Malkey’s orcs, battered to a pulp by the foe attacking them on two sides, unable to surmount the defences, finally broke and fled. And as they did so, Big Mosher’s orcs joined them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG23_zpsddf11708.jpg)

It was the beginning of the end for the greenskins, although one might argue that had happened upon the very opening shot of the battle when Khurnag fell. As the goblin archers set to squabbling among themselves over who got what from their fallen comrades, Mosher’s boys rallied.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG24_zps83eda381.jpg)

But the greenskins’ will to fight had been bruised and battered. The survivors of the smaller mob continued their flight, while the rest just stood and watched as the now isolated regiment of rodoleros …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG25_zps62c1330e.jpg)

… turned and climbed back over behind the defences. Then one by one, the warriors of Khurnag’s Waagh began to fall back, most in silence. Their ears rang from the umpteen thunderous black powder volleys that had been launched in their direction, their skin being peppered by splinters of bone and teeth torn by leaden bullets from the bodies of those once standing with them.

The two chariots trundled aimlessly through the enemy camp …
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG26_zpsb2e44386.jpg)

… until one was run down and destroyed by the enemy horsemen. The other careened around and smashed its way back out of the enemy’s camp, taking the firelock company with them!

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/VMCvsKHURNAG27_zps579d8506.jpg)

As the fleeing handgunners skittered about to avoid the chariot’s scythes and its draught animals’ tusks and hooves, the rest of the soldiers of the VMC simply watched as the greenskins withdrew – after having reloaded once more just in case some madness caused the warriors of the Waagh to try one more assault. Gurmliss wandered if they were a Waagh at all anymore, if Khurnag was no longer leading them. Big Mosher, meanwhile, wondered whether he could fashion them into his own Waagh, but then immediately began to ponder whether he wanted such a broken force.

The VMC’s drums and horns sounded, the handgunners let loose a salute to victory, to be joined by cheering from all across the walls. The Meagre Company’s pikemen couldn’t believe that the battle had been won without them having to engage anyone, but cheered all the harder for it. And General Valckenburgh rode through his men to give and accept salutes, to offer and receive praise, and generally to revel in the defeat of such a mighty foe.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 08, 2014, 08:40:06 PM
Battle of the Princes
First Prologue: Morr Commands


The Archlector Calictus II of the Holy Church of Morr has commanded that the following be proclaimed by his priests throughout Tilea (and it has been):

I hereby address all Tileans, whether noble or common, rich or poor, young or old. You can tarry no more, nor is there even time to pray, for a doom is upon each and every one of you, and all that you hold dear, indeed all else, will be destroyed if you do not act. Not soon, nor later, nor ‘by and by’, but now, this very day.
 
In summer I spoke to you concerning the dire threat in the north, and demanded that all faithful servants of Morr and every lawful god must immediately take up arms to join in the stand against the undead. I instructed all city states and rulers to put aside any differences so that they march forth together to end the terror before it devours us all. Yet my words were not heeded, and the brave people of Viadaza stood alone against the foe. Such was their fearless faith that they were victorious in battle, and yet still their city fell - for the foe is numerous, many and more, and will rise to fight again and again unless beaten utterly, their bones broken and burned. And what does Tilea do? Even now wars are being fought over petty matters of trade and pride, concerning who governs this and who owns that, while still others languish in either indolence or ignorance believing they cannot be touched by the evil that has swallowed the north.

If this evil is not defeated, then there will be no rest eternal for anyone of you. Instead of peaceful repose in Morr’s garden, you, your family, your friends, all those you love, all those you know, will become corrupted, tortured and enslaved to the will of a vampire. This is no idle speculation, nor mere presumption, for this is exactly the fate of almost all those who only last year lived in the realms of Miragliano, Ebino and Viadaza. And still the evil grows, engulfing more and more of Tilea.
 
Now, I do not ask that you muster your own forces, look to your own defences and cease squabbling with your neighbours. Now, I order you - not merely to do those things, but to obey Morr’s will, the will of his church, the will of the Three churches, and do much more:
 
(Although this proclamation is being read in every Morrite church and temple, by clergy of every rank, in Remas the archlector himself read it out, standing on the wide steps before the hill top church of Saint Taroscio the Horribly Martyred. Clergymen attended him, with one priest holding the written proclamation for the archlector to read. Behind him stood several of his personal guardsmen, one of whom held the archlector's standard, bearing an ornate emblem depicting the keys into Morr's Garden and the Crown of the Three:)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RemanCrusade1_zps26b49a77.jpg)

By the seal ‘MMM, in full agreement with High Priest Flavio Tognazzi of the Holy Church of Mercopio and Arch Priest Luccino de Sicca of the Holy Church of Myrmidia, I hereby declare a Crusade against the wickedness in the north. Each and every able bodied, free Tilean is to muster immediately in arms to be guided by our priests, assembling armies sufficient to save our realm. Every ruling prince or council must do all they can to support this cause, mustering all militia and soldiers available to them in order to support the crusade (keeping only those forces vital to the safety of their own realm) and providing all necessary supplies to maintain those forces in the field. Furthermore, every prince and council is ordered for the greater good of the entire realm as well as in dutiful obedience to the will of the gods, to respect their neighbours, cease all petty squabbles and actions, and allow free passage of all crusading forces to either Remas or the north.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RemanCrusade2_zpsf369a83f.jpg)

Even now … (Here, in the speech he himself delivered, the archlector added ‘you’) … the men of the city state of Remas are girding arms. The city’s bells ring before dawn each day so that men may wake and gather to practise their postures. Let no other city or town, nobleman or militiaman shirk this duty.
 
Assemble. March. Fight.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 11, 2014, 07:11:06 PM
Battle of the Princes
Second Prologue: Light Relief


(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantineReliefForce1_zps8a12376c.jpg)

Prince Girenzo of Trantio had never intended to ride to battle with so few men. He had hired the best mercenary company in Tilea to fight for him, and if it proved necessary that he also himself fight, he expected to command a mighty army made of both his own soldiers and all those he paid for. Not now, however, for despite their promises that a raid against Pavona would be easy, the mercenaries of the Compagnia del Sole were close to failing him. After a hesitant start, they had eventually begun the work of looting and burning with vigour. Their initial delay, however, meant lingering just a little too long in the enemy’s territory and they had been caught. Now they had been very badly mauled in battle and were being pursued back towards Trantio, slowed down so much by their precious haul of plunder that they were very unlikely to reach it. As a consequence, Prince Girenzo’s hand was forced: either ride to their aid or lose the mercenaries and their plunder. Now it had come to open war, he needed both, which meant he had to choose the first option, no matter how risky it was.

Still, there was every reason to be optimistic. The relief column he now commanded consisted of men he could trust. He himself had overseen their thrice-weekly drilling in the fields outside his city walls, recognising both their competence in arms and their dedication to their service. The only thing he did lack was numbers - paying the mercenaries had drained his coffers. One unsubtle solution to the meagreness of his forces, an idea suggested by the commander of his gentlemen, Sir Gino Saltaramenda, was to sound much larger. Prince Girenzo had mused that it was more the sort of tactic an orc would use than the kind of strategic cunning an Myrmidian Tilean warrior might bring to bear. Sir Gino had replied that the enemy were only men, and that nervous ears could befuddle scouts and unsettle the enemy. In the end the prince had agreed. It would cost nothing. If it made no real difference, then there was no real loss.

So it was that at the head of the army three foot-soldiers marched with brass horns blaring out shrill notes as harmoniously as they could. It was not the most awe-inspiring of sounds, but when mixed with the tooting call of more horns further behind, and the rolling, petty thunder of myriad drums, it gave exactly the impression Sir Gino had suggested it would. The Prince had to admit that were he squatting upon the other side of the hill, afraid to come too close for fear of being spotted, he might indeed surmise that a vast horde of many regiments was marching along the road.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantineReliefForce2_zpsc8572a01.jpg)
 
Behind the trill-trio vanguard rode Trantio’s gentlemen at arms, led by the prince himself and his captain Sir Gino. The Medizi family coat of arms was emblazoned upon the white flag born by the company: a golden crown, chain and shield sporting blood red spots and fleurs-de-lys. The yellow and purple feather piled thick and high upon the standard bearer’s helm added suitably to the impression of royal authority.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantineReliefForce3_zpscb59f523.jpg)

Both prince and captain were silent. They had attempted once to talk over the blare and racket surrounding them, then given it up as a bad job. The prince held his heavy helm in the crook of his arm as he pondered what lay ahead of him. Beneath his breastplate, pressing with heavy yet welcome weight against his chest, was the magical talisman his father had sworn by. “I’d call it potent. That’s the word for it. Not once, nor twice, nor even three times,” the old prince would say to his son, then after a delay for silliness’ sake alone, “not even four times, nor five, but six - I tell you - six times this prettily carved bauble has saved my skin. Blades brought down in such a way that ought without question to have pierced me deep and deadly, born by warriors both strong and skilled, did little more than slip away as if they were broomsticks clutched in the trembling hands of weak and feeble old crones. Not every blow, mind you, as my scarred flesh and jarred bones do protest, but enough that I have lived to a ripe old age even after taking six risks too many.”

The old prince had been little like his son, for although he ruled his subjects as a tyrant, with his own family he was prone to long winded pronouncements over the most petty of matters whilst countering serious questions with jests and tomfoolery. It was a species of bravery, Girenzo had no doubt, but it was not for him. Nevertheless, in the case of the talisman his father was not merely jesting, for Prince Girenzo had examined witnesses and learned that if anything his father was playing down its power. The prince now wondered whether today was his own, first ‘risk too many’, a thought that soon turned into worrying whether the magical power bound up in such a thing might wane over time, until settling upon doubts that it could possibly work against bullet or ironshot. His father had only spoken of blades.

Of course he showed not the slightest hint of his concerns. Those who looked upon him would have presumed him to be lost in idle, almost careless thought, and certainly not troubled by the consequences of the imminent fight.

Behind the prince and his gentlemen marched the foot soldiers, first being a large regiment of the city’s militia, every man bearing the pike he had practised with time and time again. At their head they carried two standards: the army’s battle standard bearing the Medizi coat of arms bordered in yellow, and their own standard bearing the emblem of Trantio – a red fleur-de-lys prettified up with curlicues and flourishes. Of course, not one but two drummers beat the march at their fore.
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantineReliefForce4_zps58d84e1a.jpg)

At the rear marched a company of crossbowmen, part of the Compagnia del Sole who remained in Trantio while the rest wait upon the raid. They too had a drummer, but just as loud were their conjoined voices, sending the words of their soldiers’ bawdy songs echoing round the hills. Between them and the pike trundled the Compagnia’s horse artillery, which one might suppose ought to have gone with the raiders, but Prince Girenzo wanted it to hand to be dispatched quickly to wherever it was needed. The gunner was a dwarf, mounted on a pony, while his two mates rode the lead pair of draught horses.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantineReliefForce5_zps18f31a7a.jpg)
…………………………………………………………………………………………
Army List (Campaign list – modified from Treachery & Greed campaign list)

Prince Girenzo (Tilean Noble) 177 pts; Warhorse, barding, full plate. Talisman of Preservation, Biting Blade, Enchanted Shield
Special rules: Hold the Line.

Condotta Captain 84 pts; Mercenary skill - Hopelessly stubborn: Character, & any unit he joins, is stubborn.

Condotta Captain 79 pts; Battle Standard

8 Knights 209 pts; Full Plate, Warhorse, Shields, barding, lances // Full command (Champion = Sir Gino) 

30 Militia Pikemen 265 pts; Light armor, pikes. Full Command

16 Condotta Marksmen 115 pts; Light armor, crossbows. Full Command

Horse Artillery 85 pts; 1 machine, 3 crewmen. As cannon, except range 24“, S7 & causing d3 wounds. Grapeshot S4, armour piercing. Cannon & crew can move 8”, can march, & can even move & fire (tho’ not march & fire). May flee charges, even tho’ war machines may not usually do so. May not stand & shoot.

Total Cost = 1014 pts
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 23, 2014, 07:47:12 PM
Battle of the Princes

The very western spur of the Trantine Hills, Winter IC2401-2


For most seasons the bridge over the Little Carrena was only used by wagons and coaches – those on foot or horseback found it just as easy to cross the dry river bed of stones. During the months of late autumn and winter, however, it would run with water, sometimes so much that a man would wade waist deep to cross it. So it was that the fleeing remnants of the Compagnia del Sole had been forced to cross the bridge, an action which slowed their progress and made many amongst them fearful of being caught by their pursuer, Duke Guidobaldo.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces1_zps90e11687.jpg)

Their fear, however, proved unfounded, for not only did they cross in safety, but they then met with Prince Girenzo of Trantio and his relief force. After brief consultation, it was decided to array as one army upon the northern side of the river and there make a stand against the foe. The prince did not want them to approach any closer to his precious Trantio, and the mercenaries were tired of running (and lugging their loot). Besides, as Prince Girenzo and General Fortebraccio agreed, the decision was tactically sound: they both knew that attempting to retreat when an enemy was close gave your men the idea that they were fleeing. Once they got that into their heads, then all order and cohesion was almost certainly lost, and what they believed would indeed become the case.

General Fortebraccio still had some tricks up his sleeve, and by clever use of misdirection, concealment and a few broken horses, gave the Pavonans the impression that his Compagnia del Sole soldiers had deployed with their baggage strung out on the far left of their line, and that his heavy horse regiment was clustered in the centre by Prince Girenzo’s gentlemen.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces2_zpsc5b956a2.jpg)

The trick worked. (Game Note: Army list mercenary skill - ‘Tactician’, meaning two units can redeploy after all deployment.) This was the deployment reported to Duke Guidobaldo, and thus the one which he arrayed his own army to face. In truth,  however, the Compagnia’s horse were out on the far right flank, and the baggage (of course) were tucked safely behind the centre of the Trantian army’s line.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces4_zpsaacdf3b9.jpg)

Duke Guidobaldo had not tarried too long at Astiano. Once the enemy was broken and fled the field, he halted only long enough to reform his fighting companies, recover his lightly wounded and see to it that the more seriously injured would be tended to. If he had been willing to wait a few days longer, he knew he would receive reinforcements from both Astiano and Pavona, but he was more keen to catch the remnant of the Compagnia del Sole before they could escape his clutches, to retrieve the plunder looted from his newly built settlement upon the Via Aurelia at Casoli. Some amongst his soldiers believed he also wanted the world to know that he was not afraid of a fight, not the sort of man to allow hesitation or caution to cause him to tarry.

His army arrayed itself amongst the loops of the stream, as if they cared not a jot about the slippery rocks or getting their feet wet in the cold of winter. His pistoliers acted as outriders on his right flank, and came clattering across the little bridge as the army completed manoeuvring into line of battle. The duke and his son rode with their last few knights, carefully crossing the stream behind the artillery so that the Duke could see his precious pieces well placed. He wanted them to do well, for if they did not it would make his choice to allow them to slow the whole army down in their pursuit look foolish. A regiment of swords was next in line, flanked by a company of handgunners. Two bodies of halberdiers, separated by a tiny group of archers, came next, while a large regiment of handgunners were placed on the far left. His own baggage was tucked behind the hill upon which his largest regiment of halberdiers was standing.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces3_zps913e8275.jpg)

Of course, the pistoliers wasted no time on the bridge, and came wheeling boldly from its northern end to begin riding fast towards the foe. Some sported blue and white cloaks or feathers, so that none could mistake them for anything other than Pavonans.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces5_zps392d30bd.jpg)

(Game Note: Deployment and vanguard moves completed. The actual fighting to follow asap.)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: timothymayer on July 25, 2014, 02:00:01 AM
The detail alone is impressive.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 29, 2014, 08:16:43 PM
Battle of the Princes Continued


Duke Guidobaldo’s pistoliers galloped onwards towards the forlorn hope of mercenary crossbowmen isolated upon the hill on the far of the Trantian line.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces6_zps1932d701.jpg)

This bold move was not matched by the rest of the Pavonan army, as nearly every other unit simply stood, waiting. A small detachment of archers did creep up behind the central hill, while the company of handgunners on the far left found a way to be even more cautious – by falling back a few yards. The Pavonan wizard’s magical conjurings harmed no-one, merely forcing Luchino Janecci, the Compagnia del Sole’s battle wizard, to read his dispel scroll. At this range not much in the way of artillery could be played upon the foe, and apart from the three crossbowmen who fell to the pistoliers’ close range volley, only two pikemen and one of Prince Girenzo’s knights were killed by a cannonball. 

The Trantine army responded with a somewhat more aggressive action, advancing their four main fighting bodies without delay. Yet they too displayed elements of caution, due mainly to two reasons: none were keen to allow the enemy to bring their full firepower to bear (especially their vicious looking volley-gun) and, more importantly, the Pavonans were arrayed in such a way that they might bring a considerable portion of their fighting strength to bear upon the rather exposed left flank of the Trantian line, most likely supported by their pistoliers. So it was that while the rightmost regiment of horse moved as fast as possible to close the gap between themselves and the hesitant regiment of handgunners, the second body of knights moved in such a way as to be concealed by the central hill, and the halberdiers on the left – led by the mercenary General Fortebraccio – slowed and wheeled away from the line to angle themselves more towards the enemy threatening from the left.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces7_zpsd2b576d2.jpg)

Magic and shooting brought about nothing of any real consequence, something Prince Girenzo had thought might well prove to be the case. As he rode upon the left of the front rank of his gentlemen-at-arms he accepted that to defeat the foe he would have to close with them and fight hand to hand. Glancing to his left he wondered if his well-drilled but little experienced militia pikemen would prove capable of such a task.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces8_zps129fd70b.jpg)

He already had his doubts about the Compagnia del Sole – after all he was only here because they had chosen to flee instead of fight. Yet his own meagre force could not fight this battle alone – he needed the mercenaries to fight this time. The halberdiers’ movement away from his neat line of battle was worrying. He would just have to lead by example, and hope that they were suitably reassured. If not that, then perhaps they would fight simply to ensure that their employer remained alive and victorious, and so able to pay them what they were owed.

Some way behind him the crew of his galloper gun were attempting to line up their piece’s muzzle on the pistoliers, knowing a lucky shot now could prove crucial to the safety of the army’s left flank.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces9_zps7f9667aa.jpg)

Their shot, however, fell short. (Game Note: My extensive pencil notes say nothing about the actual shot. Which means it is in fact possible that I forgot to take it. My excuse is that battles are distracting, and I am easily distracted.) The pistoliers took the cannon’s failure as a sign to do something immediately or suffer the consequences of a better placed second shot. So, while the crew of the cannon hurriedly re-loaded, they ignored the three surviving crossbowmen on the hill and hurtled directly towards their potential ruin.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces10_zpse50f31ae.jpg)

The Pavonan Duke Guidobaldo and his son Lord Polcario had got themselves and their few remaining knights stuck behind their artillery pieces. Considering this, and that there was no immediate target for the volley-gun, the multi-barrelled gun’s crew were ordered to drag it out of the way immediately. As soon as there was space enough, the heavily armoured regiment thundered forwards to the rear of the handgunner detachment. The foot also began an advance, with the three main regiments moving obliquely.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces11_zps90f3e9bc.jpg)

As they did so, and even though the winds of magic were currently weak, one of the Pavonan battle wizards summoned a flame storm to rain death upon the Trantian pikemen, killing a dozen and leaving the rest reeling, sickened by the foul stench of cooked flesh arising from the charred corpses. With their prince so close, the survivors found the courage to march on, despite their horrible loss. The Pavonan wizard was exultant, but his expression of joy was misjudged as some uncontrolled wisps of magical energy had remained coiled around him – these now burst to send a ripple of destruction through the swordsmen he was marching with. Eight men fell dead. The wizard did not let it show, but he was secretly thankful that the soldiers did not seem to realise that the harm had been his doing and not some curse conjured by the foe.

The Pavonan cannon sent a ball directly at Prince Girenzo, who very fortuitously moved out of its path in the last moment. The ball killed the man next to him and spattered blood and splinters of bone on the prince’s bright armour. His face blanched, though none saw as it was hidden beneath his helm. The handgunners threatened by the Compagnia del Sole’s heavily armoured horsemen brought down two with a volley, then loaded quickly to fire one more volley as they were charged. Agitated and rushed as they were, this second volley was launched a little too high, and the Compagnia’s yellow and white striped lances hit them hard.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces12_zps1c5f54dc.jpg)

The large company of mercenary crossbowmen upon the hill to the right of their baggage now turned to face the pistoliers, as did General Fortebraccio’s halberdiers. Prince Girenzo narrowed his eyes as he saw them move even further from him. Trust them to think only of protecting the loot in the baggage! He intended to hit the foe as one line, with the crossbowmen supporting the attack. He certainly cared not if the enemy played a while with the baggage. Now his army had broken into two, and all because of one single enemy unit.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces13_zpsbd876f55.jpg)

The Compagnia del Sole’s heavy horsemen smashed through the handgunners, then ran down those who fled. What they did not know was that the enemy’s cannon crew had spotted them, and were already lugging their piece around to aim it. Had they known they might have foregone the satisfaction of hacking down an already broken foe and instead reformed in such a way as to minimise the harm the cannon could do to them. (Game Note: Almost as soon as I declared my pursuit I realised the mistake. Such is the heat of battle!)

Prince Girenzo and his knights moved forwards, while the men of the shattered pike regiment matching his move were glad of the concealment the hill in front of them provided. Both flew his brightly hued personal banner, both garbed in brightly fierce colours. One might think by their appearance that they were the sort of warriors unconcerned about being spotted by the enemy’s guns. One would be wrong to do so, however, for both had spotted the serried muzzles of the organ gun earlier, and heard the blast of the cannon twice already. They were only too aware of what might await them when they ascended the hill betwixt them and the foe.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces14_zps57112f0f.jpg)

(Game Note: For the purposes of this battle, set in a hilly region of Tilea, we had a scenario rule that TLoS did not count for the hills – they were to be considered real hills rather than slight mounds. Certainly sufficient to hide men, whether on foot or mounted.)

The mercenary wizard Luchino unleashed a magical blast of chain lightning on the pistoliers, killing four. As they turned and fled, the cannon killed another and cheers went up from the crossbowmen and halberdiers watching. General Fortebraccio allowed himself to smile, but then suddenly wondered whether his order to turn his men to face the now-beaten foe was an over-reaction. He stepped from the ranks to look towards his employer, the Prince, and was forced to accept that he had indeed broken what had been a fairly solid line. Still, he thought, the Pavonans were not exactly rushing towards them. Surely there was time enough to restore a fighting formation?

So, as on a few previous occasions, it’s quiz time. This is the end of Turn 2. You’ve seen the battle in great detail, and know quite a bit about the forces involved. Who’s gonna win this one?

Next part to follow soon.

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 30, 2014, 05:28:40 PM
Awww, go on go on go on go on ... someone have a guess (educated or not) re: the winner. It's my contention that at this point in the battle, what with the two players being very amateurish at 8th ed, and both roleplaying their army commanders well, that it could go either way from this point.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on July 31, 2014, 12:01:58 PM
I say the Pavonans
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Von Kurst on August 03, 2014, 12:10:30 AM
I think its a trick question  :biggriin:

Looking forward to the rest of the battle report though, stop stalling!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 04, 2014, 10:23:26 PM
I'll post the next bit, Uryens, and we'll see if your prediction looks more likely. And Von Kurst, rather than delay any more, 'll put the next bit up even though I haven't quite got to the end yet.

The Trantian mercenary crossbowmen and halberdiers watched as the few surviving Pavonan pistoliers found the courage to rally.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces15_zpsf544edbe.jpg)

At that moment, Duke Guidobaldo at last gave the signal to his army to advance at the double and attack the foe in bloody combat. Swordsmen, knights and halberdiers now all came on, glad to see their enemy had divided itself in two.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces16_zpsc956c63a.jpg)

The Pavonan gunners on the hill could not believe their luck as they aligned the barrel of their piece to aim down a line of the Compagnia del Sole’s mounted men at arms. Lowering the linstock to touch burning matchcord to the trail of bruised powder dribbled behind the touchhole they sent a roundshot through no less than five of the armoured riders. The survivors, the men of the front-rank, were stunned, then their shock turned into anger rather than fear – anger at their own stupidity as well as at the foe. (Game Note: Boy, was I cursing. Those figures took me ages to paint!)

Unwilling to allow the Pavonans to gain all the initiative, and hoping somehow to buy some time for the prince’s knights and the mercenary halberdiers to get themselves into the fight, the Trantian militia pikemen now charged the blue and white swordsmen before them. As the two regiments clashed, the banners flew thick above them, for each side carried both their own regimental and their army’s banners. The fight was instantly bloody, a furious melee in which seven swordsmen and six pikemen died while the commanders fought gallantly in their midst. (Game Note: Annoyingly, I forgot to direct any of up to six possible, re-rolling ones, attacks against the enemy wizard, who would surely have perished had I done so!)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces17_zps24e16fa1.jpg)

General Fortebraccio, commander of the Compagnia del Sole, knew full well what was required of him, and gave the command for his regiment to reform as swiftly as possible so that he could march them up rapidly in support. His men, however, proved sluggish and distracted, and it was all he could do to get them to face towards the massed foe instead of the pistoliers. (Game Note: A pretty critical ‘swift reform’ failure!) He knew he would be hard pushed now to get into the fight quickly enough to swing the balance.

The wizard Luchino conjured a harmonic convergence to bless the pike and the crossbowmen, then, deftly directing the winds of magic swirling around him, he sent flashes of chain lightning tearing into the second regiment of Pavonan halberdiers, killing six, then he lured it to strike at the Duke’s own knights, killing two of them also. The last few searing bolts then strayed towards the handgunner detachment to kill another two men. The sound of thunder followed, as is normally the case with mundane lightning, but it was actually the Trantian artillery piece spitting a hail of grapeshot into the pistoliers.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces18_zpsf08df92c.jpg)

Two more pistoliers died. The surviving pair, perhaps too exhausted, battered and bruised to fully comprehend the awful damage done to them, simply spurred their horses away from the smoke that wreathed them and galloped back towards the centre of the field.

Prince Girenzo, leading his gentlemen-at-arms, began now to swing around towards the enemy flank. As he himself rounded the hill, he could see that his militia pike were much reduced in strength and that not only were the enemy’s own heavy horsemen were launching into a charge into the isolated pikemen’s flank, but a regiment of halberdiers were about to hit the other flank.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces19_zpsbaf849c2.jpg)

As the chargers went smashing in …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces20_zps59d49b41.jpg)

… the prince signalled to his men to follow him. If the pike could hold just a little longer against the foe, even though outnumbered and surrounded on three sides, then he would be leading his knights into the enemy’s rear and would surely do great harm to them.

There was another small regiment of enemy halberdiers unengaged behind the melee …
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces22_zps02b85674.jpg)

… but Prince Girenzo reckoned he and his knights could still prevail. All hinged upon whether his militia stood their ground.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces21_zps398592de.jpg)

Far to the rear the last surviving Compagnia del Sole mounted man at arms accompanied Captain Scarpa as he splashed over the Little Carrena towards the Pavonan baggage. The two of them intended to kill the peasants tending the horses and mules, then gallop up the slope beyond to the cannon, there to avenge the brutal slaying of their comrades.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces23_zpsbc51b27c.jpg)

The Pavonans’ attempts at conjuring magical harm were proving weak, while their cannon shot at Prince Girenzo’s knights simply buried itself into the earth. The last two blood-spattered Pavonan pistoliers brought down two of the Compagnia del Sole’s baggage guard with their shots and a volley from their handgunners maimed one of the Prince’s horse artillery crewmen.

The melee in the centre of the field proved to be costly, with more than half a dozen men killed on each side. While Lord Polcario struggled to get to grips with a surprisingly nimble-footed champion, the Trantine battle standard bearer – made somewhat more deadly by the magical Harmonic Convergence still blessing him and the regiment - slew the cowering Pavonan wizard and wounded their own battle standard bearer. Just like his son, Duke Guidobaldo could not find purchase for his blade. Perhaps it was the brightly coloured enemy standard fluttering in his face, all of six foot by six foot, that distracted him?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces25_zps797f03cb.jpg)

Within moments, before most the men fighting had taken more than two or three strained breaths, the ground was strewn with the dead and dying.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces24_zpscd9e5873.jpg)
(Game Note: An enforced break in game-play allowed me to do some posed shots, a luxury not normally open to me.)

A little way behind the mercenary general Micheletto Fortebrachio watched. For a brief moment he too wondered if the pikemen could hold. If so then he could lead his veteran halberdiers into the flank of the enemy knights. Such an action would win them the battle for certain, for as the Prince cut into the rear of the foe from the other flank, he and his own men could hack down both Pavonan lords, the Duke and his son.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces26_zpsc5d0af23.jpg)

In truth, the fate of the whole of central Tilea hung in the balance. If the Lord of Pavona and his heir died here, then Trantio would become the major power. If the Trantians failed, Pavona was very likely to swallow yet another state in into its growing empire.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces27_zps2865987e.jpg)

Yet, despite the heroic actions of their commanders and the close proximity of their prince and general, the Trantian pikemen broke and ran, to be hacked down by the pursuing Pavonan nobility. (Game Note: I had a re-rollable 6 or less break test. And failed. What a difference a pass would have made! Still, I am the campaign GM not a player so I don’t actually care – story is all to me!)

General Fortebraccio had time enough merely to shout the command to brace, before the Pavonan knights hit him and his halberdiers at full gallop.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces28_zpsb759cd8d.jpg)

Even now Prince Trantio saw that the battle was not lost for certain. While the Compagnia del Sole’s halberdiers held the Pavonan knights, he and his gentlmen could conceivably cut a swathe through the foe, so that he could face Duke Guidobaldo himself. And as he thought this, he realised it was what he wanted all along – to face his enemy in personal combat and to cut him down with his own sword.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces29_zps346312b2.jpg)

It was time to order the charge.

(Now half way through turn 4. It’ll be a couple of days before I can complete the rest.)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on August 06, 2014, 11:16:17 PM
I want to say the Compagnia del Sole. But that's the thing about battles. You never know whose won until much, much later.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 07, 2014, 03:02:43 PM
In this case, Doowop, you're gonna find out right now...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

If he was to reach the Duke, Prince Girenzo would have plough his way through several intervening units. This he was entirely happy to do, itching to begin the excitement of sword play in a life and death melee. The first unit in his way was a company of swordsmen, so with a thunder of hooves he and his men set off. The swordsmen had seen the prince’s approach, however, and promptly fled away long before he could reach them. This left the prince and his little body of gentlemen staring at both the wide muzzle of the cannon and the multiple mouths of the helblaster volley gun. In that moment, the prince’s previous excitement was snuffed out. (Game Note: For years now I have had the bad habit of forgetting to take into account the fact that a charged foe can simply opt to run away, which can be critical if the charge is a long one. I am beginning to wonder if my opponents have long since cottoned on to this deficiency in my thinking.)

The Duke and his son hit the Compagnia’s halberdiers hard, slaying eight of them, including the wizard Janacci, while Lord Polcario bloodied General Fortebraccio in a personal combat.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces30_zps05178f94.jpg)

The men of the Compagnia seemed to understand that their reputation and any chance of future success lay upon this combat and stood their ground defiantly. Once again, however, the Pavonans were readying themselves to charge against a Trantian regiments flank, and the orders were already being shouted to the battered but intact body of halberdiers close by. Thus it was that they charged, led bravely by their stout champion wielding a bright steel, flamberge bladed bastard sword.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces34_zpsa1b8d2d0.jpg)

The last surviving pair of pistoliers now charged headlong into the left flank of the large body of crossbowmen on the hill, who had only recently reformed away from the pistoliers in the assumption that they no longer represented a threat! The men guarding the baggage were glad not to be receiving pistol shots, but unnerved by the fact that the enemy was riding so freely close by. Witnessing the blue and white halberdiers crashing into the flank of General Fortebraccio’s guard hardly reassured them either.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces31_zps6840f602.jpg)

The last surviving Pavonan wizard, having spotted the prince and his knights, now wove a powerful spell indeed out of the winds of magic gushing about him. Once satisfied he had bound as much power in as possible, he sent a magical blast of searing heat at the heavily armoured band, the sort of assault that their layers of steel not only failed to provide protection against, but actually made things worse. Three of the prince’s six companions fell screaming from their saddles as their mounts bucked, reared and squealed horribly, their own hide being burned by the now super-heated metal they too wore. His flesh sorely singed, the prince tore his helm from his head and gave vent to a loud curse, something which was for him so unusual that two of his surviving gentlemen at arms turned to look at him rather than their badly suffering comrades. They even failed to notice as an iron roundshot flew just above their plumed helms, but then were cruelly snapped out of their stupor as the helblaster sent a very loudly clattering hail of leaden balls into them, one of which went through the slit of a visor to instantly kill the man wearing it.

Prince Girenzo, blood pouring from his ear which had been grazed by a lead-shot, his sword hanging limp from a leather strap tied to his wrist, his own personal standard flying ragged above his head, and his body blistered in a dozen places from what magical heat had burned his own armour, found his voice had abandoned him. So, with great haste, yet silently, and with wisps of smoke trailing behind them, he and his last two companions yanked their reins to turn their horses about and fled from the field in the direction of Trantio city.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces32_zps3ab3e642.jpg)

For him at least, this battle was over: his army was destroyed, his mercenaries in the process of being so. His city, however, still survived. There he had a standing garrison force, and even some artillery pieces too heavy to be brought to this battle. He did not intend also to lose his home to the Duke of Pavona, and it was with this stubborn aim in mind, rather than anguish or fear, that he rode hard and fast away from the battlefield. He had work to do.

The two pistoliers managed to shoot one of the crossbowmen, but the foe lost no time reforming to face them and bring their strength to bear.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces33_zpsd50b9923.jpg)

At the rear of the field, entirely unaware of how ill the battle fared for the Compagnia elsewhere, and having slaughtered all those accompanying the Pavonan baggage train, Captain Scarpa’s angry rage failed to dissipate, so he rode on to attack the crew of the cannon that had felled so many of his men.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces35_zps28ea4497.jpg)

In the midst of the field, surrounded by scattered corpses and wounded men writhing in agony, the combat continued. General Fortebraccio rained blows upon Lord Polcario, yet was unable to harm him. The Compagnia del Sole’s halberdiers fought bravely and skilfully, killing another knight in the Duke’s retinue (so that only one now remained with Duke and his son), as well as an enemy halberdier. At another time, with more enemies threatening, this might have broken the Pavonans, but even as they were bloodied and pushed back, they could sense the enemy's desperation, and besides they knew full well that the battle was nearly won. They were not going to run now.

Prince Girenzo’s light artillery piece’s barrel now shivered, maiming both men still crewing it, while near the Compagnia’s baggage the pistoliers broke and fled away from the crossbowmen. In the middle of the field Lord Polcario and General Fortebraccio could still do each other no harm, but the halberdiers brought down the last Pavonan knight. The Duke now redoubled his efforts, which had been mighty before, and cut down two of the foe, as to more fell to his own halberdiers fighting on the flank. This was the end for the mercenaries, who now, finally, turned to flee, only for each and every one of them to be trampled or hacked down as they did so. General Fortebraccio lay dying amongst them, so battered and bloody that he was barely recognisable, just another broken corpse in the pile.

As the Duke and Lord Polcario, accompanied now by the last few survivors of the halberdiers, came galloping and running past them, the pistoliers rallied yet again. They halted momentarily to see that the crossbowmen who had just sent them running were now marching away from the hill and the battlefield, then realised that the noblemen and soldiers they had just encountered were cheering as they burst upon the baggage train, killing all those who cowered there.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/BattleOfThePrinces36_zps5fb95528.jpg)

With the merest of glances at each other, as if to ask: “Are you still able and willing?” they spurred their mounts and rushed on to join the looting.

The Battle of the Princes was over, another victory for Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona. Another sign that his war was just (despite what the Reman priests were saying). His army had frightened Prince Girenzo off the field, all but utterly destroyed the Compagnia del Sole and re-captured the loot taken from his own realm. And all this had been done with him and his son at the fore, in the thickest of the fighting, earning glory and honour in the eyes of his men. There would be no stopping him now.

(Game Note: I nearly began writing all about what else is going on, the Duke’s plans and expectations, whether or not he is to be reinforced, and what he intends next. But then I remembered this is a campaign, the Duke is a player character, and the player in question would not thank me for revealing such things. Ah well, I will have to make do with an epilogue from an NPC’s perspective, which should follow shortly.)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on August 07, 2014, 03:31:41 PM
Nailed it.

The Compagnia Del Sol were in battle, stand  to reason they'd lose hah
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 07, 2014, 03:37:58 PM
Nailed it.

The Compagnia Del Sol were in battle, stand  to reason they'd lose hah

My big problem now is that I own all these Compagnia del Sole figures. Either (a) they slowly reform or (b) I re-paint their livery and call them something else! Or (c) I forget about them (fools) and bring in a force that'll scare all of you!

Hmm, Tilean campaign - what could that force be? Hmm.

In the meantime, I still (bizarrely) have a last few Compagnia soldiers to finish painting! (You'll see why soon.) Oh, and I've been collecting fiddly bits of plastic for some months now for another project. And I have more undead in the early stages of painting. And a new packet of Wood Elves. Oh, and the players are quite understandably concerned re: why everything takes me so long!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: cagicus on August 07, 2014, 07:54:21 PM
I'm sorry but I cannot give my blessing to this
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 07, 2014, 08:49:34 PM
I'm sorry but I cannot give my blessing to this

Ooh, now that was very unexpected.  :icon_biggrin: I never thought that his holiness the Arch-Lector of Morr, Calticus II himself would speak here. I especially did not expect him to frame his announcement of disgust as an apology!

BTW: Hello Cagicus. There's stuff coming your way soon re: the campaign - letters, ambassadors, and that sort of thing.

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: damo_b on August 08, 2014, 11:54:17 AM
Compagnia Del Sol good as ever.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: cagicus on August 08, 2014, 01:19:43 PM
His holiness himself? No. I merely have... an association with his holiness.
I expect, he would, like me, view this in sorrow. Good men, Lords and commoners alike, who will all come to Morr in the end to give account for their worldly choices have chosen to spill each other's blood for mere politics while the undead menace grows. The church, and indeed all right loving peoples look on in sorrow.
But all is not lost. I know his holiness is praying for you all and would forgive and welcome with open arms any who repent and flock to the true cause.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on August 08, 2014, 10:50:51 PM
I still think, emotionally, the Compagnia won....

You planning on using the upcoming Perry plastics to flesh out your forces?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 21, 2014, 10:55:02 PM
(@ Doowop: I do indeed intend to get a hold of them. Though fleshing out my forces isn't strictly necessary at this stage. It's more a matter of painting the same sort of stuff but in different colours!)

..........................................................

Battle of the Princes
Epilogue: I Surrender


A few miles south of Trantio City

Even before he opened the lid of the battered chest, Ruggero knew it would be waste of time. He raised it anyway, snapping one of the old hinges in the process. The lid fell backwards with a clump to hang ungainly and twisted. Inside lay moth-eaten rags and the ugly remains of a child’s poppet, a dead spider still clinging to the gaping hole in its mouldy, paper mache head.

“There’s absolutely nothing here of any use,” he said, not for the first time.

Placido was crouching down to look beneath the cloth upon the table, his armour clattering as he did so. After little more than a glance he pulled his head away with a disgusted cough and let the cloth drop back, but not before Ruggero caught a glimpse of the pot beneath. By the look on Placido’s face it had obviously not been emptied in a while.

“Nothing we can eat, anyway,” said Placido.

Ruggero suppressed a grin. “Whoever lives here must’ve taken it all with them.” He sat himself down on a rickety stool and dragged the blue and maroon cap from his head to scratch behind his ear. If last night had not been so cold, and this night likely to be so again, he would have discarded the cap and his similarly liveried tunic too. If he was going to be caught he would rather be taken for a Trantian soldier than a mercenary of the Compagnia del Sole. Duke Guidobaldo and his Pavonans hated the Trantians, but had much more of a grudge to settle with the Compagnia. Maybe he ought to try the rags in the chest, see if they could keep him warm? Maybe he could wrap himself in the cloth from the table tonight.

“Could have been some other soldiers got here before us,” suggested Placido.

Ruggero shook his head. “No, I don’t reckon that’s it. The place was too neat and tidy. This chest would have been smashed open already, and all the rest scattered higgledy-piggedy.” Much as it was now, he thought, after his and Placido’s search.

Placido slumped in the one chair by the table, causing it to creak loudly at the unaccustomed weight of a fully armoured man. He grinned, like he always did before saying something daft. “There’s a pot under there if you need to go.”

“I’d need food in my belly some time in the last three days for that to happen.”

“We should have gone with the others,” said Placido. “Renato il Famelico was with them, and he can smell food out like a hound can sniff out a hare.”

“No, it was - and is - best we’re on our own. The others’ll be leaving a trail behind them a blind man could follow, never mind a hound. We’ll do better making our own way.”

“Right then,” said Placido with enthusiasm, as if all of a sudden he was fully rested. Getting to his feet once more he gestured to the door. “Let’s make our own way. We don’t want to tarry here too long.”

Ruggero stayed put on his stool. “Tell me, Placido, if you’re so keen to move quickly, why are you still wearing your armour? We’re on foot, just the two of us, fleeing for our lives from a victorious foe who wants our guts for garters, and you’re still sporting plate steel from head to toe. How in Myrmidia's name does that make any sense?”

Placido was standing by the back door, his hand resting on the bar. “It makes plenty of sense. For a start if we have to fight, or if someone sees us from afar and thinks to send a quarrel our way, then I’d rather have the armour on than off. And, when we get away, we’ve got nothing else to sell. This armour will sell for gold, not mere silver. And that will buy us food, and plenty of it.”

If we get away, not when,” corrected Ruggero. “Right now, getting away is far more important than what we do after we get away.”

“Then let’s get away,” said Placido, a note of frustration in his voice from having to repeat himself. He hefted the bar from its hooks and dropped it to the ground. When he turned the handle and pushed however, the door did not budge. “Locked,” he announced. “So …" (he glanced around) "we go out the way we came in.”

Ruggero hushed him, and raised a hand to tell him not to move either. “I just heard something outside,” he whispered.

“Huh?”

“When you dropped the bar - I heard something.”

“Oh, it’s always my fault, isn’t it?”

“Sshh!”

As the window was shuttered, Ruggero moved to the front door instead. It made no difference whether he opened the door or the shutter, if there was someone outside they would notice either way. Might as well be bold and use the door. That way, if there was trouble, there would already be a means for a quick exit.

Once again Ruggero whispered. “I’ll go take a look.” Somewhat distracted by his predicament, he pulled the cap back down on his head, then stepped boldly through the door. Dazzled by the sunlight outside, he could not help but close his eyes momentarily. As he opened them slowly, blinking, blue and white shapes before him took form. His eyes grew wide.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/SurrenderA_zpsa2de3738.jpg)

He gulped. The shapes were Pavonan soldiers, and lots of them. The bright light was glittering upon the polished, sharpened steel of the halberd points they lowered towards him.

“Good morrow,” he said, trying to sound unafraid.

A question came from somewhere among the crowd, although Ruggero was too dazzled and discomfited to identify who exactly said it. “Anyone else?”

“Placido,” he shouted, his voice faltering a little as he raised his hands. “Best come out, and best hold your hands up.”

Another time the clattering of Placido’s approach might have seemed comical. Just now, such jollity was far from Ruggero’s mind.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Surrender1_zps855f9c1e.jpg)

As Placido emerged through the door, the steel tips came a little closer, and Ruggero noticed a pistol muzzle in their midst.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Surrender2_zps359d664e.jpg)

It was levelled right at his breast, held in the armoured hand of a dismounted pistolier.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Surrender3_zps343519a7.jpg)

Another voice spoke. “Looks like we’ve got a brace of bad ‘uns here, lads. The same naughty thieves who thought they might plunder and burn our villages, then run away.”

This time Ruggero had enough wits about him to see who it was – a Pavonan officer, a young man with an orange and blue panache sprouting flamboyantly from his cap. Somewhere in the back of his mind he remembered these where also the colours of the Morrite Guard in Remas. The officer also clutched a pistol.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Surrender3B_zps73a6d0c1.jpg)

“This one isn’t running anymore, though” the Pavonan continued. “I suppose what with you doing so much running, from Venafro, from Astiano, from the Little Carrena, your legs are tired?”

It was not the sort of question one was expected to answer. Behind the already plentiful blades, even more Pavonan soldiers were arriving, joining the throng outside the cottage to see what had been found.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Surrender4_zpse62e0d5f.jpg)

The Pistolier stepped even closer. “You dogs,” he said, “have a lot to answer for.” He formed his words slowly, as if it pained him to say them. “Good men died trying to teach you a lesson. I reckon if you can’t learn it, then there’s no point in the lesson continuing.” He turned the pistol on its side, the way riders often did to make a mere flash in the pan a little less likely.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Surrender3A_zps4ad8879e.jpg)

Ruggero knew there was little he could do to save himself. Just like his choice between the door and the window, whether he spoke or held his tongue, it made no difference. It was not his way, however, simply to give in. “I don’t suppose there’s any way we can make these words not my last?” he asked, the faintest of smiles playing on his lips.

(Edited for grammar.)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 30, 2014, 08:11:53 AM
Trantio Tested
The last days of 2401

The war between Pavona and Trantio had raged for half a year until now, for the first time, one of the two cities was directly threatened. Prince Girenzo of Trantio, fled home from his crushing defeat at the Little Carrena, mustered his last remaining mercenaries and militia soldiers to man the city walls and vowed that despite the odds, the enemy would not take his city. His officers set about stockpiling supplies for the forthcoming siege, seeking out potential saboteurs and spies, and ordering labourers to repair and strengthen. Crossbowmen patrolled the huge stone walls and halberdiers guarded the gates, while artillery pieces were hauled up earthen ramps to be emplaced upon the towers. Trantio became a hive of desperate activity. Although many were frightened and some were panicked, few among the populace begrudged the labours, for when a threatened people toil willingly for their own defence.

Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona had also been busy, scouting the approaches to Trantio city. He ordered the land scoured to gather of sufficient fodder for his horses and provisions for his men, thus preventing the foe from taking the same, as well as the cutting down of trees to fashion great numbers of scaling ladders. Before his siege camp was even completed he received numerous reinforcements from his own realm to swell the ranks of his victorious but battered force. Then when satisfied that he was ready to assault the city he sent a herald unto the very walls of Trantio to issue a summons to yield. No answer was given, so the Duke ordered his army to array in the fields before the southern gate, while his lightest troops, being huntsmen and pistoliers, moved boldly within range of the walls as if they cared nothing for the crossbowmen and cannons upon them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle1_zpsd520ea60.jpg)

Such rashness seemed recently to have become the way of the Pavonans, for they believed themselves to be the favoured servants of Morr, and further that Morr was the greatest of gods, a combination which raised them above all other states in worthiness, bravery and honour. Some of the older soldiers amongst them may well have muttered that such rashness was more to do with the Duke’s tyrannical nature, secretly praying to Myrmidia as they and always done before battle was joined. Others simply revelled in their string of victories and the plentiful loot gained thereby. All seemed happy to put aside the niggling fears concerning the dire threat of the undead armies in the north – that was something to worry about later. As the wisest among the soldiery put it: when the evil enemy did come, they would find Pavona defended behind a ring of conquered cities and towns, so that the fighting could be done there and not in the blessed streets of fair Pavona.

As the Pavonans arrayed themselves, inside the ramparts of the southern gate Prince Girenzo directed messengers hither and thither along the walls to deliver his orders. He was flanked by the two last surviving gentlemen at arms who had accompanied him from the Little Carrena, the rest having been brutally slain by a bloodily brutal combination of the mystical and mundane (magical fire and roundshot). So it was that Prince Girenzo knew full well what the Pavonans were capable of - how they cared not a jot for the quality of a man, nor respected the unwritten laws dictating the nature of civilised warfare between city states in Tilea, but instead happily employed wizardry and black powder to slay noble knights. Such behaviour might be expected of the basest sort of mercenaries, or northerners, and certainly of the wicked races of greenskins or ratmen, but Tileans ought to know better. The prince still reeled at the cruel loss of such good men, never mind his army, and had determined to exact vengeance in whatever way he could. Yet to look at him, none would know he harboured such fury and hatred, and he was the very essence of calm as he quietly issued his commands.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle2_zps8e4c6671.jpg)

Upon the towers of Trantio the artillerymen hefted their iron-shot into the muzzles of their pieces ..

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle3_zpseb7a3e9e.jpg)

… while in the fields beyond the walls the enemy’s gunners did exactly the same.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle4_zps0a20e631.jpg)

Duke Guidobaldo’s plan was simple: Batter down the gate, surely the weakest spot in the city’s defences, and then assault through the gap thus created. Such was his determination that he was not troubled by the fact the enemy would no doubt have prepared for exactly such an attack, nor that his army would thus inevitably suffer great casualties. When his son, Lord Polcario, questioned the order (being the only person in the Duke’s army who would dare to do so) the Duke answered that soldiers were fools if they did not expect to die upon the field of battle, and besides, those who died would all the sooner receive the tender care of Morr, dwelling eternally in his favour because of the service they had done him. Nevertheless, while his artillery battery was placed directly before the gate, and several companies ordered towards it …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle5_zps6325888d.jpg)

… he himself, and his son, marched on foot with two regiments towards the walls to the east of the gate. He had no intention of personally joining the deadly assault through the shattered gate, but instead intended to scale the walls left weakly defended by the foe’s need to mass soldiers at the gate.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle6_zps388c4cee.jpg)

The Duke’s army now not only contained Pavonans. He had never been particularly reliant on mercenaries, and nor was he now, for bolstering his blue and white liveried native soldiers was a new-raised regiment of Astianan swordsmen, recruited from those thugs and bravi dwelling in his recently conquered possession who had no qualms about serving their tyrannical conqueror, provided they were paid.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle7_zps1cdadc14.jpg)

Still, he did not wholly trust them, nor consider them yet worthy of full acceptance into his army. So it was they did not carry a blue and white Pavonan standard, but rather bore their own city’s standard, fastened upside down upon the staff to symbolise their subjection. By proving themselves to him I battle, he had promised they would earn the right to carry the arms of Astiano in the proper manner.

Amongst the duke’s ranks strolled two wizards, one of which had arrived with the reinforcements, having travelled from the distant and mysterious realm of Cathay. He was a skilled wielder of fire magic and would prove himself an asset several times in the fight to come, bathing the walls in streams of fire, although it was the Pavonan wizard who would to become closely involved in Lord Polcario’s fate.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle8_zps33c903a5.jpg)

The battle began with a thunderous volley from the Trantian artillery which proved very effective indeed. As the roar reverberated around the walls, Duke Guidobaldo was shocked to see that two of his three great-cannons had been destroyed before even firing a shot. The Trantian crossbowmen lining the walls failed to add much more harm to this destructive start, however, as they were frantically running from wall to tower to wall to better position themselves to receive the foes’ ladder assaults.

Somehow the gunners on the last surviving Pavonan piece were not disheartened by the loss of their comrades, and busied themselves all the more to do what their Lord had presumed he needed three cannons to do. They sent a ball to crunch into the stones beside the wooden gate (Game note: We were using the old 6th ed siege rules, thus the random assignment of either the actual gate or the wall section in which the gate was set – does seem an odd rule, considering the way cannons normally target down a very fixed line, but that’s what the book says!) The Pavonans marched closer to the walls, their pistoliers firing clattering volleys at the men atop them, while crossbow bolts finally began to rain down from them. The Trantian cannons fired, but this time one ball ploughed into the ground before the last Pavonan cannon, while the other merely clipped it. With loud prayers to Morr that the barrel had not been cracked (and silent prayers to Myrmidia to protect them from such a flaw), the attackers reloaded with extra powder and fired again at the gate. This time their ball hit almost exactly the same spot and in so doing, perhaps due to some flaw in the construction or a weakness which manifested over the centuries, collapsed one entire side of the gate tower. (Game Note: Roll of 10 on damage, +10 strength, +1 for extra charge of powder, +1 for previous damage inflicted, result = 22 – collapse.) Luckily, Prince Girenzo had already left that part of the wall to make his way over to the parts where the enemy’s ladders would be placed. Of the eight crossbowmen atop that part of the wall, only two managed to leap to safety. Afterwards, they scrambled into the rubble, while glancing back to see if those inside were rushing to do the same.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle9_zps2f7d8056.jpg)

With the creation of such a gaping hole in the defences, and the arrival of the massed regiments of foot at the base of the walls, whilst magical fire and volleys of helblaster shot burst through the crenellations to topple the grievously injured defenders backwards, it was obvious that the Trantians would certainly take the city. Whilst the last surviving defenders fought on as best they could …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsBattle10_zps969fad04.jpg)

… Prince Girenzo tore off his richly embroidered surcoat, unsheathed his sword and leapt up to stand at the crenellations, his last surviving guard by his side. Below he saw a veritable sea of blue and white clad swordsmen setting ladders to the wall, the Duke and Lord Polcario visible amongst them. At last his pent up rage could no longer be contained. Just as another prince might consider flight, or surrender, or at least a desperate offer of parley, he could think only of vengeance for deeds done, and for what the loss he was about to suffer. He knew his city was lost. He knew his life was forfeit. And he knew he would make the Duke pay dearly.

A stream of shouted curses came pouring forth from his lips. He called the men below rogues and robbers for the taking of Astiano; vile, base men, the worst sort of scum, for the butchery of his nobles. He saw how the Duke was ordering his men onto the ladders, whilst holding his son back, so he laughed and mocked and dared either ‘creature’ to face him. Already his last companion was fighting one, then two, then three of the attackers as they poured up the ladders and over the wall, but Prince Girenzo did not notice, so engrossed was he in insulting the two noblemen below, declaring the Duke a madman, a lunatic, for thinking himself the most blessed of Morr, and if not that, then a liar for claiming such nonsense. His companion now fell to the enemy’s blades and yet still the prince did not notice.

He saw Duke Guidobaldo holding his son by his shoulders to speak a few words, then release him. Lord Polcario stood as if in a daze, then with a slight nod, began to ascend the ladder. Falling silent at last, Prince Girenzo pulled his helm on and lifted the visor to watch with sick fascination as the young lord climbed with an unnatural, inhuman grace. In fact, every Pavonan soldier now climbing seemed to be similarly imbued with an uncanny nimbleness. For a moment Prince Girenzo wondered whether he had somehow unknowingly suffered a blow, and that it was he himself who was disorientated. When he saw the wizard among the mass of soldiers below, however, hands a-dancing to conjure and control, he understood -  Polcario and the others had been imbued with magical power, or he himself cursed, or both. (Game Note: Pha’s Protection and Speed of Light at play here, as well as the Helm of Discord and the Terrifying Mask of Eee! Not so good for the prince!)

Girenzo shook his head to clear it, clenched his teeth and steeled himself for what was to come. Bursting with hatred he did not wait until Lord Polcario had mounted the wall, but hacked at him even while he was still on the ladder. The time for honourable gestures had long since passed. The magical energies woven around Polcario, however, proved disorientating enough to mean that despite the prince’s blows, the Pavonan lord still managed to mount the wall.

Now a crowd of soldiers stood either side, while more kept appearing at the top of the ladders, as the two nobles hacked hard and fast at each other, parrying, feinting and clattering blades upon armour.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsChallenge2_zpsc49cda8b.jpg)

The fight was not over quickly, with both men stumbling and slipping more than once, as their armour stopped blow after blow (Game Note: full plate plus enchanted shield and both with 4+ ward saves) and the Pavonan wizard was kept busy maintaining his magic. Until suddenly, the winds of magic weakened and the spell melted away. Lord Polcario was momentarily slowed, and somehow Prince Girenzo noticed it.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/TrantioFallsChallenge1_zps78c61566.jpg)

Both lords, dizzied by exertion and the magical energies crackling around them, stepped back, their gasping breaths audible to all around. Then, with all their might, they both lunged, their heavy blades squealing down each other to plunge through their breastplates at one and the same time. For a moment they stood, locked by their deathly grip upon their hilts and the blades piercing right through them, then collapsed together loudly against the parapet wall into a tangled heap of steel-clad limbs.

Slipping on the puddle of blood beneath them, two Pavonan soldiers tore them apart and rolled Prince Girenzo over the side to crash into the yard below, while others shouted down to the Duke that Lord Polcario was grievously wounded. Elsewhere the remaining defenders were fleeing the walls and running into the city streets, while Pavonan halberdiers, handgunners and swordsmen climbed ladders or clambered over the rubble.

Around Lord Polcario, however, only one man moved, kneeling down to lift Polcario’s head and remove his helm. He looked into the young lord’s eyes, then said only one word: “Dead.”
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Armfelt on August 30, 2014, 06:13:37 PM
Looks really good and good initiative with the story-mode!  :happy:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: fauthsie on September 02, 2014, 08:59:28 PM
Brilliant stuff mate!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 12, 2014, 08:49:30 PM
Thank you Fauthsie and Armfelt! I just wish I could find the time to move things along a little bit quicker - if only for my poor, necessarily patient players! But we have reached the end of the fourth campaign season and so my general report now begins ...  (NB: It's a 'General Report' to differentiate it from the individual, private reports my players receive concerning their own personal affairs, actions and knowledge. I still have all of them to write.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

End of Season 4 (Winter 2401-2) General Report Part One

A letter from the Council of Urbimo to the Princes and Rulers of Tilea
In which we lay bare the Terror of the North, and in so doing warn all those living souls dwelling south of our desperate and besieged city of the threat now facing each and every one of them.


This is no exercise in scare-mongering, nor the skewed account of a people living in fear, exaggerating and lying in order to convince others to come to their aid. Our bravest youths have sailed the coasts and crept through the wildernesses to look upon these things with their own eyes. Those who returned – and sadly this included less than half of those who ventured forth - have reported what they witnessed. And now we report the same to you.

Despite the demise of the vampire Duke Alessandro Sforta, the undead threat is not merely undiminished, but in fact growing. The reigns of power in Miragliano remain in the clutches of vampiric hands, with the once-captain of the guard Theobald Hackspit declaring his new and eternal rule of both that realm and the city of Ebino. Viadaza also has fallen, its ruler Lord Adolfo succumbing both to undeath and the vampire Duchess Maria, who sired him. If she were living then the duchess would be the heir to Miragliano, yet considering Miragliano, Ebino and Viadaza have become corrupt and cursed realms, perhaps she will soon rule all three?

Although now become a place of eerie shadows, Miragliano is not still, nor entirely quiet. Few speak there, and certainly there are none who sing, but footsteps can be heard, the creaking of doors and gates, and the sound of picks and shovels tearing at the ground, for the dead are busy with labours. Hackspitt, desirous of an ever stronger army, beyond that which the city’s current graveyards can provide, has ordered his foul servants into the forgotten and ruinous corners of his realm to dig up the most ancient of charnel pits and the most ruinous of tumbledown temples, and so acquire the bleached and brittle bones of the long dead.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_1_zps06a6cd96.jpg)

Fleshless carcasses are being collected in great piles, then carried by tireless slaves to Hackspitt’s necromantic minions, who employ foul magics to conjure the cold spark of un-life into them, thus swelling the ranks and files of his terrible legions. Our spies have seen skeletons clambering through crumbling ruins hefting baskets almost the size of gabions upon their shoulders, as well as trains of rickety carts hauled by rotting, fly blown nags.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_2_zpsb9fe0d90.jpg)

More than this, Hackspitt’s lifeless legions have scoured the realm for everything and anything of value: gold, silver and treasures of all kinds. Clattering carts carry locked chests containing every silver florin, scudo and lira that can be found. Even casks of wine are being carried to Hackspitt’s palace, or if not wine, then perhaps blood to feed the evil appetite of the vampiric rulers.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_3_zps7edc5ccb.jpg)

And worse than all these things is the continued suffering of the living. Not every poor soul in Miragliano has yet succumbed either to death or undeath, but some few unlucky inhabitants hide even now in terror, squatting in shadows, ever trembling with the knowledge that at any moment they might be seen by eyeless sockets and grabbed by fleshless hands. Every village, hamlet and farm is being scoured and ransacked, and while all are robbed, and some are killed …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_4_zps76d690dd.jpg)

… the rest - the unluckiest of all - are taken prisoner. We cannot claim that we know their fate, but we can state with certainty that we do not want to know it, either to be told it or to suffer that same fate ourselves.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_5_zps377f0a17.jpg)

And so we hereby add our cry to that of His Holiness Calictus II, and call on all god-fearing Tileans, for the love of the gods, family and neighbours, and for the love of all that is right and good, to arm themselves and make haste to face these most terrible of foes before their evil consumes so much of the realm that it can no longer be defeated.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This Letter to His Holiness Calictus II, Arch-Lector of the Most Worthy Church of Morr & de facto ruler of the Ancient City State of Remas, from Your Most Loyal and Obedient Servant Father Erkhart, Your Ambassador to the City State of Pavona

Published openly for the perusal of all well-affected subjects and citizens of the Tilean states, that they might know the good news contained herein, and that it may give hope to each and everyone.

I have good news to deliver unto you which will without doubt please you greatly, as it is certain to further the cause of the church of Morr in Tilea in its fight against the foul foe to the north. As you commanded, I made my way towards the city state of Pavona accompanied by the fine elven horse soldiers you sent to guard me, but soon discovered that Duke Guidobaldo was not currently at his home city, being instead in command of  his army in the war against his enemy the tyrant Prince Girenzo de Medizi of Trantio. I thus immediately altered my course to search out the Pavonan army and met with it at the very walls of Trantio only hours after the Duke had taken the city. Although victory had been achieved, the soldiers’ celebrations were somewhat muted in light of the sad death of Lord Polcario, the Duke's eldest son, who was killed even as he dispatched the tyrant prince to his own death. Thus it was that I found myself only hours too late to deliver your Holiness’s words and the call to crusade in which Tilea's desperate need for peace amongst princes was so clearly stipulated, and indeed in which the threat of excommunication was made should any prince continue with aggression against his living neighbours. When I delivered the letter and your spoken intentions to my lord Guidobaldo, he was much saddened that I had not arrived in time to prevent the continuation of the war, or even to make the tyrant Prince Girenzo recognise his folly in ordering the looting of the noble realm of Pavona. Such was Duke Guidobaldo’s sorrow that he would most surely have cried, had he any tears left after weeping so much for the loss of his son and heir.

Yet there is joy to be had, nevertheless. For the Duke has taken your call to crusade to heart, being much pleased that you thought to send me as an ambassador to deliver your words rather than a mere letter as has been dispatched to all other princes and rulers.  He even went so far as to explain to me that his war against Trantio was not merely done in a spirit of vengeance for the evil crimes committed by the debased mercenaries in Prince Girenzo's pay, but that first and foremost Duke Guidobaldo had always had in mind the need to prepare Tilea to defend itself against the undead threat. By taking Trantio he has consolidated his power, much increased his revenue, and will thus now be able to raise even more soldiers for the real war to come. Furthermore, he has tested his soldiers in battle, therefore forging a force of experienced, loyal and battle hardened veterans who will neither flinch from the foe nor fail to do what must be done to save Tilea. And most of all he has removed the weakness that was Prince Girenzo's rule, a state which relied far too much on mercenaries to conduct its wars and perform its defence, and as such a state that would have been easily toppled by the vampires of the north giving them a foothold in central Tilea from which to threaten all the realms around.

And so it is plain that the capture of Trantio by Duke Guidobaldo much strengthens our holy cause. The Duke intends the battle for central Tilea to take place at Trantio, so that neither Remas nor Pavona nor any of the realms to the south need be corrupted by the presence of the walking dead. It may seem cruel to some that he has presumed this fate for the people of state of Trantio, but their previous lord was a weak and wicked tyrant, who would have brought this same ruin, and more, upon his subjects with no subsequent gain for the rest of Tilea. This is not to say that the Duke intends the city of Trantio itself to fall to the foe, rather that his armies will be mustered here to fight in the lands around, and that this city, made holy in its purpose, will be the bastion against which the wicked legions will be broken and scattered.

The good news continues, for it pleases me much to tell you that the Morrite Lector of Trantio, Silvestro Maruffi, who was one of the principal advisers urging Prince Girenzo on in his wrongful war against Pavona, whispering lies to him and offering misguided council merely to inflate his own importance, perished in the conquest of the city, killed by vengeful people of Trantio who took the opportunity to right some of the wrongs done to them by the tryant and his advisers even as their city fell around them. Yet fear not, for all is well for the church of Morr in Trantio: Duke Guidobaldo has offered me the post of Lector, and indeed already has ordered the building of a new grand palace much better suited to the holy office I am to perform than the previous building (badly damaged during the aforementioned riots). Obviously, the position is subject to your confirmation, but the Duke wants me and me alone, as it is I who have done him the honour of bringing his call to crusade, and he believes that by having me serving here I will act as his conscience and good guide, ensuring that he always serves the cause of the church in the most perfect way possible.

Such is the happiness engendered by this victory against the tyrant prince, as well as my own rise in fortune, that the soldiers you ordered to accompany me, the mercenary elven horse, begged to remain my guard and to serve myself and Duke Guidobaldo here in Trantio where they might be amongst the very vanguard of the crusading forces being mustered. At first, Duke Guidobaldo was quite deaf to their pleading, for he expects complete loyalty in soldiers, whatever sort they might be, and told them that they were obliged to serve only you, for reasons of a financial, legal and moral nature. But I myself was pleased to devise a happy solution that would suit all parties concerned, and the Duke agreed. So it is that the Duke is to send to you, in the wake of this letter (but traveling slower as it is under guard) the full cost you paid for the service of the elven horse company, as well as more gold besides, so that you are amply compensated for their loss with funds that will allow you to raise not only replacements, but even more soldiers for the holy cause of crusade.

Praise be to the great god Morr, and all honour and respect be given you, Morr's highest servant in the mortal realm. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Big Boys
A river in the northern part of Tilea

It had been a long and lonely journey for Fazzio. Not that he was on his own – he had the young herald Vittore for company. If you could call him company, that is. Vittore was quiet to the point of rudeness, quite strangely so, and Fazzio had so far been unable to fathom exactly why.

The lad had a tongue, but beyond the occasional (and long delayed) yes or no, he did not use it for much beyond the licking of his lips. As the days went by Fazzio played out in his mind every possible reason for his companion’s silence: Could it be his youth, or simply nervousness, arising from the same? He may well have been ordered to keep silent, and was determined to quite literally be so. Perhaps, he mused, it was some affliction, or even a curse conjured by some ancient crone? In the end Fazzio decided it was likely a consequence of fear, or a madness born of that fear. As they came further away from the safety of Remas, the lad’s eyes grew wider and more staring, until they were fixed that way during every waking hour. And he slept so fitfully one might think he was dancing a jig in each and every dream.

One thing no-one could fault Vittore on was his attention to his duty. He was fastidious to the point of obsession about the care of the golden topped ensign he carried. The flag bore the crossed keys of the Arch-Lector of Morr and Vittore treated it as if it were as precious as a holy relic. Fazzio knew full well the etiquette involved in honouring a company’s colours, and the care with which they should be defended in battle – certainly by soldiers who wished to retain their reputation. His own company, being part of the Arch-Lector's palace guard, played many a fancy game passing the colours back and forth whenever the guard was changed. But Vittore took his care of the pretty, silken cloth to new levels. He folded it meticulously every night, in a carefully considered manner so that no crease would be in the same place as the previous night, thus ensuring no single part of its delicate fabric would be troubled with a sharp bend two nights in a row. As he rode he held it by his side exactly perpendicular to the ground, and had several ways, each performed with practised precision, in which to furl it, either fully or partially, whether mounted or on foot.

None of which would have particularly troubled Fazzio were it not for the fact that Vittore treated his cross-key emblazoned tabard in like manner, and even fiddled just as ludicrously with the little silken pennant hanging from his brass horn. It was as if his body had become the altar of some high church upon which was draped the ornate and holy images of the gods. Their departure had been delayed every morning by Fazzio’s need to get each and every part of his accoutrements and paraphernalia in its proper place, and they would stop every mile or so for some adjustment to this or a straightening of that.

Now as they approached the river’s edge, and caught sight of the soldiers who had already crossed, Fazzio was actually surprised to see that Vittore was capable of a further degree of stiffness beyond any he had adopted before. The flag was unfurled to flutter perfectly in the breeze, and Vittore lifted the brass horn to his puckered lips to begin a long, loud and yet (as it could only ever have been) perfect musical flourish.

Fazzio tried to ignore the somewhat bizarrely neat combination of herald, page, trumpeter and ensign exhibiting both visually and audibly by his side, and looked instead at the force they had come here to meet.
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_6_zps8f2fbbf1.jpg)

It was not what he had expected. Perhaps he should have done, for they did hail from Campogrotta, and everyone had heard the stories about the immortal Wizard Lord Bentiglovio and his monstrous army of brutes led by the all-conquering tyrant-general Razger Boulderguts. Yet he had never thought that Razger’s ogres would actually join the crusade. Throughout the journey he had supposed the force they were travelling to escort to Remas would consist of men not only here for the holy cause, but also to escape the tyrannical regime of their homeland. 

There were men in the force - almost all archers by the looks of them. Perhaps every noble and gentleman in both Campogrotta and Ravola had been killed, and these ragged, peasant soldiers were all that was left? But it was the ogres who drew his eyes. Both men and ogres were still in the process of crossing the river, which was no surprise as apparently they only had two boats. In fact most of them were still waiting on the far bank where they built a ramshackle camp of earthen huts for the men and rolled boulders covered with felled trees and skins for the ogres.

Only a handfulwere on this side of the river. One boat had apparently already landed a little cart and a mule, while the other was approaching the shore. It was not being rowed, however, instead a particularly burly brute of a grey skinned ogre was hauling it over the murky waters with a dripping wet rope, while the boat’s occupants just stood idly upon it as if it were quite normal to have a heavily armed ogre drag you along for a ride. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_8_zpsd61e0afe.jpg)

Fazzio saw one of the ogres was lugging a cannon barrel – a huge thing of iron that would surely crush a man instantly. He was wondering whether the gun carriage had yet to be brought across, and even began to look for it, when it suddenly dawned on him there was no such thing. The ogre was hefting the iron piece as of it were nothing more than a large handgun, and when Fazzio noticed the brute was missing an eye on the very same side that he now held the piece, it all became very clear. The ogre had actually fired it whilst holding it!

That must be some sight to see, he mused. I wonder what the living dead will do when faced with such weapons? Fall to pieces, I hope.
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

General Report Parts 2 and maybe 3 to follow as soon as possible.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Fidelis von Sigmaringen on September 12, 2014, 09:39:13 PM
Great scenes and scenery.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 12, 2014, 09:57:58 PM
Yeah, I liked the way the scenes came out. But ... is the writing any good? Or is my (deliberately slightly archaic) style annoying?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Fidelis von Sigmaringen on September 12, 2014, 10:06:59 PM
Don't worry: the writing matches the scenes & scenery.  :icon_wink:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 12, 2014, 10:14:30 PM
Don't worry: the writing matches the scenes & scenery.  :icon_wink:

It ought to match, because I make the pictures based a general impression of some event or area I have to write about, and then write the piece based on the pictures. It is so much easier that way. I think I would find it impossible to write a piece and then create images for it.

I hope my players will either laugh or fume at the audacity of the priest-ambassador's letter to the Arch-Lector!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on September 17, 2014, 12:54:22 PM
Hurry up!!!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 17, 2014, 01:34:58 PM
Yeah, RL is a buXXer! Photos are done for parts 2 and 3, writing still incomplete for part 2. Will try to do it tonight (I deserve a night of fun.)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 18, 2014, 10:52:03 AM
End of Season 4 (Winter 2401-2) General Report Part Two

All That I Could Learn

A Letter to Lord Lucca Vescucci of Verezzo

My most noble lord, I pray to all the lawful gods that you are blessed with good health and prosperity, and that you will welcome this dispatch as a truthful insight into events to the west of your realm. Knowing full well how you wished for improved intelligence concerning the Arabyan mercenaries encamped at Luccini, I took it upon myself to travel there in the early months of winter and found a city well prepared for war. Yet it is a war unlikely to come. In preparation to fight Khurnag’s Mighty Waagh!, King Ferronso increased the fighting strength of his forces considerably, not least by purchasing the Southlandish ‘Sons of the Desert’ – an entire army of mercenaries, foot and horse, handgunners and spears. Now it is reported that the Waagh has been broken and scattered by the Marienburger mercenaries currently occupying Alcente, leaving the young King of Luccini at a loss how to play with his soldiers. If the city of Luccini were further to the north and thus closer to the terrors there, then certainly the boy king would not feel bereft of enemies, but as the city lies so far to the south, with the great states of Remas and Portomaggiore lying betwixt it and the undead, then that particular fear has yet to take a deep root in the young king’s mind.

So it is that Luccini now finds itself playing host to an expensive army of Arabyans it could well do without. Of course, King Ferronso cannot risk refusing their pay, for the consequences could be ruinous. Such men would not hesitate to extract by cruel force all that they were owed, and more besides, tearing the city apart in the process. As the boy king’s own militia forces are greatly outnumbered by these mercenaries, then he could not hope to use them to restore order. In the dark hours of night, when many Luccinans are red faced and reeling in the flickering light of the tavern fires, it is a common joke that soon there will be a Caliphate here in Tilea, just like in ancient times, and that all native born inhabitants will become little more than slaves to their new masters.

And so the mercenaries do what such men enjoy most – swaggering through the streets, heavily armed, terrifying children and maids, happily satisfied that they need not fight in the morrow, nor indeed for some time to come. The mercenaries’ general, Gedik Mamidous, is apparently in no rush to leave, and he rules an entire quarter of the city as if he is chief magistrate and mayor. I myself witnessed him holding court, surrounded by desert warriors in serried ranks, sheltered from the spattering raindrops by a silken parasol.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_18_zpsefd0d9d2.jpg)

Merchants and traders vied for his attention, for there is profit to be made in the supplying of such well paid mercenaries’ wants. These are not only Tilean merchants, however, but ever more of his own countrymen, who have no doubt found it much easier than previously to trade with Luccini, now that an entire army of Arabyans are quartered there.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_19_zps1db2d4e0.jpg)

I cannot say for certain, as such men as these have no reason to converse with the likes of me, and I have not a word of their strange tongue, but it seems to me that a general as experienced as Mamidous would not sit idly as time passed, knowing that when the terms of his contract end the Luccinans will try every way possible to cease paying him. Perhaps he is already considering how to extract more money from them at that time, in return for their continued protection (no longer against greenskins but against his own soldiers)? Or perhaps he is already involved in negotiations with another Tilean state, or even a more distant realm, in order to acquire a new contract? It must be considered possible, however, especially in light of the rather more significant threat to the north, that whatever his current dealings, Mamidous intends at the first hint of real trouble, to return whence he came.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_20_zpsb04bb8af.jpg)

Unwilling to tarry where I could learn little else, I made arrangements to journey to the city of Remas by way of the sea. Being well travelled I know better than to put much stock in mariners’ tales, yet upon several occasions I heard the sailors talk of worrying sightings at sea. I made a point of questioning as many as possible and came to the conclusion that it is more likely than not that there is truth in what they said. They have espied with their own eyes, and on more than one occasion, ratto uomo slave galleys, of massive size and usually in groups of no less than half a dozen. These sightings occurred upon the Tilean Sea, and even close to the coast. No one claimed to have been attacked, but several muttered about ships going missing and glimpses of scuttling spies sneaking about in the docks. As to whether these events are due to another civil war amongst the ratmen, or preparations for some other enterprise, I know not, nor was there any reason to suspect anything in particular. Nevertheless it seems to me that you ought to be informed.

Upon arrival in Remas I was surprised to discover no sign of the legions of crusaders I had expected. In truth, however, I think it unlikely that any who do intend to respond to the arch lector’s call can have both mustered together and completed the journey in the short time available. As for the Remans, if I may venture my own humble analogy, it seems to me that they are like actors before a play begins. Many speak of those who are coming, alive and undead, as if they are the heroes and villains who shall take to the stage. They are much busied with fashioning the stage for the drama, repairing the city’s ancient defences and practicing their military drill and postures from the earliest hour of daylight. Martial law reigns in the streets, which swarm with the provost’s officers and common informers, in readiness perhaps for the rowdy crowds of crusaders who will surely come to play their parts. Furthermore - as you so wisely suggested to me before my departure - it is indeed the case that the arch lector of the Church of Morr once again rules supreme in the city, wholly governing matters military, civil and spiritual. He has become director of all.

Perhaps as a consequence more of the arch lector’s return to full power than the great emergency, there are changes afoot. Remas’ famous army of foreign mercenaries is no longer so purely alien. A new artillery company has been raised, and a baggage guard, both of whom consist entirely of Reman subjects, wearing the traditional orange and blue livery of the arch lector. They are listed merely as new companies of the palace guard, but it is plain to all that they are more suited in strength to support a large army in the field than stand duty at gates and doors.

I was intrigued to learn that in response to the great emergency the renowned artist Angelo da Leoni had laid down his brushes and turned his famous intelligence to the matter of engines of war once again, as he did in his more youthful years. Eager to see exactly what he was working on, I made my way to his workshop where I unsurprisingly discovered that already the great inventor’s efforts were being sponsored by the arch lector: palace guardsmen guarded the workshop and yard in which da Leoni laboured.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_23_zps3ea31c16.jpg)

Not that the guards were particularly keen to keep the maestro’s work secret, rather to ensure simply that he could go about it undisturbed. In fact, they were happy that those who came might look through the open gates to see the efforts being made, and indeed the city’s streets are already rife with gossip about the deadly engine and how exactly it would help defeat the foe. Such news helps raise the people’s spirits, and no doubt the arch lector intended from the start that it should do so. I myself cannot claim to have the mechanical understanding to guess at the workings of the machine, so I will simply explain what I saw.

The maestro himself was present when I visited, book in hand as he gave instructions to the craftsmen labouring upon his creation. He is a stout, stern looking fellow in his old age, no longer anything like the youthful figure shown in the self-portrait in your lordship’s palace. He too, like most of the workers in the yard, wore the arch-lector’s livery, as well as a chain of office which I later learned signified his rank as general of artillery.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_24_zps9c78a8ee.jpg)

The machine itself had a heart of iron, enclosed in a growing case of timber. Massive wheels lay strewn about the yard, presumably yet to be attached, although some wheels where of solid iron and like unto those contained within the workings of a clock, though upon a much larger scale. I saw no sign of armament, neither artillery pieces nor rams nor even a platform upon which fighting men might be carried, and although it is probable such things will be added later, I would not care to suggest that they most definitely will. For all I know, some sort of flail is to be fashioned, or perhaps great scything blades, like those described in the stories of goblin pump wagons, so that it can cut a swathe of destruction through the enemy’s ranks and files. Certainly the people of Remas seem happy to make any and all of these suggestions.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_22_zps1b734bff.jpg)

My eyes lingered upon what I presumed to be the driving part of this machine. It consists of a great, iron kettle, shaped somewhat like a large barrel, out of which sprout arms, wheels and stove-like extensions. I saw no tiller, nor any obvious harness for a team of horses, but instead what I supposed was a form of steering wheel. It seemed to me that the whole was some time from completion, although I cannot say whether more work is being done elsewhere, behind closed doors, so that like a firearm is composed of the joining of barrel, stock and lock, perhaps several parts will come together quite quickly to complete this machine.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_21_zps81f964dc.jpg)

Every day the arch lector receives emissaries from foreign states, some to show their support for the great crusade, some merely to make promises concerning the same, but most to beg for aid against the foe. A large delegation of Urbinans plead daily and openly for forces to defend them now that the foe’s foul dominion borders their home. The city also plays host to the celebrated heroes of the Viadazan crusade, who at such great a cost felled the vampire duke and drove back his army to buy time for the rest of Tilea. General D’Alessio has declared himself entirely willing to lead the new crusaders to victory, while the lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini, is hosted by the arch lector and is daily in conference with him concerning how best to thwart the foe.

I shall remain here in Remas into the spring, all the better to observe how the great crusade fares, and I will, at every opportunity, send letters to you concerning developments.

I remain you most loyal and obedient servant.

Antonio Mugello
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on September 18, 2014, 12:29:33 PM
Ha! Superb
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on September 18, 2014, 02:13:55 PM
Tops, as ever.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: damo_b on September 18, 2014, 07:32:13 PM
Nice work
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 24, 2014, 07:46:40 PM
End of Season 4 (Winter 2401-2) General Report Part Three

Gladius Morri super terram cito et velociter (The sword of Morr, striking and swift)
A square in Trantio   

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_12_zps94971d88.jpg)

“What have you got there then?” bellowed Giovacchino as he swaggered unsteadily from the alley into the square, still clutching the wine jug responsible for his current inebriation. His words boomed around the little square, where four more Pavonan soldiers stood around the kneeling and pathetically hunched form of a man in the livery of the Compagnia del Sole. Several Trantian bystanders watched from under the jettying beams of the square’s main attraction – an alehouse - as Giovacchino strode up to join his comrades. His stockings hung loose upon his calves while his hat tottered heavily and at such an angle it was a wonder it was still attached.

“Got yourselves a prisoner, eh?” he asked. “Big deal. You should have gone down there with me for richer pickings. What I have here is worth its weight in silver.” He jangled the clattering contents of his sack to prove his point. “Because …" he paused momentarily for effect "... it is silver! What you’ve got is worth only its weight in dirt.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_14_zps988927c3.jpg)

A whimpering sound came from the prisoner, expressing either fear or helplessness or a potent combination of the two. Giovacchino smiled in a self-satisfied manner, rolling his eyes mockingly, too drunk either to care how annoying he would appear.

“Shut it, Chino,” said Mariano, his own slurred voice sounding no less drunk. “He ain’t told us all we need to know yet. We don’t want you upsetting him all unnecessary.”

“Why?” said Giovacchino loudly. “What you after? Is it good stuff? Does he know where there’s more?”

“We can find that out later,” said Aldus – sombre and sober despite having drunk as much, if not more, than the two much louder soldiers. Although quiet, he was the sort of man who was always heard.  His stern face suited him – for he did bloody work in battle (a soldier’s soldier was what many called him) and always seemed to have his wits about him whether fighting or drinking. His present sobriety was all the more impressive considering the blood he had lost from the head wound received during the assault upon Trantio. The other soldiers were all now looking at him.

“Right now,” he said …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_16_zps8de1be37.jpg)

… “he needs to tell us if any more of his friends are hiding here.”

“It don’t look to me,” said Giovacchino, “like he’s in a conversational frame of mind.

“I can make him talk,” offered Carlo, prodding the squatting captive’s head with the muzzle of the handgun he had kept trained on him ever since they found him. “And if he doesn’t talk, then I can shoot him to teach his friends what happens when they don’t cooperate.”

The whimper was heard again, no different from the last time. Mariano raised his hand abruptly, spilling wine from the goblet he had forgotten he was holding in it. It was perhaps intended as a gesture to silence the others, but instead looked more like he was about to make a toast. He addressed the cowering man, “We’re not going to have to shoot you, though, are we? Because you’re going to tell us where your friends are.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_15_zps5a56f5e8.jpg)

“They’ll be coming out either way,” added Carlo, “whether you’re alive or not. For you, its better they come out now.”

This time the whimper had words wound into it. “Just me … There’s just me.”

Then a woman’s voice was heard, and everyone turned in surprise - more wine being spilled as a consequence. It was a serving wench who had been watching from the start, and who had, until the captive was discovered, been busy fetching Mariano’s wine. “It’s true. He’s on his own. Him and two others were hiding in the old cellar, maybe since the fall. We didn’t know anyone was there until last night, when his friends ran out. My master told the watch, who went to tell whoever the watch tell. They’d been a-drinking down there, drowning their sorrows on foul beer too long in the cask. He got left behind and we only found him this morning. Don’t think he could get up the ladder.”

“If that’s so, then he’s no use to us,” declared Carlo. He blew upon the burning coals at the end of his slow-match and opened his pan. “May as well …”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_17_zps62c149ae.jpg)

“Wait!” Aldus snapped. “You’re not shooting him. He’s not our enemy. Not any more.”

Carlo snorted cruelly. “Why? Just because he’s cowering there unarmed and afraid? You know what the Compagnia del Sole have done – you’ve got a wound to make sure you never forget. I never thought you such a compassionate soul, Aldus!”

Aldus showed no sign of offence at Carlo’s words, speaking with only his usual seriousness, and the ever present hint of potential threat. “Because the Duke has offered employment to the last of the Compagnia del Sole. Now that his realm has swelled to such a great size he needs soldiers   . And that …” he gestured towards the prone captive, “... despite appearances, is a soldier.”

Mariano snorted a laugh. “Of a sort. I say kill him. Haven’t heard what his kind have done? How they killed a priest to rob him of his beads and robes, the better to disguise themselves.”

“I heard,” said Carlo gravely. “We are the army of Morr the supreme. We have won victory after victory in his name, being both favoured and blessed and obviously so. While this man’s fellows, defeated in battle by Morr’s own will, chose to deny his judgement and kill Morr’s priests in petty revenge.”

Giovacchino, having drained the last drop of wine from his jug, wiped the back of his hand across his lips and frowned. “What in Morr’s name are you talking about? What priest?”

“The arch-lector didn’t just send a priest to Duke Guidobaldo to beg him to end the war against Trantio because of the vampires in the north,” said Mariano, “but sent another to ask the same of the tyrant Prince Girenzo. The second priest arrived a bit late, though, didn’t he? What with Prince Girenzo being dead. Still, can’t complain as it was a happy ending after all, the war being ended already.”

“So what did the second priest do?” asked Giavacchino, growing frustrated.

Mariano rolled his eyes. “You don’t listen do you, Chino? I already told you – he got himself killed on his way back to Remas by Compagnia scum like him. Brave men, eh? Killing a priest and his servants with no soldiers to guard them. Still, they got their comeuppance, ‘cos some of our boys found them prancing about in priestly robes and killed every one of them. True judgement and justice, I say. Swift and summary too.”

Carlo nodded. “By Morr’s justice it was done, for we are his hand. Well, it so happens Morr is holding a handgun right now.” Once again he blew on the coals to clear the ash and make the saltpetred match fizzle with heat.

“Give rest to your piece,” ordered Aldus, who as corporal had every right to so command. “We serve Duke Guidobaldo first, while his grace answers to Morr. We’re the Duke’s soldiers, not his magistrates. And if you like then yes, we’re Morr’s holy warriors too. Doesn’t make us his inquisitors, though. Tell your stories round the camp fires as you wish, and believe them too for all I care. But never forget that we are sworn to obey, and that’s what we will do. Now, pick him up, tie his hands, and let’s go.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_13_zps24da7b0d.jpg)
-----------------------------------------------------------

Il reggimento e il governo della citta di Trantio (The rule and government of the city of Trantio)

A Proclamation to be Read to all those who Dwell in the Villages of Preto and the Town of Scorccio
By Order of His Grace Duke Guidobaldo, Ruler of Pavona, Trantio, Astiano, Most Obedient Servant of Morr the Supreme


I rule here in Trantio by right of conquest. The city is mine. The palace is mine. I command all forces remaining in the realm, and all officers bow to me and obey my commands and mine alone. You have thus become my subjects, just as you were subjects of the tyrant I have defeated. Fear me in the way all lesser folk should respect their master, but do not be fearful, for I would have you know that you will be kept safe from the threat in the north under my rule, as long as you obey my laws and my commands. I can and will defend this my realm from all outside evil.

If, however, you resist, deny or in any way hinder or refuse even part of my lawful, rightful and hopeful authority, then I shall burn unto the ground your homes and fields, and leave you starving and homeless to face the evils that this way come. Alone and weak, helpless before the foe, you will surely perish at their hands. And this will be right and just, for you will have the mark of traitors upon you, and furthermore you will have refused the protection of the supreme god Morr.

Be not sad, however, nor let angry pride rule your hearts, for all this is only temporary. Indeed, rejoice, for my rule is only a brief necessity. By my own son’s sacrifice the tyrant Prince Girenzo is defeated and slain, and to honour my son’s memory, as well as the fair traditions of the realm of Trantio, I intend to settle the rule of law upon this realm, and then promise to revive the glorious republic of old. It is not the way of things in my own realm of Trantio, for there I rule by my noble blood and hereditary right, but here in Trantio I accept the precedent of history and thus the right of Trantians to govern themselves, to debate in their committees, to vote in the councils, and so to create their own laws and decide their own fate.

Yet this cannot be done immediately. First the corruption of the tyrant prince must be washed from Trantio, then once this is achieved, I shall leave the reins of power in the hands of a lawfully elected council. Furthermore, I shall ease the transition by having my own surviving son, Lord Silvano, serve as first Gonfaloniere of Trantio, to chair the ruling council and command the realm’s military forces. This may seem to go against historical precedent, for the office of gonfaloniere has usually been an elected one, but it is intended as simply a temporary means to ensure the safe transfer of power and steady establishment of a new republic, as well as my continued support and alliance until all is well again in Tilea and Trantio. The realm of Trantio must be defended against the terrible forces marching from the north, and what better and more certain way is there to do so than to forge a strong, even unbreakable, alliance between the realm of Trantio and Pavona, by having the love of father and son bond the two together.

So it is that I have the welfare of Trantio wholly in mind. Woe betide any and all who think to thwart these my plans, to stir rebellion, or fail to do all they can to support the cause of Trantio’s defence, for any who do will feel the full weight of my wrath.

Furthermore I have taken steps to ensure the care of your souls, elevating the priest Father Erkhart to the clerical office of Lector of Viadaza, so that all within the Viadazan diocese can rest assured that the church will be in safe and holy hands whilst facing the direct threat of the necromancy of vampires.

These things are being done in the name of the mighty and supreme god of gods, Morr. Praise him, thank him, and obey his servants as they work to make Tilea blessed in his eyes.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Beating of Solemn Drums
The western spur of the Trantine Hills

Lord Polcario Gondi, heir to the Duchy of Pavona, was dead. He died a hero, in single combat against no less a foe than a prince, who he slew even as he himself was slain, thereby gaining the final victory for Pavona in its war of vengeance against Trantio.

Duke Guidobaldo ordered that his son would not be buried in Trantio, but in the Gondi tomb in Pavona. Considering the rise of the undead in the north, great care was taken to ensure not only that Lord Polcario’s body was carried thence with dignity, but was guarded well, to prevent any attempt by the agents of vampires to steal it and use it for their own foul purposes. The column included several ensigns, each from regiments once commanded by the young lord. Eight drummers marched too, four before the coffin and four behind, beating a funerary march most sombre and solemn, while a single flute added a plaintive bird-song sound of singularly sad beauty.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_9_zps5d58ed59.jpg)

The carriage upon which the coffin was lain was decorated with the blue and white of Pavona, and so too were the draught horses pulling it. Eight of the best halberdiers Pavona had to offer marched at its sides, while Lord Polcario’s own personal standard followed behind - unlike in life when it would go before him - sloped in the traditional manner of mourning.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_11_zps755c0011.jpg)

Slowly but surely, the creaking of the wheels conjoined with the sorrowful sound of drums and flute, the little convoy made its way south towards the Via Aurelia, upon which Lord Polcario would travel the last stretch of this his final journey through the realm of Tilea.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndSeason4_10_zps5f0bc15d.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on September 26, 2014, 09:40:29 PM
I must get those Artizan looters. The shotte also Artizan?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 27, 2014, 12:34:29 AM
Sorry Doowop, don't know. Had long assumed both were Wargames Foundry. I just bought 'em at some convention somewhere - can'r recall what brandname was on the packet.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Il Condottiero on September 27, 2014, 01:48:23 PM
Superb, Padre!

Narrative is something that embodies all miniature wargaming for me - Warhammer specially so. Love reading your 'illustrated tales'. Those houses - are they Conflux? They look great with your miniatures about. I should acquire some ;) I struggle on taking the pictures myself, but perhaps soon :)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on October 21, 2014, 07:28:53 PM
Yes, Il Condottierio, they are Conflix. I've had them a while and they are lovely. I wish they did a wider variety. [edit] I now, two years later, have more conflix buildings - they do do a wider variety!

The Reman Town of Stiani

Baccio had been watching the door to the other room for a while now, awaiting his friend's return. This was not his customary habit - usually he would get on with drinking without a care for how long his friend was absent. But, considering their current situation there was a genuine chance his friend would not return, and that would leave Baccio entirely alone in the world. At first he had listened to the inn’s landlord talking loudly with some local fellow - exactly as Ottaviano had suggested he did. Then when they shut up, he had brooded in silence, eyes fixed upon said door. Relief flooded through him when, at last, Ottaviano burst through it to take his place back at the table.

“Not good,” said Ottaviano. He gestured to the little company of men he had left feasting in the next room. “They are Verezzan merchants, and they are returning from Trantio.”

“Well, that’s what we wanted,” interrupted Baccio. “News from Trantio. Or were they tight lipped?”

“Oh they talked alright. What I mean is that they didn’t have anything good to say. So far we’ve been at best defeated soldiers, and at worst cowardly mercenaries. But now we’re apparently murderers too.”

“Why? We were paid to fight and we fought, against the odds. That should stand us in good stead.”

“The story they told me happened after the battles and the fall of Trantio. Some of our lads, it seems, have killed a Morrite priest. And not some lowly father, either, but an emissary of the arch-lector himself, carrying a message for the dead prince.”

“Why carry a message for a dead prince?” asked Baccio, confused. Then his faced took on a look of horror. “You mean … Girenzo is a vampire?”

Ottaviano shook his head. “No, of course not. The message was sent when Girenzo was alive. It just didn’t get to him in time.”

“Oh,” said Baccio, sounding reassured. “Still, it don’t sound right. Why would any of our lads kill a priest? Especially a Reman one, when Remas is one of the few places we can go?”

Ottaviano shrugged. “I honestly don’t know. And no-one will ever know, because the lads in question were caught and killed by the Duke’s men. No trial, no questions. Dead.”

“Well that last part doesn’t surprise me. The Pavonans are killing everyone who fought against them, no mercy given.”

“They were,” corrected Ottaviano, “but not now. The merchants said that Bucci’s crossbow company have been offered a Pavonan contract to remain as part of the garrison. ‘Needs must’, it seems. Now that his newly enlarged empire happens to sit so close to the undead, Duke Guidobaldo needs all the soldiers he can get, even ex-Compagnia men.”

“Well, that’ll be it then. The Duke wouldn’t want to anger the arch-lector, not when everyone needs to stand together against the vampires – and so he had the priest killers executed.”

“Except the story doesn’t make sense. You yourself said so. Why would any Compagnia lads do it?”

Baccio frowned, then sighed. “Maybe they didn’t know?” he suggested. “Maybe the priest was in disguise? Maybe the priest threatened to reveal them to the Pavonans?”

“Could be any of those reasons, and more besides. Whatever, it doesn’t help those of us still on the run. No-one likes priest killers, especially when Tilea needs all the holy men of Morr it can get.”

“So,” said Baccio, “we don’t tell anyone who we are … or, I mean, who we were. It’s worked well so far.”

The two of them had indeed found it remarkably easy to gain free passage, by the simple expedient of telling any who asked that they were off to join the arch-lector’s crusade. People did not then merely let them pass, but fussed to find them provisions and beds, and see them on the right path. ‘All roads lead to Remas’, was the saying. Right now, it was true.

They ordered another jug of wine, more bread and cheese, then ate silently for some time. They were hungry. It was Baccio who finally piped up.

“What else did they say about Trantio?”

Ottavio talked in between stuffing chunks of bread in his mouth. “Martial law … bad for trade. Duke Guidobaldo’s men setting all the prices … The army’s still in the city, not sacking the place, but eating everyone out of house and home.” He drank a deep draught of wine. “And the Duke’s got elves in his service now. Riders on white horses. He might not like dwarfs, but he doesn’t seem to have a problem with elves. Maybe it’s beards he doesn’t like?”

“I heard the arch-lector will excommunicate him for continuing the war.”

“I don’t think that’s way the duke sees things. He calls himself Morr’s ‘most obedient’ servant, and claims all he has done was so he can better defeat the undead.”

“You said as much in summer, didn’t you?” mused Baccio. “How he would be the hero when the time came.”

“I did. I just didn’t expect it all to work out so well for him.”

“Apart from the death of his son.”

“Aye, apart from that,” agreed Ottaviano. “Although he’s apparently not one for grieving. The merchants said his son’s corpse, still warm, was packed off to Pavona in a cart while he ordered his other son to come and serve in his place. He’s going to give the city to the lad – a mere boy!”

“In name he might. But in truth he’ll be ruling.”

“He will,” agreed Ottaviano. “I think the man wants to rule all Tilea. I think he wants to be a king – they’re even calling the war the ‘War of the Princes’. But I counted only one real prince.”

“Dukes, princes, lords – they’re all much of a muchness to me. And arch-lectors too.” Baccio snorted, then looked his friend in the eye. “Are we really going to join this crusade?”

“Well, we are going to Remas, even if it’s just to make sure we don’t end up in Pavonan hands. Let’s see what happens when we get there, eh? Might be preferable to spend a while labouring on defences or such like, for that way no one might suppose us to be mercenaries and wonder where we came from.”

“They won’t care if we were Compagnia men, surely?”

“No,” said Ottaviano, “I doubt they will. Could be the opposite – they might like us all the more for being soldiers. Remans like mercenaries. Their army is made of mercenaries, by law.”

Baccio raised his hand to hush his friend, a smug look of cleverness coming over him. “It was, but no longer. Now they say – well the landlord said to one of his neighbours before you came back – the arch-lector is raising Remans to serve him as citizen soldiers. Maybe he wants to emulate Duke Guidobaldo’s successes with his Pavonan fanatics?”

Ottaviano gave a fake laugh. “The arch-lector just wants soldiers, and all he can get. He’s already threatened to excommunicate everyone who in any way hinders the crusade, and now he’s even asked the wizard lord of Campogrotta to send his Ogres. The arch-lector means business. This crusade is going to be big.”

“That lad in Palomtrina said elves from Tettoverde forest were joining the crusade,” added Baccio.

Ottaviano laughed loudly. “That lad in Palomtrina told us that painted Skaven were swarming on the western coast, and that flying arabyans had captured Luccini while the young prince, who was actually a girl, cried. I wouldn’t put too much stock in what he said.”

“Maybe not. But I’m not so sure the crusade is going to be so big. They say the arch-lector won’t send help to Urbimo.”

“What?” asked Ottaviano. “Why?”

“That’s what the landlord’s neighbour was complaining about. Apparently he has family there and the arch-lector has sent no help. The man said his holiness is only really concerned about Remas’ safety, not that of Tilea. Calictus hasn’t even recognised the hero of Pontremola, neither rewarded him, honoured him nor invited him to attend him, because that would mean acknowledging the Viadazan crusaders were forced to fight alone, and lose their city in so doing. ”

Ottaviano rolled his eyes. “Nonsense. That’s all mere gossip and tittle tattle. If the arch-lector was so embarrassed by the fall of Viadaza, why has he lodged its exiled lector in his palace? And only a fool would think he could defend Remas while all the rest of Tilea fell to the undead.”

Baccio grinned. “So, the landlord’s neighbour is an idiot.”

Ottaviano smiled too. “Oh, yes. I see. It is good to know what people are saying.”

“Did you ask the Verezzans about Raverno? Their city is close by. They should know what’s going on there.”

“I did and they do,” said Ottaviano. The two of them had talked previously about going south not west, maybe to Verezzo, or maybe Raverno. As there was no love lost between Pavona and Verezzo, however, this meant it could well be Duke Guidobaldo’s next conquest in his desire to forge a mighty empire. Neither men were keen on fighting the Pavonans again so soon, which left Raverno looking like the best choice.

“There’s trouble of a different kind there,” Ottaviano continued. “Since Khurnag’s Waagh was defeated, the VMC northerners in Alcente have begun throwing their weight around, just like general Fortebraccio said they would. A VMC army has already held Raverno to ransom, claiming they were exacting revenge for the ‘defenestration of Raverno’ – gods know what that is. Apparently, they’ve burnt the settlements at Camponeffro south of the city, and extracted a large sum of gold from the terrified Ravernans. I doubt they’ll stop at that, nor honour whatever terms were agreed. The merchants said the VMC were little better than armed robbers, who call their threats ‘haggling’ and their plunder ‘profits’.”

Baccio shrugged his shoulders. “That sort of trouble could be good for us, maybe we should go there? It could mean work.”

“You’re still thinking like we’re part of the marching Compagnia. It’s just me and you now. I don’t want to go where we might find ourselves on the losing side, and with no friends left.”

“How is going to Remas better then? Fighting the undead is going to be one hell of a bad war. Wouldn’t you rather be paid to fight in a war between merchants rather than between the living and the dead? Maybe we should go to Estalia and join Captain Mazallini? They still call themselves Compagnia del Sole, despite taking a separate contract. I reckon they’d take us on gladly. I know the captain well, and I didn’t join in any of the nastiness when he left.”

“I don’t know,” said Ottaviano. “What if the seas are swarming with Skaven? Maybe its best we join the crusade? Be more than mercenaries for once? Fight for more than money? We’ve never been anything else and look where it’s got us. If the undead defeat the crusade while we’re burning crops in Alcente, all we’ll have done is bought ourselves a little more time before they get to us. I am not talking about duty, but common sense. Fight so that everyone might live, or die with them because not enough men fought? They might be the only real options left.”

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: jchaos79 on November 17, 2014, 09:06:10 PM
Hi Padre,

I am lurker of Tilean campaing. I would like to congrat. you and your players for the great history and good battles you are doing. Looking forward to see more material.

Also you have a cracking painting style.

All of this is inspiring me a lot, thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 18, 2015, 10:59:03 AM
(Thanks jchaos, nice of you to say. Been a bit of an RL induced lull, but now I am back on  with the campaign in all its forms - modelling, painting, processing orders and communications, photos and ... stories: )

Fleshmeat

The gnoblars emerged from the trees, scuttling over the rocks in their usual higgledy piggledy manner. Habbdok did not bother to count them as he could see there were still plenty left for his purposes, which was all that mattered to him. Most men who saw his servants laughed. One captain in the Princes described them as ‘comical’. Knowing them - their nastiness, their unpleasant goblin stench, their foul ways (and it takes considerable talent to seem foul to an ogre) Habbdok could not see what the man had meant. Annoying, yes. Too small and skinny for both their arms and armour, yes. Funny, no, not in the slightest.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Mangler1_zpsux2ejsgz.jpg)

As they clattered to a halt, Habbdok squinted, flicking his eyes from one to another in search of any he could expect to get some sense from. The closest to him was so out of breath he did not look as if he could speak if he tried. All his own fault, of course, for he had a triple-layered helm tilting to one side on his head and an ill-fitting iron breastplate, all made heavier by several, dangling lengths of chain with no apparent purpose. His cheeks were puffed, and he all but dragged a battered and most likely blunted iron axe with both hands, his back and legs bent from the strain.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Mangler7_zpsvbcswnd6.jpg)

There was a clutch of four gnoblars off to one side, even more misshapen and bent than the puffing one, but they simply stared at him as if they were expecting him to speak. Habbdok could feel the usual surge of furious impatience already building, his head throbbing beneath his skull plate, as he wondered yet again at their stupidity. They were here to report to him, yet they seemed to expect him to report to them!

Still they stared.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Mangler3_zpszhe1vwyn.jpg)

Just as he was tempted to stick the razor-sharp tip of his hunting bolt through the panting pie-hole of the foremost gnoblar, he caught sight of a little runt with ridiculously over-large horns adorning his noddle-pot, and not a single tooth to line his raggedy maw. That was one he recognised, and one who had proved capable of something approaching intelligence in the past. ‘Horny’  was the name Habbdok had given him before.

Indeed, the gnoblar took the cue, and pointed towards the forest canopy. ““Mighty Hunter, lord of gristle and bone, we’s been over there an’ all ‘round an’ back agin,” he said.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Mangler5_zps5fvnzlwa.jpg)

“Very nice,” snarled Habbdok. “Stretching your legs and ‘aving a breath of fresh, eh?”

Horny grinned to reveal swollen, bloody red gums. “An’ looking, o’course. A lot o’ looking.”

“So here’s a thought for you,” said Habbdok. “Why not tell me what you saw before I get so angry you’ll never have a chance to tell again? D’you see the … the denizens, or not?”

The gnoblar’s grin changed to a rather more fixed affair, almost imperceptibly. Habbdok certainly noticed no difference, having never been of a mind to look for such subtleties in runts like this.

“No denizens. Nuffink. If they’s there, then they’s slippery an’ sneaky, leavin’ not so much as a bent leaf behind.”

Habbdok pondered this. If there was no-one there, then why was the army going the long way around? Mangler, their commander, had changed his mind, never saying why. But it had been obvious he had first planned to go through the forest, which is why his change of plans had been noticed. Most of the lads seemed to think it was because what little they might find in the forest would not make up for the effort of finding it. One or two had suggested, though never within earshot of Mangler or any of his lieutenants, that Mangler was afraid of the trees and what they contained, conjuring thoughts of bark-skinned, monstrous demons and invisible foes planting arrows in your eyes, just like in the old stories of the forest. Habbdok had given this latter suggestion little credence, yet still wondered why they couldn’t go a little deeper, if only to find some bigger cuts of fleshmeat for the supper pots, or maybe some flesh of the sweetest kind. And if the trees were thinning, as they seemed indeed to be, surely it would save time to go along a forest path which went the right direction than continue this circumambulation?

Then again, there could be so many other reasons for their route, including the quite likely possibility that Mangler simply intended to enjoy some good looting ‘off to the side’ as they made their way. Having a destination in mind was one thing, but there were many reasons to take one’s time getting there. None of the lads were complaining about taking the easy route: the rootless route; the flat ease of the old road instead of the tangled briars of the ancient forest. Just a pity that the wild animals Habbdok would dearly love to hunt were so unlikely to favour the same route, nor were the Sylvan folk the sort to traverse such an open road. He had never tasted their flesh, but he had heard more than one report that it was a delicacy beyond compare.

While Habbdok the Hunter did his thinking, two of the gnoblars were sharing their own thoughts.

“He’ll ‘ave us running back in any moment,” said Frokit Anglegrinch, both hands clutching the shaft of his bill-hook as if he might fall without it. “Look at ‘em. Everyone else gets to walk .. I’d go so far as to say amble … while we has to scamper never-ending hither and thither through a tangle of thorns.”

His companion, Pooshin Cotchwallop, twisted his frowning mouth to ever lower depths, his chin thrusting more prominently between the sagging lips. If one took into account his protruding eyes and his potato nose, the sum of the parts made for one ugly whole, neatly framed by his chainmail hood. Mind you, Frokit was no looker either.

Pooshin looked beyond the Ogre hunter at the marching column on the road.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Mangler6_zpsrepm04ls.jpg)

“Some ain’t even doing that, Frokit,” he said, watching the huge, grey beast carrying the scraplauncher and its numerous gnoblar crew, “but sit all comfy-like as their beast does the work beneath their idle arses.”

 “I hope they get splinters in their backsides,” Frokit spat through his teeth, “and that all the jolting gives their joints the jip.”

Habbdok had at last come to a decision, so, clearing his throat loudly enough to make the beast of burden behind him grunt …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Mangler4_zps3baaduw8.jpg)

… he gave his orders: “You’re all going back in, and this time you’ll look properly, or I’ll have your eyes in a bowl for a tasty treat while supper roasts. Everyone knows what lives in these woods, and if you can’t find them you’re not looking hard enough. Do something naughty and get their attention. I know you’re good at running away. See if you can’t get someone to chase you. And if you can’t net them, bring them my way and I’ll stick a stick through ‘em.”

Behind him the column continued its journey, Mangler the Merciless’s Mercenaries, flags a-fluttering overhead while their iron shod boots ground the road to dust.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Mangler2_zpsmse28azp.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 14, 2015, 11:41:53 PM
Remas, Spring 2402

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RemanFlagellants1_zpsplgas09w.jpg)

Standing by the window, Father Biagino could already hear the bell, somewhat earlier than it had sounded the previous day. His friend and fellow refugee Father Antonello must have intended a larger circuit through the city streets tonight, thus the early start. Each night the procession had grown, as more joined to begin their whipping and wailing, scourging their mortal flesh to purify themselves in Morr’s eyes, engendering a frenzied urge to fight the foe no matter what horrifying form it took. The very existence of the flagellants was entirely due to Antonello’s efforts and his incendiary street-corner sermons. He yearned to stir Remas from its slumber. The higher clergy, following the dithering arch-lector’s lead, seemed forever locked in vacillation, unable to decide exactly what should be done, when and where. The way things had been going, no Reman blade would have been unsheathed until the undead legions were already scrabbling over the city walls.

Biagino could not fault Antonello’s ardour, nor deny the need for action. Yet he was not sure that raising another army of apprentices, peasants and ill-paid mercenaries was the best course. They had done exactly that at Viadaza, and marched at the head of the rag-tag army so created. And yes, they had pushed the enemy back and even brought down the Vampire Lord. Yet it was not enough, for while their backs where turned, Viadaza was lost, and their battered throng of exhausted peasant crusaders could do nothing about it. Death begets death, it seemed. Here in Remas was a chance to do things differently, better: to gain the backing of church and nobles as well as the common people, and thereby forge a mighty army able to feed itself, march, fight, then march and fight again and again, until victory was won. This time they should learn all they could of the enemy, plan and prepare for all possible contingencies, ensure that their lines were secured, the towns and cities guarded, and the army properly armed. If Father Antonello had his way he would once again lead a rabble from the city, unprepared, unsupported and ill-advised. Biagino, however, would rather such men were put to use digging earthwork defences, repairing crumbling walls and driving mules and carts to move supplies. Then the professional soldiers would be properly supported, ready and able to do battle.

Dong!

The bell’s sombre tone was quite contrary to its size and placement. If it were three times the size and housed in a great, stone tower rather than suspended from a wooden gibbet, then such a sound might indeed be expected. Biagino wondered whether some enchantment had been put upon it to make it ring with the note of a different bell, from another time and place. That was no doubt the intention – as if it were the bell hanging at the gates of Morr’ s garden, singing a receipt for each passing soul. Estimating it to be at least two streets away, he turned back to the chamber just as the door opened to admit the man he had been waiting for.

Even if Biagino had not been told he would have known the fellow was a fisherman, what with weather-beaten, leathery flesh clearly advertising decades of hard labour in the wind and sun. Carlo Gora was his name, a Viadazan by birth, although now a refugee like every other living Viadazan.

Carlo closed the door then stood, saying only, “Father.”

Biagino gestured to the chair. When Carlo hesitated, he said, “Please, do sit. I am not some great, noble bloodied churchman with airs and graces. Merely another homeless wanderer just like yourself.”

The fisherman seemed barely to register Biagino’s words, but took the seat nevertheless. Hearing a howl from the street, Biagino glanced out of the window again. There below ran a half-naked old man, thin as a rake, bearing bloodied scars upon his back and carrying the knotted cord that had made them. A flagellant, off the find the bell no doubt. When he turned back again Carlo’s face appeared to be, for the briefest of moments, stripped of all flesh and fearful to behold. Biagino tried to hide any sign of fear, but could not, for a moment, bring himself to speak. Apparently, his oneiric visions were bent on plaguing his waking hours too.

In his dreams, for several nights now, Biagino had found himself back at Pontremola, once more with the militia pikemen of Viadaza, his stomach knotted with fear as he witnessed the foe’s inexorable advance. Just as in the waking battle, he became fascinated by the motion of their lifeless limbs, the glaring hatred somehow evident in the shadows of their empty eyes. Everything was as he remembered – the way his hand slipped upon the hilt of his sword, the foul stench wafted on the breeze from the massed body of animated cadavers at the centre of the enemy’s line.

Then (every night) his attention was drawn away from the vampire duke’s army as it dawned on him that he was not where he thought he was, but instead on the southern side of the river, its water now laying between him and the foe. When had they moved back across the bridge? Why had they changed their plan of battle? Why could he not recall the retreat? Still, he thought, perhaps it is better to be on this side, for then the enemy must ford the river to reach us, being weakened in the attempt? This glimmer of hope, however, died almost instantly, as something else caught the corner of his eye. In that moment, his neck stiffened and the air suddenly congealed about him to become an invisible force pressing against him. With effort, he forced his head to twist so that he could look at the men by his side. In turn, they looked back at him. Every face sported a fixed, fleshless grin, while their bony hands clutched at splintered and mouldy pike-shafts. Every pair of eyes was sunken within black, bottomless pits. The nearest opened its mouth and screamed an ear-splitting silence, making him stumble weak-kneed from the ranks then tumble onto the dirt. Then a shadow fell across him, which took away not just the light but the warmth too – the shadow of something bent yet strong, horned of head and clawed of hand, wielding a blade almost as big as itself. Finally, just as he saw the shadow-blade lifted in readiness to strike, he awoke. Bathed in sweat, shaking and weak of bladder, he would scrabble out of his bed, tearing the blanket from him as if it were the thing that had held him in the dream.

What could it mean? He knew the dream was certainly sent by Morr, for he had become adept at recognising his god-given premonitions, yet he could not even say whether it concerned the past, present or future. All he could do, as ever, was suffer the wait until the meaning revealed itself. In the meantime, he had questions to ask the fisherman.

“I am told you have been back to Viadaza. Is this true?” Biagino asked.

“For my sins, yes.”

“Why would you go there?”

“To get my best boat,” said Carlo. “I thought maybe the dead would not think to watch the sea.”

“And do they watch the sea?”

Carlo shuddered. “They do.”

“Oh,” said Biagino. “You are brave. Better than that, you’re lucky. Can I ask you now to be helpful too? To tell me what you saw? Exactly what you saw. When that is done, you can put it from your mind forever.”

“Yes father, I would like to do just that,” said Carlo. He took air, as if about to jump into the sea, then spoke. “I got into the bay after dark. This was no difficulty for me as I know it like the back of my hand - every shoal, every rock, how the currents play in the tides. It was darker than ever I saw. Not one fire burned in the city, not one window was lit. I suppose the undead don't need light, don't want light. But the moons were waxing, which gave me light enough to get my bearings. Dark shadows divided the buildings, everything was black and grey. I couldn’t descry any boats at all, thought maybe they had been hauled up further than usual, so I paddled closer.”

Dong! The sound of the bell was growing louder.

“That’s when I spied them. I took them to be Adolfo’s dock guards, brute ogres from the east. And I suppose they were … or once were. Now they looked not just mean but wrong. Their flesh had changed – it was torn, bloodied, blue! And pricked with bones. They had skulls dangling all about them. And they stank – not of sweat and dirt like before, but worse even than rotten pork after too long at sea.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Adolfos%20Undead%201_zpseavckb4b.jpg)

“I knew some of them. Seen them many times, guarding gates or addled with ale in the typpling houses. Ugly brutes with dead-eyed stares that looked right through you. Now their eyes really did look dead. One of them carried a mast, I think, from which hung a string of skulls. Another carried a gravestone as if it were merely a piece of flotsam.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Adolfos%20Undead%202_zpsc1uunivc.jpg)

Dong! rang the bell. It must be entering the street now, thought Biagino.

“There were half a dozen of them. Standing, stock still, like statues.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Adolfos%20Undead%203_zpssv0szjkb.jpg)

“Then I spied another one, smaller than the rest, with its back to me, and I knew that the others were ruled by him. He had a brute’s blade, which he hefted as if he were as strong as any of them. Even before he turned I could tell he knew I was there. And when he did turn, slow and deliberate, like he wanted to rub the fear in deep, his red eyes found me immediately, looked into mine.”

DONG!

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/Adolfos%20Undead%204_zpsaggc2rib.jpg)

“In truth, father, I think he’s been watching me ever since.”

Biagino frowned. From the moment Carlos spoke of a huge blade he had suspected that this was the shadow in his nightmares.

“What .,..” his voice faltered, “I mean, who was it?”

“The beast was no man, but it was Lord Adolfo. Twisted and foul, all teeth, talons and horns. But still Adolfo.”

DONG!

Biagino could now hear the clattering of the bell-cart and the creaking of the wheels, and a familiar voice preaching Morr’s hatred of the walking dead. The light of the flagellants’ torches flickered into the room. He turned to the window once more.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RemanFlagellants2_zpsplsvppaf.jpg)

As usual, Father Antonello led the little procession, sword in hand. Behind him came the first of the flagellants garbed in priestly reds and greys. One had somehow set the crown of his head on fire, and yet still walked beside the others – undoubtedly some sort of clever illusion. Biagino was surprised that Antonello would stoop to using stage trickery. The other flames, born on torches, were real enough, as was the battered and bruised state of the self-tortured flagellants carrying them. The bell cart was decorated with pages of scripture and an inevitable hourglass. Two robed men struggled with all their might to push it.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/RemanFlagellants3_zpswio3czc2.jpg)

DONG!

Biagino turned back to the room. “Thank you, master Carlo. Your report will be passed to all those who need to know. You have done good service, and holy Morr will assuredly reward you. I will speak of you in my prayers. For now, however, make do with some broth and some ale. You’ll find both in the kitchen, just tell the servants I sent you.”

When Carlo had taken his leave Biagino looked at the mad rabble of flagellants processing along the street in the wake of the bell cart. He did not really see them, however, for his thoughts were elsewhere. Lord Adolfo was indeed now a vampire, just as the Urbimans had claimed. And he still ruled Viadaza. And he was in Biagino’s dreams.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Fidelis von Sigmaringen on March 14, 2015, 11:51:26 PM
Very interesting. But - dong - for whom the bell tolls. Would official changes in the fluff (i.e. destruction of the world) affect your story in any way?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on March 15, 2015, 12:04:09 AM
Short answer = no. Long answer = This is a campaign set in my own version of Tilea, using (some) lists modified from unofficial web campaigns, with my own take on Old World religion, and my usual low fantasy slant, and in the year IC2402. So, also no.  :happy:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 09, 2015, 09:02:43 AM
End of Season 5 General Report, Part 1 of ?

Not Gormless

As soon as he saw the burnt out tower Big Boss Gurmliss knew where he was. The ruin was no more than a mile from where the big mob had been camped when he left them a couple of weeks ago. They might not still be there, but once he found the camp it would be very easy to follow their trial. Greenskins were not what you would call tidy, and even if they made an effort to hide their passage, Gurmliss still knew the sort of signs to look for.

“Boss!” came Frabble’s urgent voice. “I knows that tower. We was ....”

“Ssh” ordered Gurmliss. Someone was approaching. He always seemed to know when someone was creeping up on him, though which of his senses did the work of revealing the fact he had never quite pinned down. He unsheathed his heavy bladed sword. There was a skittering sound, the clatter of stones, then a familiar goblin lurched around the tower. Known as the Ratter  - on account of his constant companions, a mangy pack of red eyed rodents who were indeed pulling him along right now - his real name was Mig.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5A1_zpsmmdsbxju.jpg)

Mig yanked upon the leads to bring the rats to a jerking halt, while cocking his pistol by rubbing the hammer upwards against his shoulder.  “You came back then?” he said, scowling at Gurmliss and the other survivors.

Gurmliss laughed, wondering if the sight of his unsheathed, bloodstained blade had prompted Mig’s unfriendly preparations, or whether such suspicion was due to yet another shift in power in the mob. Out of the corner of his eye he saw that his companions had both knocked arrows to their bows, and it dawned on him that all this nervousness could result in him playing a deadly game of piggy in the middle. So he cut short his laugh and answered quickly: “Yer lookin’ right at me Mig. It’s not like you need them rats to sniff me out. You thinkin’ I’m all ghostly?”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5A2_zpszxhjof6c.jpg)

 “I see you,” said Mig. “An’ I see only two gobs wiv you. So, I reckon you left some behind.”

“Some, yeah. And before you go a-askin’ where our snarlers are, we’ve got wolf flesh in our bellies to answer that question. Tasty too.”
Mig’s lips curled in a snarl, he pulled on his rat-pack’s leads. “These are mine. If you get to thinkin’ you’s wantin’ some seconds, I’ll set ‘em on yer an’ then we’ll see who bites who.”

“Don’t you go worrying, we’s all full up,” said Gurmliss as he patted his chainmail clad belly. “Never mind yappin’ about dinner, I’ve come back with
stuff to tell and I wanna know who it is I’ll be telling it to, and where they are.”

It was Mig’s turn to laugh. “So Big Mosher and his boys didn’t want you then? That’s why you’re back, lookin’ for your old mob to take you in?  I bet your missing gobs and snarlers are in orc bellies not yours.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5A1a_zps7es7tzo8.jpg)

“Look here,” said Gurmliss, “I said I was going to see what they were up to and that’s what I did. I’m back ‘cos I was always coming back. Besides, even if I were the naughty gob you think I am, there was barely anything left of Mosher’s mob. They can’t decide what to do and so they’re doing a bit of everything, some going this way, some going that, and what with an army after them, they’re doing it all quickly. Mosher’s not got more’n a dozen to boss around now. Even the Bull’s left him.”

“An army after them, you said. What army?”

“Same as that smashed and bashed us at Tursi, o’course, with its stinking blackpowder an’ a gun in every hand. An’ it’s on its way here right now. Seems Old Firgle was wrong – leaving the orcs didn’t shake the men off our tail, and now they’re pickin’ us off one by one. So, tell you what, I’ll ask again and we’ll make this the last time shall we? Where’s the mob and who’s in charge?”

Mig had become fidgety, something his rats seemed to sense, their fur bristling, and when he spoke Gurmliss could tell his mind was elsewhere. “Old Firgle ain’t running things anymore, on account of him being dead.,” Mig said. “Moonface Dulldrood’s the boss now. The mob ain’t that far away, neither. I can show you.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5A3_zpsddrmp6jl.jpg)

“Moonface is in charge! How low can the mob sink? Old Firgle was bad enough, with his gammy foot, but I’ve seen Moonface struggle to work out how to unsheath his blade never mind use it in a fight.”

“He ain’t one for scrapping, true, but he’s got ideas he has. He says he can read man words for one, and he knows how to mix up black powder – good stuff an’ all - but most important he knows how to get secrets from the stubbornest of gobs.”

The last part got Gurmliss' attention. “What gobs? What secrets?”

“One of Scarback’s runts. Whispered to a blabbermouth that he knew where some great prize was, something the ratmen would pay a lot more than a lot for. Moonface got him to say it a bit louder.”

Even Frabble, not the brightest of goblins, was interested now. “A ratman prize?” he said. “Gold and glitter? Magic and machines?”

“Dunno,” said Mig. “Don’t think the runt knows either. If he did know he’d still have some fingers and toes. But he knows where it is, an’ Moonface reckons when we get it we can buy our way out of Tilea.”
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 15, 2015, 06:17:25 PM
End of Season 5 General Report, Part 2 of ?

Dis Ducibus (Directed by the Gods)

The Northern Stretch of the Via Diocletta

Frediano crossed the road nearly every day at this time, burdened with a snapsack containing a loaf wrapped in linen, a pot of soft cheese and whatever else his mother had packed to take to his grandmother’s hovel. His grandmother had simple tastes and was always grateful, fussing over him and offering something seasonal she could gather nearby, either olives from the bushes in her little garden, an orange from the little tree by her door, or more often a cup of goat’s milk from Rubina, as well as sharing the bread saying: “That’s too big a loaf for me. You have some sweet boy.”

Today Frediano was stuck on the wrong side of the road, his growling belly unnoticed as he gazed at the unexpected traffic. Of course, he had seen soldiers on the Via Diocletta before - little companies of mercenaries with crossbows, pikes and colourful clothes, sometimes riding nags but most often afoot, their nags pulling wagons. But these soldiers were different in every way. Their clothes were mostly loose, white linen, with blue or red scarves, either around their waists or coiled about their heads. They carried shields of strange shapes, decorated with golden orbs and tassels of golden silk. They sported neatly curled beards, shaped rather more elegantly than the empire’s mercenaries wore. Strangest of all were their mounts – hulking beasts with overlarge heads, lazy eyes, spindly legs and large fleshy lumps heaped upon their backs to provide a cushion upon which to strap a saddle. He’d heard about them in stories, desert animals called cammelli, but he had never seen one before. They were not what he had imagined.

He could have crossed the road before they reached him, but on spotting the vanguard of the column he forgot his errand and stumbled to a halt, standing wide eyed and curious. A lone trumpeter led the way, mounted on a fine black horse, something like the sort that lords use to hunt upon but more slender and graceful. Then came the cammelli riders, their double pennanted banner fluttering high above them, accompanied by the booming sound of the largest drums Frediano had ever seen.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5B2_zpsoopijrq9.jpg)

“Not them orcs then?” came a voice. “The ones everyone was going on about, eh?” It was Peppe speaking. Frediano had not heard him approach, and nor did he turn to look at him now.

“Arabyans,” he said.

Peppe sniffed. “I know. Sons of the Desert they are,” he said all matter of fact, as if he were an accustomed witness to such sights. “My papa told me all about them. The boy king bought them to fight the greenskins.”

“But the orcs have been beaten by the northerners down in Alcente?”

“They have. Now that the northerners beat them to it, this lot are marching north.”

“Where to?”

Peppe laughed. “Your mama and nonnina should not keep the world from you. You must know there’s a war in the north, vampiro and scheletri?”

“Everyone knows that.”

“All the soldiers are supposed to go and help.” Peppe sniffed. “And it looks like they are.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5B1_zpsgpiqemku.jpg)

...

Remas, The Street Outside the Palazzo Montini, Residence of the Archlector of Morr

Father Gonzalvo was alive.

Like everyone else, Biagino had believed him cut down with the rest of the Viadazan swordsmen at the Battle of Pontremola, but instead he had lain unconscious and covered in mud amongst the corpses at the river’s edge, to be taken away with the badly wounded in wagons to Rapallo. Just able to walk when the undead arose throughout the realm of Viadaza, he fled with a farmer’s family to Scorccio, remaining there until he recovered, both physically and mentally, from his ordeal. Not that he was quite the same man as previously, for now he was utterly committed to fighting the undead armies of the north, with no conversation, nor even a thought in his head, that did not pertain to that cause. It was as if he was the very personification of the crusading cause. Which is why, perhaps, it was him and not Biagino who stood upon the wooden dais beside no less than the Morrite Lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini and the archlector of Morr, Calictus II himself!

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5B7_zpsadnfkzbp.jpg)

While the greater clergymen watched the military parade in the street, Father Gonzalvo raised his hand to bless each passing company of soldiers, saving his most impressive and powerful prayer for the great engine of war at the heart of the procession. Designed and built by the genius polymath Angelo da Leoni, the hopes of Remas were bound up in this machine, a mighty contraption of iron and timber intended to smash the undead legions. Buried inside its sturdy hull was a steam powered engine, its clanking, grinding red hot heart, fed coal by two sweating crewmen. Atop this was an iron-armoured platform mounting an impressive artillery piece of nine barrels and several more brass patereros besides, about which the liveried gunners busied themselves to fire occasional shot-less salutes for the encouragement of the crowds.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5B5_zpsdrl9ptxv.jpg)

Da Leoni himself, like the master of a ship, was directing his invention, dressed like the others in Reman livery, honoured to be joined by the archlector’s own standard bearer whose crossed keys flag fluttered from the rear as they trundled along the wide street. He was deep in thought, listening to every croak and rumble from the engine below, occasionally breaking his reverie to shout correctional instructions down through the peep holes drilled through the upper platform’s base to allow communication with the driver’s down in the darkness of the lower deck.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5B4_zpsq2zybk3u.jpg)

Just ahead of the machine strode another priest of Morr, repeatedly chanting the words of blessings not dissimilar to Father Gonzalvo’s. Rarely, even in the city of the gods, had so many prayers and blessings been poured upon something other than a mortal soul. It was as if the engine were being transformed into a carroccio not by carrying holy relics, but by washing it with prayers for hours on end.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5B6_zpsjhsmqat7.jpg)

In contrast to the constant priestly intonations, the vigorous beating of the drums, and the steaming judders of the steam-powered workings, the watching crowds fell silent as the engine passed them by. Although they had cheered every company of soldiers as they came into sight, the monstrous, horseless engine was so strange to their eyes that their voices invariably petered out in awe. This was not magic, nor illusion, but an ingenious, artificial construct so heavy it ground up the road, and so well armed that it must surely prevail against the enemy. It had been a topic of conversation in every inn and typpling house in the city, and so many hopes were pinned upon it, that it could do no other than draw everyone’s eyes.

Now, said so many in the crowd, Remas is ready to go to war.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5B3_zpsctow7dm1.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on May 15, 2015, 08:56:56 PM
Absolutely astonishing Padre! So much work!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: doowopapocalypse on May 16, 2015, 06:37:01 PM
Dunno if it's shooty enough..
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: damo_b on May 19, 2015, 12:27:22 PM
 :Ohmy: Impressive Padre. well done.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 22, 2015, 05:51:08 PM
Thanks guys. Oh and doowop ... BANG! (Shooty enough for ya?)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
End of Season 5 (Spring 2402) General Report, Part 3 of 3

A Letter to Lord Lucca Vescucci of Verezzo

This to my most noble lord, from your loyal and obedient servant Antonio Mugello, being an account of my continuing travels in your service to gather true intelligence from the lands surrounding the beautiful realm of Verezzo.

Having tarried sufficiently long in Remas to dispatch my earlier report, I determined to make my way to the newly conquered realm of Trantio, there to discover how that realm fares under the dominion of the conquering Duke Guidobaldo Gondi of Pavona, as well as to do what I could to ascertain the Duke’s intentions. Upon the day of my departure from Remas I witnessed the arrival of a regiment of brute ogres, accompanied by brigand archers, all hailing from the northern realm of Ravola. They processed through the streets led by several chanting priests of Morr, and all those who witnessed their passage declared them to be the strangest of crusaders, quite an unexpected addition to Morr’s holy army yet not at all unwelcome.

I know full well how the people of Verezzo grow daily more concerned at the Pavonan duke’s conquests, for if both Astiano and now the entire city state of Trantio have fallen to him, then it is not inconceivable that the duke might turn his inquisitive - nay acquisitive - eyes upon Verezzo, especially in light of the Gondi family’s continued yet unworthy complaints concerning the annulment of Lady Leonara’s marriage. Like so many recently ennobled families the Gondi’s pride has the sharp, hot edge born by those who still worry about their worthiness for such rank. Thus it is that Duke Guidobaldo is said to be as angry as ever at the unfortunate misunderstanding over his niece.

Upon arriving at Trantio, in the guise of a Reman petty-merchant, I immediately learned how oppressive is the new Pavonan rule, being not one jot less than that of the tyrant prince Girenzo, and in truth, probably more so.  The city was in a state of alert, having just learned that a sizeable army of mercenary ogres was upon the Via Nano with unknown intentions yet sensibly presumed to be unfriendly. This added to the native populace’s sense of unease over Duke Guidobaldo’s declaration that his surviving son, Lord Silvano, was now Gonfaloniere of Trantio, to become its de facto ruler when the duke himself left. Nor was the barely hidden bitterness ameliorated by the news that the region of Preto had been subdued (after some resistance elicited cruel reprisals by the Pavonan soldiery). This meant that the whole realm was now as one again, the city of Trantio - the town of Scorcio and the olive groves and vinyards of Preto - but it is a unity bought at a high price: the tyrannical oppression of Duke Guidobaldo. Ancient Trantio has become merely a servant to Pavona.

I lingered a few weeks to better judge the people’s mood and to learn what I could of the strength of the Pavonan forces present there. Here I humbly direct your attention, my lord, to the document accompanying this letter in which I attempt an accounting of said forces. Before I left Trantio to continue my journey I learned that a large fortified camp was being constructed near unto Scorcio. This seemed somewhat to alter the mood in the city, the common people now believing it possible that Duke Guidobaldo’s promises of Pavonan protection against the incursion of the dead may indeed be true, and that rather than simply burden them with taxes and impressment, the duke is indeed preparing to defend their realm. Nor is he intending to do so at the walls of Trantio itself, by which time the rest of the realm would surely have been lain waste, sacrificed to weaken and disperse the foe, but rather to make his stand at the northernmost borders, thereby halting the foe before they encroach upon the rest of the realm. Yet my Lord, you must not think this to mean I am certain of these matters, for I was unable to ascertain what exactly the Pavonan army intends to do next. Apart from a company of light horse sent to scout the Via Nano in light of the mercenary ogres, I know not whether the rest of the army intends to remain at Trantio, occupy the fortified camp at Scorcio or march away to some other purpose. Duke Guidobaldo keeps his own counsel concerning such matters.

Thence I travelled towards Pavona itself, intending to reach that city in a week’s time. I write this from Astiano, which has become settled in its subservience to Pavona, and indeed has raised both a fighting regiment for their new master’s army and a militia to guard the town in Duke Guidobaldo’s service. I will send a letter to you as soon as I arrive in Pavona, where I hope to gain a much better understanding of the Pavonan’s intentions towards your fair city of Verezzo.

Ever and always your servant.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Camponeffro, South of Raverno

“There’s nothing here for us. Nothing of any worth, anyway” complained Pasquale for the third time that hour, his voice loud enough so those riding ahead of him could hear. 
Tino answered, not bothering to turn in his saddle to look. “You knew that, Pas, before we even set off. We’re not here to loot, nor to have a holiday.”

 “Never mind holidays and looting, there’s not even food or shelter. Fields all barren, cattle stolen, and what few folk we’ve found in a bad way and a worse mood. We may as well be in a desert.”

They had ridden for three days now, different companies of Portomaggioren soldiers scouring different parts of the region – this road, that village, this path – while some patrolled the forest edge at the southern border. The VMC had done a thorough job of sacking the place – it seemed northerners were no less adept at plundering than even the most veteran of Tilean mercenaries. Now all that remained were the ragged victims and scattered bands of brigands bolstered in numbers by the desperate and the dispossessed.

Tino gently slowed his mount’s pace until he was riding beside his irritable comrade. “You’re looking at it wrong. You should be glad that the northerners came, for if they had not fought Kurnag’s Waagh then I reckon it would have been us who had to do it.”

“I’m looking at this place!” argued Pasquale. “Looking at what those northerners did! Heroes they may be for fighting the Waagh, but then they did this. Turned farmers into beggars and robbers.”

“Aye, they did. But I say again, you’re still not seeing it right. Why not be glad the northerners attacked here instead of Portomaggiore?”

“Oh, I’m ecstatic about it. I suppose next you’ll be telling me that I ought to be happy I don’t have to carry all the loot they took, and that the wine they stole would’ve given me a headache in the morning, and that …”

“Hush now,” interrupted Tino, pointing ahead. “No shelter you said? Well, that looks like shelter to me.”

It was a dwelling of modest size, which on first sight appeared as ruinous as nearly every other they had seen, but upon closer inspection had obviously been repaired, though in a haphazard and makeshift sort of way. The original roof was gone, replaced by a tangle of broken timbers supporting a canvass sheet. Faces peered over the walls.

Tino rode off the road through a gap in the hedge and three of the column, including Pasquale, followed. The other riders carried on down the road, simply not as curious, tired of this miserable land and its meagre pickings. Besides the place was so small they knew they would have to find somewhere else for the night.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5C1_zpsyxyfvegs.jpg)

As they drew close they saw three inhabitants who were everything they had come to expect from this region – an old, bent man leaning heavy on a stick, a battered and bruised peasant with his arm in a sling, and a wench carrying nothing more exciting than a bundle of twigs.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5C2_zpsueb5wuln.jpg)

“You there,” shouted Tino, having unholstered his long horseman’s pistol, a habit formed from bitter experience over the last few days. “Is this place yours?”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5C3_zpslzvbzts4.jpg)

“What’s left of it, aye,” said the injured man in a thick Ravernan accent. “All ours. Why, are you intending to smash it up some more?”

Pasquale laughed. “There’s not much left to break, friend.”

“You needn’t fear us,” reassured Tino. “We’re here to make things better, not worse. Stupid question, I know, but who did this?”

“Foreigners, the ultramontane kind,” said the old man in a croaky voice.

Tino asked the question he had been using a lot recently. “Why?”

The old man laughed. “Because this is what soldiers do. I know, I was one once.”

“No, old man. I meant why here and not somewhere else? Why attack Camponeffro?”

“They said we were being punished,” said the wounded man. “I told them I hadn’t done anything to them and this is what I got.” He held up his injured arm.

Tino frowned. This was new. “Punished for what?”

“I don’t know. Having hens? Being nearby?”

The old man coughed and everyone looked at him. “I heard them say: ‘This will teach you not to throw Marienburgers out of windows.’”

Pasquale swept his hand as if to indicate all around. “Seems a bit too much for a spot of tomfoolery and rough and tumble,” he said.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/EndRep5C4_zpsrathc7e6.jpg)

“That was their excuse,” said the old man. “Not their real purpose. When I was a soldier we found fighting greenskins to be a very unprofitable affair. The sort of things they treasured weren’t exactly what we wanted to loot. I reckon the ultramontanes came here because they needed pay, and plucked at any old excuse to make what they were doing seem more than mere robbery.”

“You can tell us about your adventures over supper, old man,” said Tino, smiling. “In the meantime, wench, how about using your burden to get a fire burning? Oh, and what have you got to eat?”
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on June 22, 2015, 04:52:19 PM
Finally catching up on some of this.  Tremendous!  As usual. :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::

By the way, can't wait to see that Reman war machine in action! :icon_biggrin: :icon_cool:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 12, 2015, 07:05:17 PM
Believe me, GP, I can't wait either. But we're a bunch of players pressed somewhat by RL, and things take quite some organising! For now, another little story piece ...
...........................................................................................
Holy Blessings Upon this Weapon, May it Serve Morr’s Purpose

As father Biagino and his military escort walked into the Piazza d’Agezlio the sky darkened momentarily, due to nothing more than the shifting of clouds yet given a somewhat ominous feel by the priest’s thoughts and concerns. He was here to bless the newly forged Reman artillery, the one part of the Arch-Lector’s forces that had not taken part in the recent holy parade, and a part that most soldiers believed was in particular need of prayers if it was to function safely. Biagino himself knew the importance of guns, having witnessed at Pontremola how the foe would fall to blades only to rise again, knitted back together by wicked magics. Those blasted apart by iron shot, however, took considerably longer to re-animate – their splintered bones scattered widely, their shivered arms and armour beyond repair.

Most of Remas would agree with him. Much hope was pinned on the artillery in the coming battle, not just the marvellously fashioned steam bastion, but also these brass barrelled pieces. They promised a most modern form of warfare, of a kind that could bring down even massive and monstrous foes in the field of battle, and which could slay entire files of undead before even their stench could be smelled by the soldiers of Remas.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GunBlessing1_zpsgkapvzud.jpg)

There were three pieces in the square, each attended by newly raised gunners and matrosses busy learning their art. They had already fired this morning – Biagino had heard the latest blast from several streets away - using just powder and wadding, and although the smoke from the volley had been cleared away by the fresh breeze, the smell of brimstone was still evident. Soon the crews would no doubt reek of the stuff, as if their pockets were packed with rotten eggs, and their new, brightly coloured Reman liveries of orange, blue and red would be blackened and singed.

The drummer by Biagino’s side had announced their arrival in the square with a pretty peel and now the master gunner strode over to greet them. By the look of him - his heavy black beard, his stern expression - the fellow was a veteran. Of course he had to be, as the arch-lector’s clerks would not have hired him if he had not presented adequate proof of his expertise. Considering the nature of mercenaries, Biagino wondered just what cruel acts this man might have perpetrated over the years, possibly a veritable torrent of murderous robberies and assaults. Let us hope, he thought, that this fellow can put all that behind him in his present service. Indeed, the arch-lector had promised each and every crusading soldier that Morr would forgive them all their sins and open the gates of his eternal garden to them if they served well. It was an absolution that could cleanse this man of a long litany of crimes.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GunBlessing2_zpsp5cknzg6.jpg)

“Good morrow, father,” said the gunner. “Come to chant a prayer or two over our new born pieces? If you please, make them powerful prayers for I’ve seen what can happen when a barrel bursts, and it ain’t a pretty sight.”

“You doubt our gunsmith’s skills then?” said Biagino, trying to match the man’s banter.

“No, good priest, I am sure the brass is flawless and pure, like the church itself …” (Someone in the nearest crew sniggered.) … “but I intend to work them hard, to make these girls hotter than hot. Best mix in some cold charms too if you can.”

“I’m no hedge wizard dealing in petty cantrips, but a priest of Morr, channeling his divine will to those who deserve it.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GunBlessing3_zps2kys5l0i.jpg)

The master gunner grinned. “Then you’ve come to the right place, ‘cos we’re all deserving - arch-lector himself says so.”

Biagino had not expected such irreverence, though perhaps he should have. Suddenly the man looked sombre again, stepped a little closer and spoke a little quieter.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GunBlessing4_zpsbhywlwbq.jpg)

“No disrespect meant, father. Just soldier’s banter for the sake of the boys here. ‘Taint an easy thing to go up against what we face. There’ll be no surrenders when the slaughter gets too much, nor truces to catch our breath. We’re to risk our lives facing death itself, not march about burning fields and robbing cattle. Best then to keep these lads occupied with postures, procedures and puns, takes their mind off tomorrow. A bit of bravado doesn’t go amiss either.”

Biagino understood. Fear was a soldier’s worst enemy when facing the undead. Religious conviction could remove it, and if not, then bluster and boasting might quash it almost as well. “Well and good,” he told the gunner. “I have no doubt you know your business. In this war, however, it is Morr who will guide us to victory, whether we do so laughing or crying. Now, let us go about what must be done.”

The three of them walked over to the first piece, a mortar. Like the crews, it too sported the city’s livery, with colourful wheels pretty enough for a travelling players’ wagon. Its wide muzzle looked terrifying, but of course could not worry a foe who felt no fear. Although Biagino had never seen a mortar in action, he knew them by reputation. Sometimes called ‘murderers’ they were reckoned one of the most dangerous weapons to crew, as in order to fire them one had to tip a lighted grenado of massive size down a short barrel already stuffed with powder, with only a wooden bung to separate the burning fuse and the charge. It did not take the expertise of a gunner to recognise how the simplest error, or the tiniest flaw in either barrel, grenade, bung or fuse could tear weapon and crew to pieces. Maybe this was why the master gunner escorted Biagino here first?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GunBlessing5_zpse81wjgss.jpg)

Biagino spoke the blessing and sprinkled some holy water on the piece, while the crew listened intently as if to gauge the potency of his words. Once done, Biagino asked the gunner, “Have you witnessed one of these at work?”

“Oh yes. A nasty beast should it land a grenade amongst a body of men. And it can work great terrors against a garrison, lobbing fiery death right over the walls to anywhere within. This one is a monster indeed, and it’ll need a good 6 or 8 horses to shift it.”

The man seemed to know his stuff. “I saw the brutes from Campogrotta carrying iron and brass barrels, yet hauling no carriage,” said Biagino. “I scarce believed them to be real guns. Do they really intend to hold them as they fire?”

“They do, but they don’t load with round-shot, merely hail shot or sangrenel. That stuff doesn’t kick quite the same. Ogres might be strong, but not enough to take the recoil of 6lb of iron ball. Reckon that’d take their arm right out of its socket.”

Biagino blessed both cannons too, and the crews manning them. Once he was done he began to bid the soldiers farewell, promising that he would be with the army to help ensure Morr watched over them in their holy work. But the master gunner interrupted him, gesturing at a man carrying a cask.
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/GunBlessing6_zpst3n0oq4t.jpg)

 “What?” asked Biagino, somewhat confused.

“The powder,” explained the gunner. “You will bless that also? Ask Morr to keep it dry and healthy?”

“Yes, yes. Of course,” said Biagino, and for a fourth time began his prayers. Considering he had two other piazzas and a yard yet to visit, this was going to be a long day.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on July 13, 2015, 10:23:04 AM
Padre you're here as well! I can't belive that I've missed this thread. Good to see your epic campaign in two of my favorite Warhammer forums. :smile2:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 17, 2015, 11:32:15 AM
The Day Before We Met Our Dead
Prequel to the Assault on Viadaza

Father Biagino, trying to look inconspicuous as if merely passing by upon some errand, approached the spot where the arch lector was about to receive the army’s scouts. Being a priest of Morr, one of the Viadazan crusaders no less, no guards thought to stop him. Anyone else would have been suspected of being a spy and certainly not allowed so close without an adequate excuse. The first thing that caught his eye was the formed company of soldiers standing guard, clothed in the blue and red of Remas, with a fluttering standard bearing the arch-lector’s crossed keys – the keys to Morr’s heavenly garden – before them. Despite the livery and the ensign, however, they were not Remans, nor Tileans, nor even worshippers of Morr. They were from the far, distant and mysterious realm of Cathay, being one of several such mercenary companies in Reman employ for many years now.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeVsViadazaPrequel3_zpskg0cpiyn.jpg)

He was not alone in thinking Cathayans were somewhat unexpected and unusual components of a holy Morrite crusade. Their role in the state army of Remas was widely understood: ever since the disgrace of the corrupt arch-lector Frederigo Ordini during the time of the Tilean Terror, when the secular overlord of Remas took command of the city’s forces to prevent any further folly, the army had been almost wholly composed of foreign mercenaries. This was hardly a novelty in Tilea, as many an Estalian caballero, ultramontane halberdier or Border Princes brigand archer were hired by many a city state. All these accepted holy Morr as the god of death, part of the pantheon of lawful gods, and even if their first prayers in battle might be to Myrmidia, Sigmar or even Ulric, it was the blessing of a Morrite priest they sought when mortally wounded. These Cathayans, however, recognised none of the gods known in Tilea, instead worshipping alien gods whose very names were unpronounceable. Back during Frederigo Ordini’s fall and the distrust of the church it caused, such foreigners were actively sought, all the better to ensure that a corrupted priest might no more bend them to his will, regardless of whether that will be loyal only to Morr or driven by worldly greed and a lust for power.  And so the quiet Cathayans’ reassuring, and continued, presence in the Reman standing army had begun. But here, now, amongst a blessed army commanded by priests and half composed of willing volunteers and soldiers sent by the powers of Tilea, the Cathayans seemed out of place. But then, even a year ago no-one thought an arch-lector could command any army.

Once Biagino had found a spot where he might watch and listen without being too noticeable, he spotted the dwarfen scouts already making their way through the camp. While they approached, he looked over at the Arch-Lector Calictus II. Wearing his simple red cloak, and unadorned hat, with only a little gold-work upon his brown-belted cassock, it was the arch-lector’s face that drew people’s attention, then held it. Strikingly gaunt, his stern expression reflected both what he expected of himself and of others, while being visibly illuminated by Morr’s holy blessing (at least to those who had eyes to see such things).

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeVsViadazaPrequel4_zpsfruszdfg.jpg)

It dawned on Biagino that here was the answer. Calictus was the reason why Cathayans, ogres, dwarfs and all the rest were marching northwards together. Not his office and the authority granted by it, nor his robes and all the outward dignity of religious nobility, but the man himself. All who looked upon him saw a man they could trust to do Morr’s will. This arch-lector seemed as far from the cunning and conniving character of Ordini as one could get. It was the man Calictus who could command the secular state of Remas and all its forces, then lead them to fight a holy war, despite the disastrous false crusade of only 60 years previously. The passage of time had no doubt played a part in assuaging Reman doubts, and the undead nature of the foe proved the need for decisive action, but it was the man himself, devout and determined, who had finally tipped the balance.

So it was that several forces were welded into one, men and brutes, foreign mercenaries and city militia, Remans and Pavonans. From the most able of genius artificiers, Angelo Da Leoni, who had brought his marvellous steam engine, to the most crazed of gibbering, flagellating fanatics, raised from the city’s poorest quarters by the raving priest Father Antonello. From the proud nobility of Remas bedecked in fluted and laminated armour from knight’s head to horse’s hoof, to the outcast peasant archers of Campogrotta in their mud-flecked, linen rags. All marching side by side beneath the banners of the Reman Church of Morr.

And the dwarfs, of course, who had just that moment arrived before the arch-lector.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeVsViadazaPrequel1_zpsax7pcnvc.jpg)

They had been sent out along with a company of Bravi to learn what they could of the now nightmarish city of Viadaza. The bravi had returned with little to report, their faces ashen and limbs trembling, their words a confused tumble of prayers, warnings and whimpers. Biagino had learned at the Battle of Pontremola that men could face the walking dead and fight well, while priests sang litanies to heap blessings upon them, and holy paraphernalia invoked an aura of Morr’s protection. But if such things were absent, he knew from his own experience, then the fear engendered by both the sight and stench of the undead could sap all courage leaving an empty, choking pit where one’s guts were supposed to be. Biagino hoped the Dwarfs had not been so affected.

The dwarfs were not alone, having more easterners with them: masked, bare-footed men with fine blades ridiculously rumoured to be sharp enough to slice paper in two (not in the normal way but by separating front from back to form two equally sized, impossibly thin, sheets). In any other army the sight of two such dissimilar warrior species working together as one would be the talk of the camp, but here in this crusade it was par for the course. Biagino noticed that one of the dwarfs also wore a scarf to hide his face. Odd, he thought. Maybe the fellow’s beard was too bright a shade of ginger and he didn’t want to reveal the scouts’ position by it? But then why was the white bearded dwarf not similarly wrapped? Perhaps the dwarf was so impressed by his eastern companions he had taken to dressing like them, an action that seemed more gnomish in character than dwarfen. Or did the fellow have some mutilation to hide, which in the case of a dwarf might be nothing more than an ill-clipped beard? He shook his head – it was lack of sleep that made his thoughts stray so wildly and easily.

The dwarf at the front did the talking. He was clothed in chainmail, wore his beard in neat braids, and carried an iron hammer as big as a two pint pot upon his shoulder. Having bowed to the arch-lector in the quick and slight dwarfen manner, he began his report.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeVsViadazaPrequel2_zpsuunefo8t.jpg)

“Your Holiness. We have done as you commanded and looked upon the foe. We counted those on the roads and byways, and approached to within a long-bow’s shot of the walls . The enemy is not as strong as us, but is in no ways weak or ill-prepared.”

Calictus flexed his fingers. “Do you mean they have intelligence of our approach or that they are diligent in their continuing watch?”

“I cannot say for certain. They’re not the sort of enemy we can capture and interrogate, but it seems to me they know we are close. The city walls are manned in strength both day and night, and they have strong patrols covering a distance of four miles from the gates.”

Biagino wondered whether the limit of the enemy patrols was due to how far their vampiric master’s will could reach.

“The patrols – they are undead?” asked the arch-lector, which Biagino took to mean that he too was weighing the same possibility.

“Yes, your holiness. Long dead horsemen; bleached bones devoid off all signs of flesh; hooves a-clattering just like living horses. You can hear them coming some way off – what with so much rocky ground on or off the paths all around the city. They rode in companies, column of twos, banners at their fore, like soldiers. One lot even had a drummer beating silently at the shredded remnants of mouldy leather atop his copper kettles.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeVsViadazaPrequel7_zpswbpu5jgx.jpg)

“Did they see you?” asked the arch-lector.

The dwarf pondered a moment, then turned to look at his company. Some shook their heads a little, others shrugged. “I think not, your holiness. They gave no sign of doing so. They didn’t pursue us. They didn’t even turn to look our way.”

The officer by arch-lector’s side, a mercenary captain from Astiano whose name escaped Biagino, suddenly perked up. “Ah, but do the dead need to look in order to see? They don’t require eyeballs, which should surely prove a much more troublesome deficiency compared to failing to turn one’s head.”

Biagino wondered if the captain was related to the noble Duccio family, long famed for their philosophical bent. Perhaps he had come along with the Pavonans, Astiano’s new rulers? Perhaps the man had chosen to be just as philosophical about being conquered?

“The undead are not bound by natural laws, but by unnatural ones,” answered the arch-lector, in a matter of fact tone that very much surprised Biagino. It was as if he were lecturing a pupil on a spring morning. “Only in a vampire’s face can one see expression, and even then it is never to be trusted for their very existence is a lie, and what they choose to show the world is rarely the truth. Still … it matters not whether the riders saw these scouts, if Lord Adolfo already knew of our approach.”

The Astianan frowned. “So we cannot surprise them?”

“I doubt it,” said the arch-lector. “But we can attack before Lord Adolfo has any more time to prepare. Before any relief can be sent to him.” He turned back to the dwarf, “You said you looked upon the walls, that they were manned in strength. Tell me exactly what you saw.”

“There’s not a wall unguarded, your holiness. I checked every one with my spy glass. A dozen at least upon each. Some were skeletons armed with long spears, many armoured too.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeVsViadazaPrequel5_zpslumswt7i.jpg)

“And there were still rotting corpses upon other walls, more of them than the skeletons I reckon, as well as brutes guarding the gate …”

That’s the same as ever, thought Biagino. When Lord Adolfo was still mortal both the seaward and landward entrances to his city had always been guarded by Ogres. Now he was a vampire, why wouldn’t his brutes be zombies? Biagino already knew to expect undead ogres at the city, for the fisherman had reported their presence to him. In truth, there was nothing described so far he had not told the arch-lector himself. He had written lengthy reports concerning what he himself witnessed at Viadaza and all that the witnessed he had questioned had told him. Except, of course, and somewhat crucial to the true picture, he could not say that all these things were still there. Until the scouts looked with their own eyes it was entirely possible that Adolfo’s main strength might already have moved elsewhere.

This thought made Biagino think of his recent nightmares: Catching his breath after the victory at Pontremola, the cheers of his battered regiment as the enemy falls back. No-one has the strength to pursue them, but it is not necessary. The enemy is beaten. The vampire Duke is dead. The tide is turned. But then the dream changes and he is hiding with Ugo in the trees east of Viadaza, watching as the Vampire Duchess is welcomed into the city by Adolfo’s hellish army. Panic wells inside him. There has been no victory. Pontremola was a trick, an illusion. Even as the Viadazan crusaders cheer at the sight of the enemy falling away, in truth the enemy has already passed them by, and the city has fallen. Then the dream changes again, back to the army, except these are the Reman crusaders, and they too are ready to cheer, any moment. The enemy is about to retreat. His legs grow weak, his sword slips from his grip, for he knows if they do retreat, then it is the same as Pontremola - a hollow victory. The real enemy has already passed them by and is even now swarming through yet another town. For them, to die is to be undead, to be defeated is to be undefeated. His head swims as the macabre dance unwinds about him - feint, attack; fall, rise; lose, win - while his dancing Duchess partner manoeuvres him, step by lurching step, ever closer to the water.

He jolted awake. The dwarf was still speaking.

“… without need of a gate, for they were weaving freely through the very walls, outside, then inside, now outside again, as if the grey stone were merely mist. Their horses’ hooves barely touched the ground, if at all, and they were lit by green flames as if they had been doused in oil and set ablaze.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileaCampaign/CrusadeVsViadazaPrequel6_zpsqlzpmyhl.jpg)

“Enough, master dwarf,” snapped Calictus. “Let’s not wax so lyrical about such horrors in the camp, shall we? We will face them soon enough, but when we do, it will be with Morr’s blessing as our armour, and Morr’s will as our nerve. It will help if the soldiers have had a good night’s sleep tonight, so, as I said, no mention of this again until the battle is won.”

“'A good night’s sleep is the whetstone of success',” said the Viadazan captain, quoting some ancient scholar on the art of war.

A good night’s sleep! thought Biagino. If only.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on August 17, 2015, 12:44:56 PM
Oooh!  I like the new scary, green covered, skeletal cavalry! :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on August 18, 2015, 07:54:57 PM
I love your style... I feel like reading some awesome narrative battle report, like they used to post in old WD's. Hell, that's so inspirational it actually made me paint a couple WFB models. :biggriin:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 18, 2015, 08:03:59 PM
Thank you very much for saying so, Xathrodox86. It really does help keep my own enthusiasm going if I know some people enjoy reading this stuff.

As for a battle report ... here is the first part of this one:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Death Becomes Them
The Assault on Viadaza, Illustrated Battle Story

The ground beyond the grey walls of Viadaza, out to the ancient ruins of a Morrite church and the rocky outcrops three hundred yards away, was empty of all buildings, trees, walls and hedges – cleared to ensure that approaching army would find no concealment. It was a common tactic, allowing the defenders plenty of time to rain bolts and bullets upon the foe. Viadaza, however, was garrisoned by the undead, who rarely attempted to employ missiles of any kind, and so either the clearing had been done before the city turned, or perhaps the intention was to force any attackers to look long upon the foul and terrifying garrison as they drew closer.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FieldofBattle_zps0vmaiqdl.jpg)

Round and square towers studded the walls, and a large, earthen bastion studded with storm poles had been thrown up before the gate. Even if unmanned, the earthwork made any approach towards the gate considerably more difficult. The Morrite Crusaders, however, had brought artillery, and intended to break down more than the gate - both the Pavonan and Reman master gunners had promised their heavy shot could, given sufficient time, bring down the walls and towers themselves.

There were three large guns in the army of the living. Two were Reman, and stood amongst the main their own battalion upon the right and centre of the line. Father Biagino, who had once stood in the front rank of the Viadazan pikemen as they faced the undead in battle, this time stood alone, close to the artillery, very happy not to be in the vanguard this time. To the right of the guns rode the hero of Pontremola, General d’Alessio, leading the brightly armoured and prettily plumed nobility of Remas. Beyond them, upon the flank of the line, jogged a band of skirmishing bravi.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault1_zpsanef06g8.jpg)

The main marching strength of Remas was to the left of the guns. The large mob of flagellants could barely be held in line as they marched beside the column of pike and halberdiers. Behind them the carroccio trundled, from which jutted a huge banner bearing the arms of the Morrite church of Remas, while in pride of place at the very centre of the line of battle jolted Angelo da Leoni’s massive war contraption, its upper deck doors already pulled open to reveal the multiple muzzles of the helblaster within. Black and sooty steam belched from its long, central funnel as gears grinded and chains rattled.

The left of the crusader’s line was composed of the other two battalions in the allied force: the blue and white liveried Pavonans, and the archers and grey-skinned brutes sent by Lord Nicolo from Campogrotta. Here, as well as another gun tended by its own engineer, there were handguns, bows, longbows and leadbelchers, all massed together and ordered to clear the walls before them of anything that moved.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault2_zpsib1z3gaw.jpg)

The young lord Silvano Gondi, the only horseman in the Pavonan battalion, had chosen not to ride with the Reman nobility and General d’Alessio, for it seemed to him only proper that he should personally command the army he had brought. So it was he rode amongst them.


(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault4_zpsoomxorir.jpg)

His armour was practically identical to that which his brother had been entombed in, for it had been fashioned in the same workshop at the same time. And like his brother, he sported a tall feathered plume so that all could spot him and recognise him instantly. He carried his lance couched beneath his arm, giving the impression not of a commander ready to issue orders to this company and that, but of a young knight about to charge headlong into combat. In truth, given even the slightest opportunity, that was exactly what he intended to do.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault3_zpsik6cdjnp.jpg)

Behind the Cathayan crossbowmen, between an abandoned smithy and the blue and red barded draught horses hauling the carroccio, stood the arch-lector of Morr, Calictus II himself. The only guard he had was his personal standard bearer, present more to mark him out for his soldiers to see than to defend his person. He had declared that morning to his officers that the army was his shield and Morr his armour, thus it was a waste of sword arms to oblige any warriors to linger with him when there was Morr’s holy work to be done. In return, General d’Alessio suggested, therefore, that the arch-lector should stay at the rear, all the better to incant his magical prayers to embolden and protect the soldiers, without risking injury to himself. Calictus, wholly aware that his priestly life had in no way equipped him for the bloody press of a melee, did not argue.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault6_zpseudnvo8k.jpg)

Father Antonello had a rather different take on things, however. All thought of prayer and priestly duty had gone from his head as he gave himself up to the same frenzied fury his fanatics were in gripped with. Leading them, standing at their front and right, he thus found himself furthest forward in the entire battle line. Not that he noticed, nor that he would he care if he had.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault7_zpsthhyj8wn.jpg)
(Game Note: We knew characters are not technically allowed to join flagellants, but decided as he had personally raised these men from the streets of Remas, as seen in previous stories, then he should lead them. He could cast no prayers, however, while in the grip of his religious frenzy.)

The rotting, mindless servants of the vampire Lord Adolfo swarmed upon the city walls, peering and leering through the crenelated parapets. Gathered on the southern stretches of the wall, where Adolfo also lurked, were undead brutes, slavering ghouls and the animated bones of warriors who had fought and died at this very site many hundreds of years ago.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault11_zps5kylwzud.jpg)

Along the northern reaches stood even more skeletons, hiding a necromancer amongst their number, while outside the walls stood a shambling horde of zombies – the recently living denizens of Viadaza who had failed to flee when dead arose.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault12_zpsvwb6ljtc.jpg)

The crusaders could not know where the enemy’s horse soldiers were, for the walls hid them from sight, however those who had heard what the dwarfen scouts had to say, and those officers who had subsequently been warned what to expect, knew that the undead riders could emerge from the walls – literally bursting through the walls - at any moment. (Game Note: I have edited out the 6 dice placed inside the walls, numbered 1 to 6. In the game they represented the possible positions of the hexwraiths and black knights, which the controlling player had secretly written down. It seemed only fair that if they were both ethereal and hidden behind thick stone walls, the opposing player really shouldn’t know where they were!)

Although the height of the walls and the parapets upon them concealed much of the smaller foe, so that only spears and helmets, or bald heads and clutching hands could be seen clearly, none of the crusaders could fail to see the brutes guarding the gate and the walls about it. Their once grey flesh had mouldered into a bruised mess of blue, and was pierced through with snapped shards of bone. One had a huge cleaver dug deep into his skull, while the one upon the highest part of the gate bore a makeshift flail with threshing heads made of … well, heads. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault13_zpsdcobrmj6.jpg)

In the main street behind the gate a ghastly chariot rolled along, pulled by two long dead beasts. It carried a standard fashioned from what could only be a giant’s hand, and was not only piled high with skulls, but had skulls decorating every possible place such could be affixed.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault15_zpshekvq7mg.jpg)

The charioteer was the part fossilised corpse of a warrior so ancient it had been the fashion in his day to share one’s grave with a chariot. He had been a head-collector in life, and those heads, even now containing the faint, whispering slivers of the souls they once belonged to, conjoined in their ages-old misery to conjure up a palpable aura of foul magic which cursed the very ground along which the chariot passed. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault22_zpsejihkcj6.jpg)
(Game Note: You have probably already guessed, but this is my ‘counts as’ corpse cart.)

Battle to follow soon.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on August 18, 2015, 09:53:34 PM
Wonderful lead in :::cheers:::!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: damo_b on August 19, 2015, 02:42:57 PM
Great start padre.
Looks good i even remember it that way. Lets see if the rest is the same as my memory.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 20, 2015, 09:09:38 PM
@ damo_b: No pressure then?  :-D I have my notes, and about 80 photos to pick and choose from, so I reckon I will get this report spot on. It really helps when I can GM, take notes and photos, and not have to worry about tactics, decisions, moving figures and rolling dice. So .. thanks ever so much for stepping in and commanding the crusade. BTW, Craig did e-mail me to say thank you to the player who commanded his force!
.................................................................................
Death Becomes Them
The Assault on Viadaza
Part 2


As was both proper and expected, it was Generalissimo Urbano d’Alessio who gave the command for the assault to begin, drawing his sword and sweeping it over his head to point at the walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault8_zpshunaqyqe.jpg)

Drums and cornets began to sound the preparative, growing more numerous and thus louder as new musicians joined in across the line of battle. The mules and nags in the baggage train reared and jolted in fear, not because they were unused to the beating of drums, but because the field had been so quiet only moments before. When the first blast of the artillery added to the noise – for it had been agreed that before anyone moved the artillery would begin its bombardment - it was all the handlers and wagoneers could do to stop the horses breaking their collars and snapping the yokes.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault9_zpshcdxrefi.jpg)

It was intended that the steam tank and the ogre lead-belchers would move as soon as the first signal was given, closing near enough to the walls to add their firepower to that of the big guns. Accordingly, in the very centre of the line, Master Leoni’s iron and timber behemoth juddered and lurched, but then (although the sound of it was unheard by most of the army due to the thundering of the guns) it began to groan dangerously loud. Desperate to avoid calamity, Leoni was forced to vent the steam. As clouds of boiling vapour burst from the funnels, he knew his pride and joy would not be moving just yet. It was a rather inauspicious start to his military career.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault5_zpspbpai4hb.jpg)

Calictus II had already spotted the large mass of zombies milling outside the city’s northern walls. Reluctant to allow the entire right wing of the army to be distracted and weakened by the need to hack through such a stinking horde of walking corpses, he conjured his Circlet of Burning Gold to make them stumble and struggle even more than usual, satisfactorily thwarting their advance.

Meanwhile, the artillery’s iron round-shots had thumped into the walls to cause very little discernible damage (Game Note: 3 x ‘No Effects’ rolled. Damian had said his bad dice rolling was legendary, and already we were beginning to wonder.) When the Campogrottan leadbelchers also hefted their barrels …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault10_zpsopdtkr4s.jpg)

… and loosed a barrage of lead and iron, they too were surprised to see only one ghoul tumble back from the parapet. Most of their shot merely peppered and chipped at the walls.

The sound of the blasts now dissipated, the echoes rapidly diminishing, to be replaced by a booming, staccato laughter emanating from the wall by the gate. It was one of the undead brutes, renowned for his bellowing voice in life, and now proving that death had not stripped him of his capability.   
 
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault14_zps1ae2pcun.jpg)

When the horde of zombies failed to appear around the north-eastern tower as intended, Lord Adolfo’s lieutenant, a necromancer of considerable skill, realised some curse must have been employed against them. Undismayed, he simply decided he would raise some more. So it was that a newly animated company of corpses lurched to their feet and began their own stumbling advance right before the enemy.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault17_zpsummqfd2h.jpg)

Not willing to allow the ineffectiveness of the artillery to dishearten the army, d’Alessio ordered the general advance. Praying to Morr, Master Leoni shouted instructions down to the engineers below – open that, release this, pull the other – and now his engine of war did move, clattering along beside the huge regiment of Estalian pikemen as they marched on apace.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault16_zpsx3ix2ayu.jpg)

Although Calictus’ next use of the circlet was successful, an eddy in the winds of magic disturbed his concentration, and all enchantment was subsequently sapped from it. He knew it would be useless for the rest of the fight. The very same eddy proved too slippery for the lesser priest, Father Frederico, too. His Ruby Ring of Ruin sent a fireball to fell two zombies, but then suddenly grew mundanely cold as it too failed to preserve its magical aura. Both priests soon forgot these particular frustrations as they watched two round-shots once again fail even to shake the walls. A third shot, sent from the Pavonan piece, did at least splinter the gate’s timber. Those who noticed (which was not many) decided this might mean the guns could yet contribute to the struggle. Cathayan crossbow bolts felled three of the newly raised zombies, while the cloud of missiles spat out by the leadbelchers and longbows threw only two more ghouls from the parapet. The other ghouls, leering intently over the walls, their horribly bent forms twitching as their black-clawed fingers scratched at the stone, had obviously not even noticed the deaths.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault18_zpsu5v7fj8d.jpg)

Inside the city, a large company of undead horse formed up behind the southern wall, and readied themselves to ride right through the very stone itself. (Game note: Darren revealed them then changed his mind about actually moving them through the wall, thus an unnecessarily early manifestation!)

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault19_zpsecvsssbr.jpg)

On the northern side of the city a hideous band of hexwraiths burst from the walls to begin riding up behind the magically slowed zombies.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault20_zpsrm1xt2zn.jpg)

Both the vampire Lord Adolfo and his necromantic second in command cursed as they could find insufficient winds of magic to unleash any effective spells, perhaps the result of the same eddy that had so unbalanced the enemy’s priestly prayers? All they could do was watch as the enemy came on, the massed foot regiments at their centre taking the lead.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault21_zpsy2nqfhju.jpg)[/URL]

Adolfo could not know, but the appearance of the hexwraiths did at least have an immediate effect on the foe, for Generalissimo d’Alessio and the nobility of Remas forming his guard thought better of riding any closer to a deadly foe they could not possibly harm. So it was they slowed their already slow pace, awaiting events to see if there was anything of use they could contribute to the assault.

Three more blasts came from the cannons, and this time one of the brace of Reman guns blew itself apart in the process. For the sixth time a ball of iron bounced from the northern stretch of the wall, making several of those who witnessed wonder whether there might be some enchantment upon the walls. Perhaps they had been bathed in a necromantic concoction of sacrificial blood lending them some new magical of strength beyond that gifted by mere stone and mortar? Or perhaps great, thick piles of earth had been thrown up behind the walls, giving them a very mundane sort of strength? A good many men now began to wonder if they were marching headlong to their doom, for the thought of having to climb ladders to face such a terrifying foe was not exactly a happy one. Just then, however, another ball hit the gate, and this time huge shivers of timber were seen to break away as the shot tore right through. Maybe the gate would be broken? Maybe they would walk in fully armed rather than be forced to clamber up ladders with only swords and knives as weapons?

Even as Master Leoni was leafing through his leather bound notes and calculations concerning the technical intricacies of his ingenious invention, once again the awful groan issued from its workings, this time sending a measuring rod to full extension. So once again he was forced to haul upon both venting levers, whilst shouting as best he could over the noise to instruct the engineers to open the fueling hatch and loosen the pressure grate. The machine slowed to a halt, and Leoni, in truth more baffled than embarrassed, now took a moment to ponder, his book open in his palm, hoping that inspiration would strike and he could think of some way to make the machine behave.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault24_zpsydp2zp4z.jpg)

Again the hail of missiles hurled at the walls felled only a handful of the foe, while the contrary winds of magic ruined yet more magical artefacts. The priests knew that they would have to put their faith (rather appropriately) in prayers, rather than rely on enchanted trinkets and baubles.

Now more undead riders appeared, trotting out of the southern walls as if it were no more difficult to do than leaping over a ditch. Once they were the disciplined bodyguard of an ancient warlord, and their training seemed somehow remembered as they wheeled neatly, maintaining almost (or entirely?) unnaturally good order, and began their own leisurely ride towards the foe.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault23_zpsateryooy.jpg)[/URL]

Adolfo found magic enough to restock his slightly damaged company of ghouls, while his necromancer glanced over to see that at last the huge mob of zombies had broken free of whatever it was had been slowing them down. They shambled forwards, hefting rusted swords and empty blunderbusses, bent pitchforks and damp pistols, chipped spears and maces.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault26_zpssze4em26.jpg)

Upon the other side of the field of battle, the soldiers of Lord Silvano’s Pavonan battalion were keen on showing the Remans that they would not be laggardly in this fight. They too approached the walls, their swordsmen aiming towards the gate while the halberdiers marched straight towards the walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault27_zpshjyanihr.jpg)

Beside them the Campogrottan Ogres continued forwards, the leadbelchers leading the way, hastily loading their pieces in the hope of delivering a hellish blast at the undead riders.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault30_zpsroii236i.jpg)

When they did shoot, however, only one foe went down, while the other riders seemed only to have been awakened to the Ogres’ presence. Their empty eye sockets turned to look upon the brutes, then they pulled at their reins to turn the mounts too.

In the centre of the Crusaders’ line the pike picked up the pace, skirting the empty earthwork and very definitely making for the gate. If (when?) it did finally break, they wanted to be ready to attack immediately.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault29_zpsfcmbd2n2.jpg)
 
And they proved to be in luck, for just then another Pavonan roundshot smashed into the timber, this time tearing it down and breaking down the portcullis behind too. The way into Viadaza was now open, and apart from a cannon and its crew, the forces of the crusade had not lost a man.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault31_zpsktko2p2x.jpg)
 
Up on the walls, Lord Adolfo wove adroitly through the fidgeting ghouls to find a better spot to sight the foe, and one from which he could cast magic to aid his horse soldiers as well as the defenders upon the walls. As the gate splintered and fell, he glared over the parapet, his red eyes gleaming with hatred, fangs bared, and he began to ponder whether he could hold this city, or whether it might be best to leave and return to his mistress. It seemed to him that a fight to the death meant that she would lose both Viadaza and this army, whereas if he could escape with some sort of force, then only the city was lost. His loyalty to her was paramount, and ultimately informed his every decision. For now, however, he put any thoughts of flight from his mind, for his blood was up, and a fury knotted every muscle in his body. This city had been his in life, and was still now his in death. He would try this fight a little longer, for his army was still virtually whole, and he would have it tear deep into the foe before he chose to yield his city. If he was to leave and flee to his mistress, he intended to tell her he had left the enemy wounded, reeling and afraid.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault38_zpslzov9czk.jpg)

More to follow asap

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Burtx on August 21, 2015, 10:08:21 PM
Great stuff padre! I finally managed to catch up again. Good to see 'my' ogres in action - Razger
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 21, 2015, 10:13:38 PM
I notice 'Razger' doesn't mention the poor brigand archers as being his. It's almost as if he cares not a jot for any of the humans in his master's realm. Mind you, perhaps he learned that attitude from his master?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on August 22, 2015, 05:55:18 AM
Is that big blue guy a converted Strigoi? I know I've seen him somewhere. Anyway, awesome as always. :)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on August 22, 2015, 10:25:02 AM
The battle has just barely been joined, the undead are in motion, the missile fire effective to a degree, the lumbering warmachine struggling, and who will win remains to be seen. :icon_cool: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 25, 2015, 07:46:16 PM
@ Xathrodox86 - He is! Simple conversion - I chopped one hand off and replaced it with an ogres' hand carrying a massive sword.
@ GP: You will now find out!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Death Becomes Them
The Assault on Viadaza
Part 3


A hail of missiles poured against the upper reaches of the southernmost walls, bringing down three ghouls. The volley gun on the upper deck of the steam engine fired low and so merely left a ragged patch of indentations in the stone. Immersed in calculations regarding the workings of his machine, Master Leoni was entirely ignorant of how badly its opening shot had fared.

Now came the first charges, not delivered by the crusaders but against them. The last two surviving zombies of the newly raised pack ran into the flagellants.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault32_zps6db30ebu.jpg)

One reached for Father Antonello, only to lose its outstretched arm when the priest’s sword came down with furious strength. Of course, the maniacal Morrites made short work of the last zombie, and with such ease that those in and behind the third rank had no idea any sort of fight had even occurred.

The undead horse came thundering into the leadbelchers …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault33_zpstmtotrxw.jpg)

… their spear tips and ancient blades finding their marks with uncanny accuracy, so that one ogre fell and the rest were bloodied. In return, only one rider was dispatched, and the surviving ogres, confused by the unexpected brutality of the onslaught, turned to flee. Finding the ogre bulls immediately behind them they faltered, a momentary lapse that allowed the riders to cut down the last of them. The riders then leaped over the twitching corpses and slammed into the bulls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault34_zps4homokno.jpg)

Although surprised to discover the foe suddenly so near, young Lord Silvano of was determined to prove to his veteran soldiers he was worthy of not only their obedience but also their respect. He lowered his lance, gripped tight upon his shield, and spurred his mount to charge into the skeleton riders who had just engaged the ogres.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault35_zpsjntb89ep.jpg)

Silvano’s halberdiers, still marching towards the city and wondering how in any god’s name they were supposed to assault a wall defended by a foe as vicious as ghouls, now had something else to worry them. They had been present when Lord Polcario, Silvano’s older brother, had perished upon the walls of Trantio in the doubly fatal duel against the tyrant prince Girenzo. Now here they were as the Duke of Pavona’s last surviving son, a stripling who had yet to fight any foe at all, never mind face horrors from beyond the grave, had entered deadly combat. None of them wanted to be upon the receiving end of Duke Guidobaldo’s angry grief if the lad died. Their sergeant, ashen faced, screamed at them to wheel left. The assault would have to wait. One or two amongst the body, although they would never admit it, were actually glad of the distraction, for it may well mean they would no longer have to climb the walls to their almost certain deaths.

In the centre of the field, the Estalian pikemen were closing upon the gate, and their captain was considering how exactly he could form the body so as to get through. In the front rank was the Morrite lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini. How strange, he thought, to be approaching the gates of his own city as an attacker. When the city’s new stench came wafting through the open port, however, it very horribly reminded him of what exactly Viadaza had become, and why such destructive a cure was necessary. Glancing up he saw an undead brute glaring down at from the parapet, and so he quickly channelled Morr’s Stare with a holy prayer and sent the foul creature toppling from the wall.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault36_zpslxpstne4.jpg)

Aware of just how close the Father Antonello’s flagellants were getting to the huge mob of zombies, the arch lector Calictus II began chanting the words to the prayer Morr’s Caress (Game Note: The Morrite priests are modified versions of 8th ed Priests of Sigmar, but with home-made prayers.) He felt the power of Morr flow through him, and knew that the Zombies would now be weakened. Faced with the flagellants’ fury and flails, that weakness would surely mean their imminent demise.

Once again a vast volley from the left wing of the crusade resulted in the deaths of a mere handful of the foe, the sturdy stone walls proving a considerable hindrance. Not that those doing the shooting were keen to try some other form of attack – prolonged shooting and aching arms was much preferable to close proximity to a foe at one undead and deadly. This time the steam engine’s volley gun did fell a ghoul. And this time Master da Leoni noticed. His brow furrowed as he recalled the promises he had made concerning how well his costly machine of war would function in battle - much more than the equivalent of a lone hand-gunner’s lucky shot. Putting his book down, he strode over to the volley gun and took closer command of the crew.

Lord Silvano’s lance lifted the skeleton horse champion right out of his saddle and sent both his and his mount’s shattered and parted bones tumbling. When the ogres felled two more, the shock was sufficiently strong to un-weave some of the magical threads animating the ancient warriors and cause two more riders to collapse. Over on the far side of the field, the flagellants had worked themselves into such a furious fervour that two of their own number perished in the mayhem. They cared not, and as they smashed into the horde of undead before them they released a truly terrible torrent of iron-bound blows.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault37_zpsdb19e4zn.jpg)

Although two more flagellants were to die at the hands of the zombies, thirteen zombies were fatally crushed and torn in return. When Father Antonello himself beheaded two more, so disruptive was their joint assault that fourteen zombies tumbled undeathless to the ground. (Game Note: We now wondered what the flagellants could have done if they had been horded – it seemed more than likely that they would easily then have finished off all 40 zombies in one turn!)

Upon the wall, the beast that Lord Adolfo had become, his vampiric from made bestial by the taint of orcen blood in his veins, invoked dark magic to heal his riders, re-knitting the mounted champion’s bones back together so that in a moment he was back, sword in hand, facing the more than a little surprised Lord Silvano. This confusion threw the young lord, and as he now set about attacking the champion for the second time, all his blows failed to land. Nor was he the only one struggling, as by his side another ogre was cut down. Although some riders were felled by the remaining bulls, many of them for a second time, it was clear that the fight remained in the balance. The watching Pavonan halberdiers now knew with sickening clarity that their young general was caught in a fight which, if the vampire Lord Adolfo employed sufficient magic, could through longevity alone prove deadly. So without pausing they charged into the skeleton riders’ flank.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault40_zpsmfzln3tp.jpg)

Three more flagellants perished as a consequence of their own carelessly spiralling frenzy, while the rest hewed through the last dozen zombies, and then without even a moment’s consideration, they hurled themselves at the wall, throwing up their ladders with abandon to begin the ascent. Their only thought was to fight some more.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault39_zpsnok1nvgh.jpg)

No matter how he tried, Silvano could not hurt the re-raised champion. It did not matter, though, because with the halberdiers and ogres attacking all around them, the last vestiges of the magical force holding the skeletal riders in this began to weaken, and several riders crumbled to the ground. Surely the stubborn champion would also succumb soon?

The two remaining crusader cannons had begun to concentrate their fire upon the tower between the gate and the southernmost stretch of the eastern wall. Ball after ball plunged into the stone, each one visibly weakening the structure, until it leaned precariously backwards, looking like a stiff wind could knock it down. The Pavonan swordsmen near it slowed their pace almost to a halt, each man amongst them praying that it would fall soon and so grant them a way into the city less deadly than climbing the walls. Meanwhile the Estalian pike regiment had formed into a column of three and began emerging into the city proper, their battle cries echoing off the grey stone.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault41_zps1atxpr2h.jpg)

(Game Note: As GM I allowed the pike to swift-reform into a 3 file-wide column, then wheel to advance through the gate. I also ruled that in this situation I would allow rank bonuses to apply. Thinking on it, I may have been a tad too generous here, and tbh I had given no thought to the fact that the gate might have defences to allow the undead ogres on the walls and tower above to attack down, but … the modified 7th ed. siege rules we were using said that the gate was smashed and: “The way to the fortress is free. However some pieces of the gate remain so troops can only move through at half speed” This seemed pretty clear, so we went with what that statement seemed to be saying. Having re-enacted pike IRL, I knew that it is possible to steadily step with pikes ‘charged’ if you are going straight forwards through a stone gate way, or that instead one can trail a pike to get through the gate, then haul it up to ‘charge your pike’ as you emerge (provided the enemy doesn’t get in the way too soon). But now I have thought about it more, the pike still went in too quick, for I think I missed the half rate movement comment, and I should not have allowed the pike to use their pike, in light of the text re: bits of the gate being in the way. The subsequent fights would have been harder with hand weapons instead of 3 extra ranks fight (Treachery & Greed campaign pike rules.) To add to my regrets I see that the ‘pike-phalanx’ rules do not apply to difficult terrain, and this really should have been counted as difficult terrain. I’ll try to get it right next time, if that’s any consolation to my players.)

Directed by Master Leoni, the volley gun crew loaded, cranked, levered and then triggered the firelock ignition to blast once more, this time blowing apart one of the undead brutes on the parapet above the gate. The other brutes failed even to flinch at their comrade’s violent demise, merely watching as more and more of the pikemen streamed through the gates below them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault42_zpsjpestawz.jpg)

The Pavonan lord Silvano Gondi was struggling to best the bony champion, distracted as he was by the need to regain control of his terrified mount (what with ogres to one side and walking dead to the fore). So he breathed a sigh of relief when the champion and the last remaining riders finally fell. Lord Adolfo’s sustaining magic had withered away completely, for the simple reason he was not even looking their way anymore. Instead his attention was turned to within the city, where both his and his servant’s necromantic magic was pouring forth to animate and re-animate zombies, skeletons and even the undead brutes.

Itself awash with the flow of dark magic, the ancient chariot clattered along the lane behind the walls to crash into the flank of the pikemen …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault41B_zpsp56pubez.jpg)

… but it had scraped against the wall along the route, slowing it and lessening the impact. It did no harm to the pike. When the Estalian champion then hacked a head off one of the horses pulling it, the whole thing crumbled to the ground. (Game Note: I am embarrassed to admit we probably got this wrong too. Even though I had (however dubiously) allowed the pike to have ranks, the rules say the rank bonus is gained from ranks behind the fighting rank. And even if we still counted the ranks, the corpse cart should still have been around because: Cart = +1 for charging, + 1 flank cf. pike = +1 wound, +1 standard, +3 ranks. Thus the W4 corpse cart should only have lost 3 wounds at the most, and none if we had not counted ranks. I think this was down to both me and the players not looking too closely at the stats involved. We’ll get it right next time.)

The earthwork before the gate was now revealed to be a grave-pit as well as a defensive feature, for zombies clawed their way out of the soil to face the flank of the pikemen attempting to negotiate the gate.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault43_zpsmqvv2uky.jpg)

Very soon the flagellants, again at the cost of several of their own number (sacrificed to their spiralling frenzy) had cleared the wall of skeletons and moved to occupy the north-eastern tower, allowing the Cathayan halberdiers to clamber up onto the wall behind them. This meant that already three regiments of crusaders had penetrated the defences.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault45_zpsndjobykx.jpg)

Continued immediately below.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 25, 2015, 07:52:24 PM
Death Becomes Them
The Assault on Viadaza
Part 4 (Final Part)


When the first Cathayans to arrive on the parapet looked down into the city, they saw that the ethereal riders had passed back through the wall into the city, to face towards the pikemen.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault44_zpsxgljp9bo.jpg)

It was obvious that the hellish warriors intended to charge the pikemen, a move which could overwhelm them, especially as the pike were now engaged to their front with the growing swarm of zombies that Lord Adolfo was summoning.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault46_zpshlrto41w.jpg)

Fully aware of just how hard pressed the pikemen might find themselves, assaulting through the main entrance to the city, the Lector of Viadaza blessed them with both Morr’s Holy Protection (5+ ward) and Harmonic Convergence. Then, as Calictus II himself once again cast Morr’s murderous Caress upon the brute horrors, two more cannon balls slammed into the tower to the south of the gate and finally brought it toppling down.
 (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault47_zpsxyeucxeb.jpg)

Outside the gate the zombies upon the earthwork were blasted from all sides – dwarfen pistols joined with the carroccio’s handguns, the steam engine’s swivels, as well as the volley gun. The twitching, broken, muddy remnants thus left on the earthwork were no longer any sort of threat. Three did stagger uncertainly towards the dwarfs but were cut down laughably easily. Not that the dwarfs felt like laughing!

As the pike began a somewhat messy fight with the zombies inside the gate, the large body of skeletons manning the currently unthreatened southern wall now trooped down into the city, heading towards the fallen tower’s rubble remains. Lord Adolfo intended them to prevent anyone else entering that side of the city, hoping that thus the pikemen could be dealt with before anyone could come to their aid.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault48_zps6m43loh6.jpg)
 
The hexwraiths galloped silently down the length of the lane behind the northern wall to hurtle into the flank of the pikemen, immediately killing three with their cursed scythes.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault49_zps9dlhsak3.jpg)

But the pike were still hacking at the zombies in front of them, hewing umpteen apart, and in so doing they shattered the magical forces holding both the last zombies and the hexwraiths. In a moment they suddenly found themselves facing nothing but heaped corpses, and with only two hexwraiths left to their side. The other ghostly riders had dissipated into faint wisps of etheric vapours. To the south of them there was a clattering sound as the Pavonan swordsmen came scrabbling over the ruins of the tower to join the Estalians inside the city proper.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault50_zpsn8bf57da.jpg)

There they immediately saw the skeletons pouring up the street towards them …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault52_zpspn2tvebw.jpg)

… and moments later the two bodies were locked in combat.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault53_zpstfdapell.jpg)
The sheer weight of numbers of pikemen meant the hexwraiths failed to inflict any significant damage at all, and when the last two also vanished from this world, the pike reformed to face the walls so that the surviving brutes still occupying them could not surprise them from behind.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault54_zpscbbplu9c.jpg)
 
(Game Note: You might suppose that the zombie ogres (counts as crypt horrors) should have come down from the walls of the gate section to attack the pike much earlier, but in doing so they would thus have yielded a section. You see, victory in this siege-assault game hinged on how many sections (GM designated walls, towers, and three chunks of city within) were controlled at the end of the game. If the undead ogres had left the wall, then the attackers outside would have immediately occupied it, so that the undead player lost a victory point while the attackers gained one. That would make two points difference to the end result, a difference sufficient to grant a major victory to the attackers. So the undead player decided rather than add another unit to a section of the city which was already contested and probably would remain so (denying points to either player for that section), he would keep the undead ogres on the wall. He didn’t know the pikemen would win their combat. Leaving the wall and to charg the swordsmen with his skeletons, however, didn’t give anyone a bonus, rather it meant the tower – well, now rubble – they occupied, was contested, and so failed to grant victory point to the crusaders, whilst simultaneously not allowing them to get any further and claim any more sections.)
With little left to shoot at upon the walls it did not seem important that the crusaders’ next bout of missile fire, everything from cannon balls to arrows, inflict no harm at all. The Pavonan gun, fouled by the rapid firing, its crew exhausted, failed to fire, even with a skilled engineer tending it. The crew now took the opportunity to stop for a moment and study the walls. Their engineer peered through his Hochland Long Rifle sights, sweeping along the parapets to examine each one. As he did so he could see that the foe was now leaving the walls!

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault59_zpsvobncphv.jpg)

True enough, Lord Adolfo, realising that it would mean certain destruction to attempt to fight on, decided it was time to leave. And quickly. (Game Note: The undead player, in this 8th and final turn of the extended siege scenario, had managed to ensure that the attackers were up by only one city section – Lord Adolfo passed a Strength test to leap across from the wall with the ghouls to the wall vacated by the skeletons, thus gaining the point for that section. This meant a ‘minor victory’ for the attackers, not a ‘major victory’, and the campaign casualty recovery rules thus allowed any units the defender still had on the field to retreat intact to the next campaign map hex. Adolfo and all the troops still standing now would survive, even if the city was lost.)

The vampire lord let loose a terrible wail, so signalling it was now time to flee. He himself had already leapt across to the southern wall, while behind him the ghouls began leaping down to scamper through the streets towards the docks.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault56_zpsquyk12yj.jpg)

Lord Adolfo leapt down to join them, quickly outpacing all the rest as he led them away.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault55_zpszp13n4fj.jpg)
 
The Cathayans upon the wall sounded their horns …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault57_zps6czjf9n5.jpg)

… and the crew of the surviving Reman gun joined in prayers with the priest nearby …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault58_zpsmaunqudn.jpg)

… while Father Biagino and the Cathayan crossbowmen glanced over to Generalissimo d’Alessio to see if he was going to signal victory.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/ViadazaAssault60jpg_zpsdtdewccj.jpg)[

He did, and the cheers spread from field to wall to inside the city.

Viadaza was retaken. The Holy Crusading Army of Morr had its first victory. 

...................................................................................

Appendix (Various Game Notes)

Carroccio
The Church of Morr carroccio is a form of armed and armoured war wagon/war altar, just like the one the peasant crusaders of Viadaza had employed at Pontremola. It acts as both a battle standard bearer with 18” effect, but also quells the effects of fear caused by undead to that range too. But the anti-fear ability only works on southern Estalians and Tileans, i.e. those who worship Morr as an important, if not the most important, deity in the pantheon. Ogres, dwarfs and Cathayans, all present in the Crusading army, do not gain this benefit. Of course Ogres cause fear, so wouldn’t suffer it anyway. Just thought I’d mention this so that you would know why no-one had their WS reduced to 1 in this game.)

Composition of the Crusade Marching Force
Remans Our own Tilean campaign list, modified from the T&G campaign list
Arch- Lector of Morr Calictus II @ 201 Tilean Noble
Priests of Morr: Fr. Federico Tinti  @ 55
Pepe Lito, Condotta Captain @ 65 pts Artillerist
40 Condotta Pike (Estalian Mercenaries) @ 435
25 Cathayan Halberdiers @ 150
16 Cathayan Crossbowmen @ 149
11 Bravi Skirmishers @ 99
8 Dwarf Sea Ranger Skirmishers @ 112
2 Great Cannons @ 230
Carroccio @ 265 (Counts as Army Standard) Maestro Angelo da Leoni’s Steam-Tank @ 250
30 Flagellants with leader @ 370
7 Knights with full command @ 186
3 baggage wagons
Campogrottan Crusaders Ogre list & Tilean list
4 Ogre Leadbelchers (Thunderfist & Bellower) & 6 Ogre Bulls (full command) @ 402
Priest of Morr, 15 Brigand archers, 16 Longbowmen (condottiere full command) @ 394
& baggage wagon
Volunteer Viadazans Tilean List
Morrite Lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini @ 196
Prophetic Book, Robe of Cathayan Silk, Sword of Might
Urbano D’Alessio, Condottiere General @ 172
Sword of anti-heroes, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Endurance. Merc’ skill:   Hopelessly stubborn
Priests of Morr: Father Biagino @ 85 & Father Antonello @ 80       
Biagino = Circlet of Burning Gold // Antonello = Ruby Ring of Ruin
Pavonans Empire List
Mounted Captain (Lord Silvano)
15 handgunners
18 halberdiers
24 swordsmen
8 archers
Engineer
Cannon

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Von Kurst on August 29, 2015, 09:33:33 PM
Aside from the odd pike shenanigans, the campaign is a delight to watch.  Thank you Padre for keeping the flame burning.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Baron von Klatz on August 30, 2015, 07:50:00 AM
This is a true joy to see! The models are a delight upon the eyes and the campaign is truly inspiring!

Well done, good sir, you are a credit to the community. :eusa_clap:  :::cheers::: :eusa_clap:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 06, 2015, 05:44:09 PM
To the vons Kurst and Klatz, thank you for saying. I am now a happy man, and feeling creative.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

End of Season 6 General Report, Part 1 of X

This map will help with this part of the report. All places mentioned are outlined in yellow.
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A9_zpsrkii27he.jpg)

New Arrivals

REMAS

One by one the companies of soldiers halted, forming their line about a hundred yards from the walls. It was as unexpected as it was unusual to most the populace of Remas, yet it was obvious that Captain General Duke Scaringella had been expecting them, for although the garrison was mustered upon the walls there was no sense of urgency or concern. The garrison were not rushing to defend the city because the army outside was not here to attack. The strangers looked more like soldiers on parade than arrayed for battle.

The new arrivals were the famous mercenary army known as the Sons of the Desert, commanded by General Gedik Mamidous. To a man they hailed from the realm of Araby, beyond the Black Gulf. Every company wore its own particular style of clothes, none of them like the fashions favoured in Tilea. Individual officers strode out ahead of the rank and file, and as each body of men came up, they raised their hands to signal the halt, arraying the army into its line. They included a regiment swathed in black, their polished helmets and bright steel blades shining in the sunlight, their standard bearing the text of a vow in Arabyan, whose captain was clad in a coat hemmed in intricate silver lace. As they halted they drew their blades with a theatrical flourish, and gave a guttural cry that seemed half laugh, half curse.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A2_zps6nqmofrv.jpg)

Another company, spearmen dressed in white linen decorated with red patches, bands, and the occasional shirt of mail, halted tiredly, their captain gesturing to their right to signal that they should dress up to the neighbouring body. As they did so their drummer beat a final flourish, rounded off with the clash of a pair of cymbals.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A1b_zpsf7ebt0bd.jpg)

The regiment to their right sported cloaks of silver-grey cloth and scale of a similar hue. They too bore spears, in their case viciously barbed. Once again their drummer neatly signalled the moment for them to halt.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A3_zps30edzdpv.jpg)

Before them was the southern gate of Remas, between two round-fronted towers, fashioned like the walls from huge blocks of stone. Reman soldiers watched from every gap in the crenellations, armed with crossbows or greatswords, while two brass cannon muzzles peeked over the top of the gate towers.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A7_zpstu8l2y3b.jpg)

Almost every garrison soldier sported a red plume, atop clothes of the arch-lector’s orange and blue. Many were Tileans, too, Remans born and bred, for the traditionally mercenary army of Remas had marched, almost to a man, upon Arch-Lector Calictus II’s crusade against the northern vampires. Yet they looked like ultramontane soldiers, their hair and beards cropped in the fashion favoured by the Empire mercenaries. It was a style that had become de rigour amongst nearly all the arch lector’s palace guard, and had now spread to the newly raised native troops.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A6_zpsbdtrlsoj.jpg)

Duke Scaringella had already ridden out of the gates, accompanied by a small body guard. A mounted herald in traditional dress bore the cross-keyed colours of the Reman Church of Morr, whilst announcing the general with sharp blasts of his brass horn. A small troop of armoured pistoliers stood off to his left, while a Morrite priest bearing the holy relic of Saint Salladro’s forefinger (the very same finger he laid upon Hagblood’s tongue) encased in silver and mounted upon a staff.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A5_zpscieubzcp.jpg)

The duke wore full armour, his horse brightly caparisoned in painted barding, with matching lance and a shield bearing the keys of Morr. As he was here to talk, to welcome, he wore a smile rather than a helm. Those who looked closely could see it was the rather fixed expression of feigned good humour, faltering as he flinched whenever the horn sounded.

The mercenary General Gedik Mamidous was atop a camel, also accompanied by a standard bearer, although in his case the body guard behind him was an entire army. He wore unadorned chainmail and clothes of plain blue and white plain, appearing every bit a fighting soldier. The only decorations he carried where the silken tassels upon his shield, and that was a fashion shared by several of his camel riders.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6A4_zpsfzg7glvy.jpg)

Before Duke Scaringella could begin his formal welcome address, the arabyan mercenary spoke.

“I have been told that we are late to the feast. I hope, my friend, you will forgive the tardiness. It was not our doing.”

The duke was confused. Did Mamidous mean the food being prepared now to entertain the arabyan officers? “Feast?”

Mamidous laughed. “I chose the wrong words for my joke, I think. I should have said fight. No-one would wish to feast upon the foul flesh of the undead. Are we too late for your holy war?”

Now the duke understood. “A little late perhaps, but in no way unwelcome. I have orders from the arch-lector. He means to put you to use immediately.”

“Ah yes, of course. We have been paid to fight, and we intend to earn that pay. The Sons of the Desert are at your service, sent by our most generous employer Lord Alessio Falconi.”

...

TRANTIO

“What do you mean ‘Scorcio is taken’?” asked the acting governor of Trantio, Venutro Belastra, clearly irritated. The foul stench of the man meant the interview had not got off to a good start, and now it threatened to become even more uncomfortable.  “Are you saying the Remans have turned against Lord Silvano?”

The filthy Scorcian militiaman looked confused. “No … no, your honour. The Remans came and went, to a man, and Lord Silvano went with them - north to fight the horrors.”

“I know,” snapped Belastra. As if the arch-lector of Morr would or even could lead an army of crusaders in an attack against a living town. It was preposterous on every level: the crusaders would surely refuse such a command, the arch-lector’s reputation would be ruined and he would be turning his back on the real danger. Then Belastra suddenly turned pale as he remembered how Viadaza had fallen to the undead in the very same week that its own brave, crusading army was victorious in battle, killing the vampire duke. Had the vampires played the same trick again? Had they outflanked the arch-lector? Were they already south of the mighty crusading army?

He fixed his gaze upon the soldier. “Are you saying the vampires have passed them by?”

Again the militiaman hesitated. “No, not vampires, your honour, but bruti. Hundreds of them, more. Brutes and beasts and all manner of Ogrish things.”

Belastra went from befuddlement to sickening understanding in an instant. Of course it was brutes. There had been reports of a large force of ogre mercenaries on the Via Nano, perhaps even the infamous Mangler’s Band, come through the mountains from the Border Princes. Country folk from the northern reaches of the Trantine Hills had arrived by the score at the city seeking refuge from the monstrous army. But when the scouts returned to report there was nothing there, he had presumed all the fuss was merely the consequence of twisted rumours. He had said so much to Lord Silvano: the sighting of some caravan guards had been bloated into an army; the tale of a tavern brawl grown into a battle. He had waxed lyrical about how it might be compared to smouldering hay fanned into a fire, or a child’s account of snarling kittens twisted into an adult’s tale of sabre-toothed tigers. Lord Silvano had laughed. He had laughed.

It was not so funny now.

The militiaman was still talking: “ … and they had cannons, of a sort, which they carried as if they were nothing more than empty barrels. But it wasn’t those that holed the walls – for that they had a massive iron piece, strapped onto the back of some grey-skinned monster. Mind you, even that didn’t do all the work, just weakened and cracked the stones so that the biggest of the bruti could bash their way through using massive iron-bound clubs. And all the while they hurled filth and jaggedy bits over the walls from goblin crewed throwers on the backs of more beasts. Then they stopped to rest a moment, all of them, which made us wonder. But then there was a shout, and they came pouring in through the gaps …”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FallOfScorcio1_zpsufuixndn.jpg)

Belastra felt light headed. This was all his fault. It was he who had advised the young Lord Silvano to leave Trantio, join the Reman crusade and take the army with him. What had he been thinking? Of course, he knew full well why he had acted so. With the young lord gone, he would rule in his stead, acting governor of an entire city state, ancient and famous Trantio. He had imagined a hundred ways in which to enrich himself, the opportunities tumbling over each other in their abundance. Young Lord Silvano had hesitated, asking what would his father think? After all, the duke had ordered his son to ensure Trantio was well defended, and not to be drawn easily into a crusade that did not need his aid, especially when there were threats enough all around, not only from the north. As Silvano worried, Belastra saw his chance slipping away.

“There was no stopping them,” said the soldier. “They queued outside as those at the front climbed over the rubble. Their blades were as big as men, bigger even, and their banners were made of grisly skulls …”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FallOfScorcio3_zpsjvbsjdl5.jpg)

So Belastra had worked on the young lord with words of assurance and encouragement. His father would be proud of him, for he could make his name in battle. Not any battle, but holy war in the name of Morr. Silvano said something about his brother, his father’s terrible loss, how he was the only heir left, but Belastra pressed on with his persuasions: This is your chance, as prince of Pavona, a follower of Morr the king of gods, to show the strength of your faith. The Remans will see that you are blessed by Morr, that there is no schism or heresy in the Morrite church of Pavona, only truth and wisdom, and that they too should accept the ascendancy of Morr.

Trembling as he spoke, words were pouring from the soldier: “ … I never saw one so big before, and I’ve been to Viadaza three times. The third to enter was layered in iron plates. All the rest were in awe of him, kept out of his way, and as he came inside he crushed the broken bodies of our dead and wounded beneath his feet …”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FallOfScorcio2_zpsqmmmopwh.jpg)

Then the young lord said he dare not go alone, nor with only a petty force at his command. And again Belastra saw his chance slipping away. So he advised the young lord to take all he wanted. Do not be half hearted in the service of Morr, nor think it foolish to use what strength you have at your disposal to defeat that which threatens all of Tilea, not just Pavona. Your father would think you most remiss not to equip yourself fully for battle. He is not a man for half measures, and nor would he wish you to be. Yet Lord Silvano still wore an expression of concern. I can stay here, Belastra said - knowing the young lord was too young and naïve to hear the truth behind his words – I can stay here to ensure Trantio’s obedience. Just leave me some guns, and the garrison soldiers that were once Compagnia del Sole, and Di Lazzaro of course. He and I would hardly be welcome among priests for they fight with prayers not spell. You take the veterans with you, Pavonans all, who have fought for your father and your brother, becoming skilled in arms and afraid of nothing. Let the arch lector witness what they can do. Make him grateful for your aid. Have your own name and not just that which your father gave you. Belastra was starting to believe it himself. Silvano would thrive in war, like his father the duke (but not his brother), and he himself would prosper from all he could wring from Trantio. Duke Guidobaldo would not complain, for Belastro would make sure to fill his coffers too. There was enough in Trantio to enrich them both.

“ … they rampaged through the town,” the soldier was saying, wringing his hands as they shook. “There were none could stand in their way. If a door was barred they tore it off. If a window was shuttered they punched it through. They killed everything they found, every man, woman, child and beast, making mountains of flesh for their feast …”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FallOfScorcio5_zpsflijpfw5.jpg)

Now, thought Belastra, all could be lost. If the Brutes came south to Trantio it would ruin all his plans: his reputation destroyed, the wealth of Trantio stolen, his life in peril from the duke’s anger. What now? Was there any way to salvage his honour, or should he look simply to saving his life? 

“… many folk hid … well, they tried to hide,” said the soldier, wincing in a distracting manner. “It worked for me, maybe for some others too. I climbed into a privy, as I reckoned bruti don’t bother with such niceties, besides the stink would make them think there was no food to be found. I was there until dark, and lying in the filth I could hear them in the streets. They toyed with those they found, like they were poppets and rag dolls, laughing loud, inventing cruel and bloody sports before they killed them …”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FallOfScorcio4_zps28oxwqbg.jpg)

Belastra shook his head, as if to empty it of upsetting thoughts. He should not give up so easily. Great men, rich men, did not fall into weeping and wailing at the first hurdle. His end had not yet come, and he was still governor of Trantio. Maybe there was still a way to save himself, even to prosper? He held up his hand to silence the militiaman.

“Who commanded them?” he demanded.

The militiaman shrugged, a nervous spasm twisting his face like a stage buffoon.

“Did you hear a name? Did you hear the name Mangler?”

“I don’t think so, your honour, not that name.”

Any name then?”

The militiaman grimaced alarmingly, then answered. “Yes, I think there was a name. I’ve heard it before, in stories about Campogrotta. They chanted it loud, over and over again: ‘Razger, Razger, Razger’.”
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on September 06, 2015, 09:26:44 PM
Ah!  The crusaders are victorious, for the moment, and driven from the town, while elsewhere reinforcements arrive, and the Ogres advance.

 :icon_cool: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 06, 2015, 09:56:10 PM
You are kind of correct, GP. I ought to attach maps of the regions to some of these reports.

The Viadazan crusaders were victorious a while ago, but lost their city of Viadaza to the undead at the same time as they were away fighting!

The (new) Reman crusaders, who include some refugee Viadazans, have been victorious in recapturing Viadaza and driving out the undead.

The new crusaders included the young Lord Silvano Gondi of Pavona, the new governor of Trantio (the city state his father conquered). While the new crusaders were fighting in Viadaza, an army of ogres has captured and thoroughly sacked Scorcio, the town in the city state of Trantio. The second part of the above report tells of the acting governor of Trantio receiving the news, and feeling somewhat concerned! After all, Lord Silvano seems to have taken the bulk of Trantio's forces on crusade with him! (I say 'seems' because not everything actually is what it seems.)

The ogres doing the attacking may or may not include 'Mangler's Band' but do seem to be led by Razger Boulderguts, the ogre tyrant lieutenant of the Wizard Lord Bentiglovio of Campogrotta. Which for reasons that should become clear as the general report unfolds, is quite unexpected.

If I'd included a map in the post above, showing Remas, Viadaza, Trantio, and Scorcio, I reckon it would have made more sense.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on September 06, 2015, 10:13:48 PM
That explanation is helpful, and as a result I vaguely recall some of those items from before.

Also, a cast of characters could be helpful, particulalry if it is in a seperate thread.  That way it can be pulled up as a source of reference as the campaign continues.  I can probably look these communities up on a map, and although posting one could be good, perhaps at the beginning of a cast of characters thread. 
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on September 07, 2015, 07:14:36 PM
That explanation is helpful, and as a result I vaguely recall some of those items from before.

Also, a cast of characters could be helpful, particulalry if it is in a seperate thread.  That way it can be pulled up as a source of reference as the campaign continues.  I can probably look these communities up on a map, and although posting one could be good, perhaps at the beginning of a cast of characters thread.

I agree. Also if you could do put all your posts in one place for a quick and easy refference, it'd eb awesome (hint: blog ;) ).

Loving this stuff so far. :smile2:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 08, 2015, 08:19:08 AM
I've inserted a map which includes (I think) the names of all the places mentioned in part one of the end of season 6 report (http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php/topic,46787.msg962116.html#msg962116). It's a game-world map, however, and might not show the exactly correct hex-distances etc. I wish now, although this might be mad, that I had done much more detailed, maps of each city state. I might yet do so as and when required, maybe for when I start doing WFRP adventures in this campaign too.

Maps were included near the start of the whole thread, during the 'recent history posts - see http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php/topic,46787.msg835246.html#msg835246 and http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php/topic,46787.msg835313.html#msg835313, both the same map, but slightly different sizes).
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on September 08, 2015, 11:04:37 AM
I've inserted a map which includes (I think) the names of all the places mentioned in part one of the end of season 6 report in highlights. It's a game-world map, however, and might not show the exactly correct hex-distances etc. I wish now, although this might be mad, that I had done much more detailed, maps of each city state. I might yet do so as and when required, maybe for when I start doing WFRP adventures in this campaign too.

You will do WFRP? As an avid RPG player I approve of that! Would be nice to read some logs after your game sessions. ;)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on September 08, 2015, 11:29:16 AM
I checked the first post of this thread, yet didn't see a map.  Then I began reviewing the first page of this thread and located the map in another post, yet recall seeing that one at the time it was posted.  Then I went down through this page of the thread and found the map inserted at the beginning of the most recent story.  I noticed there are a lot of characters through out this campaign event.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 08, 2015, 11:46:54 AM
There are a lot of characters, GP. It's the nature of the campaign, which doesn't work like a novel would as there are 6 players (whose characters I don't control, and whose private thoughts I cannot reveal nor even know) but there are plenty of Non-Player-Characters for me to work with, through which  can tell the story of the campaign. Any of them could die at any moment (the table top games are out of my hands) but I do keep going back to certain characters recurrently. Several posts focus on Father Biagino, the Morrite Priest who fled Miragliano, then took part in the Viadazan crusade, now in the Reman crusade. There are also the two ex-Compagnia del Sole chancellors, Ottaviano and Baccio - they've been in a few adventures. I am hoping these will feature again, and again. I intend to return to the Dwarfen exiles from Pavona first encountered in Radraffa (http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php/topic,46787.msg836195.html#msg836195) too.

Some characters I had high hopes for writing more about were snatched from me due to their demise. I thought the orc Sea Boss Scarback might last a bit longer, but I am hoping the goblin boss Gurmliss will. Some characters were creations of earlier campaigns (the 'Animosity' internet based ones) like the greenskins Hafdi, Toggler and Doodo. I just wanted to write about them some more.

As the stories are told through the eyes and experiences of various characters, they are not 'the' truth, but what those characters believe. This makes the writing even more fun.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: cagicus on September 08, 2015, 10:51:12 PM
Oh dear
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on September 08, 2015, 11:05:58 PM
Oh dear
Feel free to elaborate.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on September 09, 2015, 03:46:55 PM
I checked the first post of this thread, yet didn't see a map.  Then I began reviewing the first page of this thread and located the map in another post, yet recall seeing that one at the time it was posted.  Then I went down through this page of the thread and found the map inserted at the beginning of the most recent story.  I noticed there are a lot of characters through out this campaign event.

Which in itself is pretty awesome. This really reads like a good story.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 09, 2015, 03:49:42 PM
Oh dear
Feel free to elaborate.

'Cagicus' is the player playing the part of Arch-Lector Calictus II, ruler of Remas, and he is leading the crusade (at least like a monarch would rather than like a general would, although he is with his crusading army). He has left Scorcio behind him on his route north to fight the undead. And now an army of ogres is acting somewhat aggressively in his rear!

@ Cagicus: Wait til you see the next part of this report then you may want to add some more 'oh dears'! I'm working on it now, but getting the steam iron to send gouts of steam at just the right time and in just the right place for the photograph, whilst holding both the steam iron and the camera at the same time, is NOT easy.

@Xathrodox86: I am growing to really like some of the characters. I need to work on making them more 'characterful' however. The story drives itself, what with the politics, religion and the fighting pushing my writing along, but I do feel I need to improve giving characters personality.

If anyone thought things were complicated now, there are going to get moreso!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on September 10, 2015, 08:15:10 PM
End of Season 6 General Report, Part 2 of X

Divided We Fall

Outside the Walls of Viadaza

The city of Viadaza was belching black clouds, foul and noisome fumes drifting eastwards, inland. The dead, both those once undead and those lucky enough never to have stirred post-mortem, were being burned by the thousand. For two whole days the army of the Reman Morrite Crusade had busied itself with piling corpses in the city squares and upon the stone built wharves, then after a generous dousing with oil, tar and pitch taken from the well-stocked warehouses, had set them alight. Within an hour there were few who could bear to stay within the city walls, not because of the heat, but because of the vile, vomit inducing stench of burning mountains of flesh. Most of the crusaders removed themselves to the sprawling army camp outside, where the smoke was lifted by its passage over the walls, then carried by a westerly breeze to pass mostly overhead, only occasionally lowering heavy, greasy coils to sicken those below.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B1_zps7jepgink.jpg)

The camp contained of hundreds of tents and sod-walled huts, in places arranged tidily, but largely consisting of a higgledy piggledy confusion of different sized structures placed wheresoever the soldiers happened to stop. Dotted throughout were fires and braziers, originally intended for cooking and to illuminate the otherwise ominous night, but now either heaped with smoking herbs and green sticks, or filled with smouldering incense to fend off the horrible stink pouring from the city. Near the southern stretch of walls stood a large tent of brightly painted canvas, belonging to the crusading army’s military commander, General Urbano d’Alessio, the hero of Pontremola. Above it flew two flags, the highest, and thus pre-eminent, was the cross-keyed standard of the Reman Morrite Crusade, while the lower was the raven-winged hourglass of the Viadazan crusade, now the general’s personal standard. The general himself, in full armour, casually shouldering the massive blade with which he had slain the vampire duke of Miragliano, stood before its open front. Beside him was Father Biagino, the unassuming Morrite priest the general had now recognised as a sturdy ally in the fight against the horrors of the north, being not only insightful and useful, but increasingly influential. Best of all, he was not remotely aloof as were so many clergy, and was willing to suffer a soldier’s lot without complaint.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B2_zpstqmi4co6.jpg)

Not that Biagino looked like a soldier, what with his tonsured head and a paunch evident even in his loose cassock. Nor that he would describe himself as happy with his lot, for his sleep was wracked with nightmares and his waking filled with doubts, the two difficulties feeding off each other in a miserable spiral. But he was resigned to his fate. He had barely left the general’s side during the last few days. Now he was listening to what a Reman captain had to report to the commander.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B4_zpstgaxevty.jpg)

It was not good news. The captain and his company had been scouting the Trantio road some distance south of Busalla, where he had learned of the sacking of the town of Scorcio by a large force of ogres. He returned quickly to the camp, binding his own men to silence. He knew, however, that there were others with the same story to tell, and had indeed encountered several groups of refugee Scorcians on the road. Most admitted they had fled this way not merely because it was the easiest escape route, but because the crusading army had gone this way and who better to offer them protection than the soldier-servants of the gods?

“I reckon before it grows dark the entire army will know,” the captain said. “The news is spreading fast, your excellency, even as we speak.”

Biagino felt the now familiar panic welling inside. Yet again, he had dreamt this, and more than once. His oneiric visions had repeatedly twisted this Reman Crusade and the doomed Viadazan crusade of last year into one, so that the cheers of soldiers celebrating battlefield victory unfailingly transformed into the wails of citizens as yet another town fell to the enemy. He had thought the nightmare was born of his weakness, allowing fear and doubt to hold him in their grip, yet now he saw the truth of it. Morr had guided his dreams, and although the foe’s true face remained hidden, it was revealed that they would strike a terrible blow just as the crusaders’ backs were turned, and so turn victory into defeat.

The general drew all that he could from the captain, learning that the ogres were Campogrottan, perhaps bolstered by mercenaries come over the mountains; that they had looted the town as thoroughly as they had done to every settlement in the city state of Ravola; and that their leader was Razger Boulderguts, the tyrant general commanding the mysterious wizard Lord Nicolo’s forces. He then turned to Biagino.

“What happens then, father, when this news does the rounds in the camp?”

Biagino frowned. “It doesn’t bode well for harmony amongst us allies. If Scorcio is fallen then the young Lord Silvano may not wish to march any further with us. He was made ruler of Trantio by his father, which makes Scorcio his.”

“His father stole the realm of Trantio, and now the brutes are doing so too,” said the general. "Is there really any difference?"

“I do not think the young lord sees it that way. I have spoken to him. He idolises his father – seeing neither greed nor cruelty, only stern nobility. His father humbled the Astianans when they threatened to strangle Pavonan trade, then marched north to remove a warmongering tyrant from Trantio, thus freeing its people. To him his father is a hero, the stuff of myth and legend, but these ogres are nothing more than cruel robbers.”

“Well,” said the general, “Lord Silvano is right about the ogres, at least. Worse than looting and plunder, the brutes have probably eaten the populace too. But will Silvano leave us, forsaking his oath to serve Morr on holy crusade?”

“Considering what he did to Ravola, Razger Boulderguts probably considers Scorcio a mere aperativo, the city of Trantio being the main course. How can Lord Silvano stay here with us when he is honour bound to protect Trantio?”

“Ha!” laughed General d’Alessio. “He is honour bound to complete this crusade. And besides considerations of this duty and that oath, even if he did leave this very night he could not hope to reach Trantio in time to save it from destruction.”

“He is young and hopeful, and will likely try anyway,” said Biagino.

“Yes, probably so,” agreed d’Alessio. “Silvano fought beside the Campogrottan brutes in the battle, did he not?”

Biagino had forgotten that. “Yes, he did. They fought the undead riders together, and for some time, before he was saved by the timely intervention of his foot-soldiers.”

“So, while he and the brutes stood together against the foe here, the brutes’ cousins were robbing him of his possessions to the south? It seems to me that there is a cruelly clever cunning at play here. This Campogrottan Wizard Lord sends his soldiers, man and ogre, to join the crusade, and then when the Pavonans march north with them, he begins plundering their undefended towns. He fights as both their ally and their enemy at one and the same time.”

Biagino now wondered about the Wizard Lord Nicolo Bentiglovio, remembering a niggling doubt that had tickled at the edges of his mind. Driven from his realm many decades ago, Nicolo returns unnaturally old and retakes it, with an army of mercenary ogres. Was he in fact a vampire? Did that explain his remarkable longevity? If so, perhaps there was an alliance between him and the vampires to the west? Perhaps they intended to carve out the north of Tilea between them. He did not voice these concerns, however, for if it were true he had no doubt the general would work it out for himself, and if it were not true, he did not want to encourage a misconception. Besides, he had dreamt nothing of the sort, and so could not hope that this particular insight was gifted by Morr.

The general was thinking, scraping the edge of his shouldered sword against his steel pauldron as he did so. “It seems,” he announced, “that we are to be tested in even more ways than I ever imagined – and in truth I thought I had imagined the worst. We are now surrounded by enemies, to the north and south, and even if we do not divide the army to march both ways, it could well do so of its own accord. Furthermore, we have potential enemies in our midst too, a whole battalion of Campogrottans. We must take measures to ensure they cannot do us harm. I must speak with his Holiness.”

The Reman captain coughed - not the sort of wracking cough gifted by the miasma emanating from the city, but short and sharp. Both general and priest looked at him.

“Yes?” asked the general.

“Beg pardon, your excellency, but the Pavonans already know what has happened. I noticed considerable noise and fuss in their camp as I came here to you. They looked to be arming themselves.”

“Leaving already? Without seeking my permission?”

“They looked to be readying themselves for a fight,” said the captain, “not for the march.”

Suddenly Biagino understood. “They’ll be after vengeance against the Campogrottan brutes in our army. They have been tricked, and mocked when the brutes helped their young lord in battle. All Pavonans are proud, even the common soldiers. They think their faith is more perfect than everyone else’s; that all they do is right and proper.  If they can hate dwarfs so much as to banish them from their realm, how much more will they hate these brutes? They probably expect us to thank them for the slaughter they are about to cause.”

“We must act now,” said the general. “No time for an audience with his Holiness.” He turned to the Reman captain and the Cathayan officer by his side. “Gentlemen, muster your men and make haste about it. Not only do we need to restrain the Campogrottans, we must get between them and the Pavonans. If we act quickly we might prevent this army mortally wounding itself.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B3_zps5acbpajd.jpg)



Causing a Stink

While the arch-lector’s soldiers marched to the Campogrottan quarter, Father Biagino hurried to find young Lord Silvano. The lad had always seemed amenable, and honest – perhaps even too much so for the world of Tilean politicking – and Biagino hoped to persuade him to order his men to stand down.  Near to the Pavonan camp the stinking smoke thickened as the breeze died away and the noisome pall descended to linger a while. Looking around, Biagino quickly realised he was probably too late. There was hardly anyone about, the soldiers had already gone. Outside Lord Silvano’s pavilion there was only one guard, and a handful of wounded men hobbling near the huts.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B10_zpsv2ktkujw.jpg)

“I wish to speak with Lord Silvano,” said Biagino.

The guard, a large and moustachioed fellow, sniffed. “Not here,” he answered, a rudely brief reply considering he was addressing a priest of Morr.

“Then where is he?”

The guard grinned. “Gone to teach the Campogrottans a lesson in manners, but not the kind they’ll get to put into practice later.”

Biagino pelted off through the camp as fast as his legs would carry him. He had never been much of a runner, and the thickly foul air did not make it any easier. But then, he hoped, it may have slowed down the Pavonans too. As he approach the rocky outcrop behind which the Campogrottans had settled, he could hear shouting. Unwilling to hurtle into the middle of a skirmish, he slowed his pace and picked his way more carefully between the huts. The first Pavonans he saw were handgunners, who were making ready their pieces. Halting, he consoled himself that he had not yet heard any shots, and so the fighting had not yet actually begun.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B7_zpsza1pqwgy.jpg)

He stepped back, then crept behind the huts in the direction the Pavonans had been facing. Crouching behind a large barrel he peered over to see what exactly was confronting them. He was much reassured to see that it was a regiment of the arch-lector’s Cathayan Guard. They had arrayed themselves to block this particular access to the Campogrottan’s camp – an opening in one of the many rocky ridges that peppered the land around the city. As the Pavonans were not moving on, he decided there must be other loyal troops blocking the other gaps, no doubt also facing bands of angry Pavonans.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B8_zpsdzt4hasl.jpg)

The Cathayans had formed into a double ranks of crossbows, the first rank kneeling, while behind them stood a body of soldiers armed with the somewhat odd looking halberds they preferred. An officer and a sergeant stood beside them while their banner, bearing a single Morrite key, fluttered above. It was not them doing the shouting.

The Pavonans stood close, so close in fact that a volley from the crossbows now would prove very bloody, very deadly. They were somewhat disorganised, and although neatly liveried in their blue and white (as always), they looked more like a rabble than a body of soldiers ready for battle. Biagino wondered if this was because they were unofficered, acting without orders, without direction. They certainly seemed to lack discipline. As well as the handgunners, he could see halberdiers and swordsmen, muddled together, and all as tense as an angry crowd set upon lynching a hated felon.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B6_zps91wesfbe.jpg)

Some Pavonans were coughing, the stench here threatening to overwhelm them, but all had drawn their blades or were preparing their handguns. Moving around a little Biagino looked to see who was doing the shouting. He had already decided it was not Silvano, but he wondered if the young lord was here, watching, or with another mob at another gap. Perhaps he had lost control of his unruly soldiers, whether willingly or not. Then he could see the man doing the shouting. It was a stern looking fellow, armed with somewhat oversized hammer and pistol, which nevertheless he wielded with ease. By the steel plate hanging at the man’s chest, Biagino recognised him as a provost.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B9_zpsqonxvif5.jpg)

Trust the Pavonans, he thought, to have a provost who stirs up trouble rather than quelling it.

The provost was clearly agitated, moreso than the men behind him, his voice straining to speak so loudly whilst breathing the poisoned fumes fogging the camp.

“This is folly. Why would you defend such villains? You have no right to bar our way. I would see justice done here this day, yet you would protect them. Their very presence here befouls this holy crusade. Perhaps you do not see it for you yourselves know not the glory of Morr. Your lack of faith means a lack of understanding. Besides, what is it to you? This is Tilean business, Pavonan business; you have no right to prevent us meting out justice.”

The Cathayan captain spoke with a heavy accent, and much more calmly than the provost. “We have our orders. You are to return to your camp. The matter is in hand.”

“It is not! While those abominations live justice is ill served. They are enemies, who have raised their hand against our prince. And you would have us leave them be?”

Behind him the Pavonan soldiers’ protests grew louder, yet they did not press any further forward.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6B5_zpsniuotvtb.jpg)

“You are not arguing with me,” said the Cathayan, “but with General d’Alessio, whom your own master has accepted as his military commander, and who serves in turn the arch-lector. It is by the general’s order that we are here. Leave or I will give the order to shoot.”

The Pavonan provost laughed. “The arch-lector is not the apex of power, but holy Morr, who is above all men and their offices, above all gods. It is not for the likes of you to tell Tileans how to cleanse their own land and make it good in the eyes of Morr.” He turned to his men, raising his hand, then shouted: “Handgunners to the fore. Form on me. Two ranks.”

The handgunners began to move hesitantly forwards while the others stepped aside to get out of their way. Just then a sound was heard from beyond the rocks – a growling roar at once both angry and pained. The Cathayan officer turned to look. Biagino was impressed that not one of his soldiers so much as stole a glance, simply standing at the ready awaiting orders, the very definition of discipline. The advancing Pavonans halted, uncertain, straining to peer beyond the ranks of Cathayans.

Biagino could not be certain but it sounded like an ogre.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on September 11, 2015, 06:41:06 AM
That steam adds so much to those pics and story. How long did you had to take pics and how many of them? :ph34r:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: cagicus on September 13, 2015, 04:48:25 PM
oh dear o dear
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: cagicus on September 17, 2015, 05:38:07 PM
re "oh dear"

yes  The arch lector's religion means the undead are the enemy. We had a perfectly good crusade going and the first of many glorious victories. If only these foolish living creatures would only stop fighting each other. I'm sure the arch lector is frustrated that they can't just accept the obvious priority to cleanse the world of the undead, and only then could these petty squabbles be dealt with (under his holiness's guidance of course)

This work of art by padre is amazing and possibly unique?
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on October 02, 2015, 11:41:41 PM
It is very apt that Cagicus posted the comment immediately preceding this, as he co-wrote the first part of this next installment. Thank you Cagicus, it was great fun and I like the result. Now I hope to co-write some more stuff with you, and perhaps other players, in the future.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

End of Season 6 General Report, Part 3 of X

The ‘Incident’

Near Viadaza

 “We have arrested all those we could find afterwards, both Campogrottans and Pavonans,” reported General d’Alessio. “They are now in custody awaiting your pleasure. At the very least they are guilty of improper conduct and insubordination, at worst, murder, although in the circumstances it might be unfair to consider them murderers.”

Biagino noticed the general had left his famous broadsword behind, probably aware how inappropriate it would be during a meeting with the arch-lector. That, along with the blue sky, the pleasant surroundings of the gardens of the Palazzo Sebardia and the absence of stinking smoke, made for a very welcome change. Compared to corpse burning in the dark and derelict city streets and a threatening air of tension in the army camp, this afternoon felt most civilised. The palazzo was situated a little south of Viadaza, constructed of the same grey stone as much of the city, and similarly of a design influenced by more northern architectural fashions. A walled moat of calm, deep waters sat to the side, and all around were full grown trees to provide ample shade to those who wished it. There was, decided Biagino, no sign here at all of the nightmarish horrors which had gripped this realm until the vampire lord and his foul forces had been driven out.

Yet it was not possible to forget the war, for the arch-lector’s guards were posted throughout the gardens: crossbowmen watched the trees, while halberdiers stood sentinel at every door and even along the wall of the moat. Nor were they idle, for their eyes were busy scouring the surroundings for any sign of trouble.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndRep6C1_zpsoaylr4y9.jpg)

“I cannot say whether we caught all those involved,” continued the general. “Some Pavonans may have slipped away before we could find them, back into the fold of the mob gathered around the Campogrottan camp. Those we caught were nearly all wounded. The Campogrottan men had also been badly mauled, leaving as many dead as injured. As for the brutes, there was not one alive.”

“You accounted for all of the brutes?” asked the lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini.

“We think so. There were no sightings of ogres anywhere else in the camp, and the art of concealment is not exactly their forte.”

Biagino laughed inside at the thought of an ogre attempting to conceal himself. It was an idea as ridiculous as the poppet play he had once seen in which snotlings attempted to play chess.

The arch-lector, however, gave a heavy sigh, then spoke the words of a prayer: "Morr guide us, Morr take us and Morr keep us." Looking down at his clasped hands, left thumb over right, he let his eyes lose focus for a long moment while the others stood in respectful silence. Then he turned to fix the captain general with a direct gaze. "Now General d’Alessio. Exactly what did happen at the Campogrottan’s camp?"

For the briefest moment d’Alessio looked uncomfortable, as if a sliver of doubt pricked at him, then he continued in the same matter of fact voice as before. “I hold myself partially to blame, for I had noticed the archers harboured bad feelings towards their brute comrades. I thought it nothing more than that which all men feel when in the company of ogres. Of course, it is obvious now in hindsight. These men were filled with hatred - probably just biding their time until a chance arose. The archers are no more or less than oppressed Tileans, who rose up against brute and foreign oppressors. Campogrotta is a conquered realm, with a monstrous army keeping all under their thumb. Lord Nicolo perhaps even sent the archers away to remove such trouble causers from his realm.”

“If so,” queried the Lector Bernado, “then why did he send two companies of ogres as well?”

“That I do not know," admitted d'Alessio. "Nor, I think, shall we ever know now that the ogres are dead. It may well be that they planned some sabotage of their own, perhaps even to attack any Pavonans or their allies amongst us when news of their brethren’s attack on Scorcio was received? If so, then it may well be a good thing that they have been killed.”

The arch-lector regarded d’Alessio sternly. Like the lector standing behind him he wore a wine coloured, hooded cloak, although the cassock beneath was of a much richer, velvet cloth, decorated with silken braids and golden zucchini. His hands were no longer clasped together as if in prayer, which Biagino took as a sign that his holiness was not in the mood for ifs and maybes. Luckily, the general seemed to notice too, and returned to answering the question.

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“It should all become much clearer once we question those involved - perhaps, by your leave your holiness, in a court martial? Just now it is clear that the Campogrottan men, nearly every one, took the news of the attack on Scorcio as a signal that they should begin the slaughter. As they went about their bloody business they were joined by several Pavonans who had arrived with exactly the same slaughter in mind. The soldiers I sent to isolate the Campogrottan camp prevented any more Pavonans getting in. But it was too late, for although the handful of Pavonans who had already slipped through could not have prevailed alone against the brutes, joined with the archers they had sufficient strength. Nevertheless it was a hard fight, and the men were severely mauled, losing a good half of their number. Both Pavonans and Campogrottans seemed willing to risk all in the attack.”

“Yes. Of course, I see that,” said the arch-lector. “Their homes and families conquered by these brutish creatures. But still. These brutes did Morr's work for a time. And that work is not done yet. I will not see their killers released from Morr's service until it is.

“I understand, general, that military discipline must be maintained, but there is more to this. We have an abomination to the North. Every living being has a duty to cleanse this world of the undead scourge. All right thinking people know this is so. Each life given in this crusade is well received by Morr. Each life wasted in petty squabbles over territory or plunder is an insult to his name.

“Tell me, did Lord Silvano order this attack on the brutes?”

General d’Alessio shook his head. “As far as I know, your Holiness, although my officers have yet to ascertain the details, he does not seem to have done so. Not directly, at least, and he certainly did not lead it. None of our men witnessed him at the camp. His soldiers were disorganised, driven by anger rather than an officer’s commands. It is not known whether he otherwise encouraged the attack, merely allowed it to happen or was entirely ignorant of it. In truth, we have yet to establish even his whereabouts at the time.”

The arch-lector turned his gaze and reached out his right hand in the gesture of free speech. “Biagino! I left many of my trusted advisors in Remas. You have seen much and learned more. I would have your counsel if you would give it. Tell me of Lord Silvano. He joined our crusade eagerly, but does he truly serve Morr? Will he stay with us or shall we let him fly?"

Biagino had spent some time with the Pavonan lord, finding him likeable, open and honest. Whether or not Silvano would order such an attack as this, however, he could not say. Luckily, the arch-lector was not asking that.
 
“The young lord does seem devout in his service to Morr. He has his own confessor, of course, and has never spoken to me of any Sagrannalian heresies or schismatical Pavonian beliefs. I took his willingness to join our crusade as a sign that he was happy to be guided by your Holiness and the true church. In truth, although he never used these exact words, I believe he would much rather fight this holy war against evil than die like his brother in a war of vengeance against the living. Yet …”
 
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Here Biagino faltered and it was the arch-lector who picked up his thought: “Yet will he leave now that Trantio is threatened?”
 
“I cannot say for certain, your Holiness,” admitted Biagino. “But I think he will. He is proud to be the Gonfalonieri of Trantio, even if the honour is clouded by his brother's death. Now he has learned of Scorcio’s suffering and the very great threat to Trantio, he must surely be torn between continuing this holy fight and defending that which he rules. He swore oaths to do both, and in his naivety, I suppose, did not imagine the two duties would conflict. But the boy loves his father, can see no wrong in the man. Filial duty will win out.”
 
The lector of Viadaza stepped forward to address the arch-lector. “We can do nothing to stop Lord Silvano leaving if he so wishes. And in light of his rank, the noble son of the ruler of a sovereign state, we have no rightful authority to try him. Besides, if we did, how would we weigh one oath before the gods against another? If we had evidence that he himself espoused heretical doctrine then we might proceed against him under church law. If he ordered this attack and we chose to see it as the act of an enemy, then we could make him a prisoner of war. In so doing we would be declaring war against his father, which is madness with the vampire duchess north of us and now the tyrant Boulderguts to the south. We have more than enough enemies.”
 
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Biagino was not surprised to hear Lector Bernado talk so easily of the Campogrottan ogres as enemies. The arch-lector had not actually declared them so, yet they seemed keen by their burning and robbing to make themselves enemies of all.
 
“Lord Silvano is indeed untouchable in terms of military law,” said General d’Alessio. “He is the commander of his own brigade, sworn as a willing ally, not as a serving soldier who is duty bound to obey my every command. If he lost control of his men, that does not mean we can prosecute him. If he failed to keep some vow, that only shames him. And even if he ordered the killing of the ogres, that is nothing more than a lord seeking retribution for crimes committed against him. However, with his permission, we can proceed with a court martial concerning his men’s actions, at least to question them.”

“What would that gain?” asked Lector Bernado. “We have a war to fight, general. Why waste time with enquiries?”

When all turned to hear what the arch-lector had to say, Calictus again allowed a long moment to pass, as if he were reaching out silently for some guidance. Biagino wondered if the arch-lector could feel Morr’s presence – not through riddle-filled dreams as he himself experienced, but rather to know the god’s will directly. If a lowly priest such as himself was blessed with divine visions, surely the highest ranking clergyman of the church had access to much, much more? There was no way of knowing, of course. Whether the arch-lector was merely weighing his advisers’ words or waiting for a sign from Morr, no-one else could know. 

When Calictus’ attention returned to his company, his eyes seemed to light up, as if an amusing thought had tickled him. “Good Lector Bernado,” he said, “you have shown your grasp of the situation. I have no desire to do anything more than offer advice and help to Lord Silvano and his father.” He then turned to Biagino. “And good father, not only do I think you see much more than most when you look upon a man, it seems to me that Morr has guided you, blessed you, so that his will might manifest through you. You both speak well. We must recognise the inevitable and move with it rather than against it. We should aim to support Lord Silvano when he moves south to retake Scorcio.

“Might I ask, your holiness,” said Lector Bernado, “how can we make this situation serve Morr's greater purpose?"

“First we must bring this matter of unrest in our army to a close, without making any more enemies than we already have. You may hold a court martial, general. We must be seen to follow a proper process, and the rule of law must prevail. Let the Pavonans and Campogrottans express their anger, explain their justification. Bernado, I would have you attend, for the deed was done within your diocese, and by soldiers serving in Morr’s holy army.”

Both Lector Bernado and General d’Alessio bowed to show their obedience.

“It will be done, your holiness,” said the lector of Viadaza.

“What sentence do I pass when they admit to their deeds?” asked the general.

Again Biagino saw a glimpse of humour in the arch-lector’s eyes. “The Pavonans should be returned to their own brigade to be dealt with as Lord Silvano sees fit. The Campogrottans will be found guilty of misconduct, and will await my pleasure. In the meantime, I shall consider how best to deal with them.”

It was very clear to Biagino that the arch lector already knew full well what he intended to do, and equally clear that no-one but the arch-lector knew exactly what that was.

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(Continued Below)

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on October 02, 2015, 11:42:30 PM
(Part 3 of X continued)

Court Martial

In Viadaza

The gnomish clerk of the court was bringing the legal preamble to a close, his somewhat squeaky voice being both audible and authoritative despite its inauspicious nature, “… and as the matter to be investigated concerns soldiers serving different sovereign princes, so that none of their own officers has authority over all the parties involved, then General Urbano d’Alessio will himself act as judge, in that he carries the baton of command over all brigades, granted him by the authority of the arch-lector …”

Biagino was not one of those Morrite clergy officially attending the trial, for that honour fell to the Lector Bernado and the lesser priests under his immediate jurisdiction. Needless to say, there were not many lesser priests – two, to be exact. Times had been more than hard for all Viadazans, including the clergy. So much so, in fact, that some of the previously walking corpses cremated over the last week wore grey and red priestly robes, ragged and filthy but still recognisable. That priests of Morr might become the living dead was beyond most Tileans’ imaginations, yet it had happened here in this hellish place.

The square in which the interrogation was to be held was not large, made smaller by the collapse of the building lining its southern side. Biagino presumed the damage had happened either during the recent siege or the earlier fall of Viadaza to the undead. Attempts had been made to tidy the rubble, creating a kind of wall behind which a group of observers had gathered, Biagino amongst them. Several of the arch-lector’s own liveried bodyguard regiment were scattered about the place – a drummer to beat the appropriate flams as prisoners were brought forward or removed, an ensign to bear the arch-lector’s standard, and the rest to escort the prisoners and guard the various portals around the square. A second gnome assisted the clerk, while a priest of Morr was ready with a holy book upon which those to be examined might swear an oath that they would speak the truth.

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As Biagino stepped forwards to get a better look, the first soldier to be examined was being brought into place. As the prisoner and the guard came to a halt Biagino noticed the large stone block behind them, decorated with chains and manacles. Now he knew why this particular square had been chosen – it had obviously served a similar sort of purpose in the past, back when Viadaza was filled with a living populace rather than soldiers and ghosts. The prisoner was a Pavonan, his blue and white quartered garb unmistakeable. Unlike most prisoners Biagino had seen over the years, this man was clean, combed, his linen white and unstained. The court might be going through all the usual motions, but it was obvious that the sort of ‘back-stage’ cruelty and deprivation that was a prisoner’s usual lot had not been inflicted.

Once the Pavonan had been sworn, he was ordered to give an account of what had occurred.

“It weren’t anything,” he said, an element of disdain evident in his tone. “We heard what the brutes had done and decided we ought to teach them a lesson.”

“You decided?” asked the general. “Not Lord Silvano?”

“Lord Silvano was not with us when we heard the news. We knew what must be done without him having to tell us. Besides, to find him out would have meant delay, and we were in no mood for that. They say patience is a virtue, but not always.”

“So you were acting without orders?”

“The brutes were revealed as enemies in our midst, no doubt with some bloody intention to add to the deeds done at Scorcio. We did what was best, and what Lord Silvano would have wished.”

The general raised his hand to silence the soldier, his face registering annoyance. “Never mind what you think Lord Silvano wanted, or what was best. Answer me straight, did Lord Silvano give orders to attack the Campogrottan brutes?”

The Pavonan’s confidence was ebbing. He glanced around as if to look for help. “No, your excellency. He gave us no orders.”

The general gestured to the gnomish clerk. “Write that down,” he commanded.

As he did so, his scribbling hand not faltering for a moment, the gnome raised his bushy eyebrows, registering a kind of surprise. Biagino noticed, and smiled. The gnome was no doubt thinking: ‘What do you think I am doing?’

“Did Lord Silvano in any way indicate that it was his intention that you attack the brutes?” asked General d’Alessio.

“He is Gonfalonieri of Trantio, and Scorcio is his to rule. He would not want the comrades of those who had attacked his own possessions to go unpunished. We did …”

“Quiet!” barked the general. “And listen. This time I want you to answer the question put to you, and only that question. You have ears, use them!”

The Pavonan nodded, now definitely discomfited.

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The general waited a moment, took a breath as if to compose himself, and then asked, “Did Lord Silvano in any way whatsoever encourage, embolden or advise you to do this deed? Did he indicate his happiness at your intentions, or at the least suggest that you might do as you wished?”

“No. He couldn’t, see? Because Captain Minnoli took him away upon some errand before anyone could tell him what had happened.”

Now Biagino understood exactly why young Lord Silvano had not been present at the incident. His men had tricked him away, perhaps to prevent him from interfering, or to ensure no blame could be put on him. Perhaps both?

General d’Alessio was not subtle in his satisfaction. He brought his hands together in a clap and turned once again to look at the gnome. Before he could speak however, the gnome, without lifting his eyes or even pausing his quill pen, said, “I’m writing it.”

Biagino almost laughed at this. Gnomes had often had a comical way about them, a kind of pride, manifesting most often as sarcasm or rudeness. They were very good at what they did, yet men had a tendency to confuse their squeaky voices and short stature with childishness. He could not read the general’s subsequent fixed expression, but he knew the man well enough to know it was more likely to be an attempt to conceal the general’s own mirth rather than anger at the gnome’s impertinence.

General d’Alessio now turned to the crowd. “This man acted without his commanders’ orders, neither mine nor Lord Silvano’s. Lord Silvano bears no blame for the deed. This man speaks for himself and the rest of the Pavonans involved in this incident. It is not my place to discipline another man’s soldiers, and so this man and the others will be returned to their camp, there to suffer whatsoever punishment Lord Silvano sees fit to inflict. They are his to do with as he wishes.” Addressing the guard holding the prisoner’s manacles, he said, “Take him away.”

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Biagino was surprised at the speed at which the investigation had been conducted. Of course he knew that all those officiating had already been briefed as to what must be done, and that the whole event was for show, but he had thought the general might make more of an effort to appear thorough in his examination. Still, there was a war to fight, against a most terrible enemy, and so little time for the niceties of procedure and tradition. He watched as the Pavonan was led away and a Campogrottan brought to stand in his place.

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This man too had an air of defiance about him, like the Pavonan had when first brought forward, but his eyes revealed he was more nervous. He was dressed in a colourful green and yellow doublet and a blue artisan’s hat. His hands were bound before him with rope, and he was prodded into place by an intimidating, broadsword wielding guardsman. Biagino knew this Campogrottan was on much shakier ground than the Pavonan, as he and his comrades had no officers they could be returned to. They had killed their commanders when they killed the ogres!

The gnomish clerk declared that this man had been chosen to speak for himself and his comrades, then read out the man’s name, describing him as a retinue archer. The general seemed intrigued by this, asking, “A retinue archer? Whose retinue?”

“Sir Bruno Dalila, knight of the Hollow Order.”

“There are no knights in your brigade.”

“No, your excellency. The brutes killed them all.”

The general nodded gravely. “And this was the cause of your action?”

“It was, your excellency. Lord Nicolo and Boulderguts have killed or imprisoned every noble in our realm, lord, lady and child, excepting those who managed to flee or hide, which were not too many. They stole the whole of Campogrotta, enslaved every living soul, then they took Ravola to steal all they could from there too. Now they’ve set upon Trantio. They’ll burn the whole of Tilea if they’re not stopped.”

“You have grievances a-plenty,” acknowledged General d’Alessio. “I see that plainly. But you had no orders, and no right to take matters into your own hands. You are soldiers serving this holy army of Morr, and ought properly to have awaited orders. We would have dealt with the brutes as best we saw fit.”

The archer stared down at his feet. Biagino wondered whether the act of rebellion had given the man any real satisfaction, considering all that he had likely lost to the brutes. It was a small revenge for the conquest and looting of an entire principality. The archer could hardly be said to look proud about what he had done. Or, thought Biagino, perhaps he was simply afraid of the potentially brutal consequences of being caught disobeying orders in a time of war?

“Look now,” commanded the general. “You will tell us exactly what happened. Speak.”

The man winced, then began his tale. “News came of what had happened at Scorcio, the brute Gollig one of the first to hear it. He was laughing, which wasn’t like him, and I wondered what was so funny. Then Enzo, who’d heard what had been said, stepped up to him and stuck him with a knife, deep into his belly. That stopped the laughing, but o’course it didn’t put Gollig down. He broke Enzo’s neck with a back-handed blow, then started shouting that we were all maggots, and asking who else wanted a slap. I could see he wasn’t himself, but whether that was the knife still buried in him or because he knew there was going to be trouble now that he and his kind had become enemies of the very army they were serving with, I don’t know. Enzo’s brother, Luca, sent an arrow to accompany the knife, then umpteen lads started filling him with shafts too. Even before he fell some of the others had run into the brute’s tents to cut their throats before they woke. And some managed it, but not all, because the brutes were roused by the noise and began fighting back. A lot of men were killed, we were hard pressed, and it were going bad for us until the Pavonans turned up and joined in the fight. They had halberds, which cut broad and deep, and the blood flowed freely. It wasn’t easy, and a lot of good men died, but between us we did what had to be done and killed every one of them.”

It went very quiet in the square. For a moment Biagino thought that there might be applause for the prisoner, but none came. He sensed it was being held in check - there was probably no-one present who had anything but respect for the prisoner.

General d’Alessio glanced over at the gnomish clerk still scribbling at the paper. Then he spoke: “In light of the cruel tyranny of Boulderguts and his ogres, and their treacherous attack to the south of us, I am minded to excuse your actions. You and your comrades showed courage, and were willing to suffer as a consequence. Also I would have it known that you bear no blame for the attack upon Scorcio. But I cannot forgive your indiscipline. Soldiers should act upon orders and not upon impulse, and so I hereby judge that you will serve a term of parole, under conditions to be set by myself and the council of war.”

“This court martial is adjourned.”

Biagino once again was surprised by the abruptness with which the general brought things to a close. He knew exactly what the arch-lector had ordered – that the Pavonans be released into the custody of their own commander, and that the Campogrottans be freed only on provision that they continue to serve the arch-lector in whatever capacity he saw fit – yet had not realised how quickly such a declaration would be made. Only two out of more than three dozen men had been questioned, and neither had been pressed to reveal anything other than what they wanted to say. Perhaps this was the military way? No room for lawyers and cross examinations; no place for bickering, wrangling or disputation.

Not that he was unhappy about it, for now they could get back the important matter of waging war against the vampires. Or should that be the war against vampires and ogres? 

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on October 06, 2015, 09:34:12 AM
Superbly written and I dread to think how many minis you actually posses. A lot is my guess. ;)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on November 11, 2015, 10:59:03 PM
(Yes, Xathrodox. .. a lot.)

End of Season 6 General Report, Part 4 of 4

A Letter to Lord Lucca Vescucci of Verezzo

To my most noble lord, from your loyal servant Antonio Mugello. May this missive find you blessed by all the gods, in good health and prosperous. I humbly present all that I have learned from my travels and conversations over these last summer months concerning the realm of Tilea. Having carefully sifted, examined, compared and weighted all that I have learned, I humbly believe this report comes as close to the truth as is possible for a mere mortal to ascertain.
..
Arch-Lector Calictus II at last launched his own holy war early this summer, for he personally led an alliance army of his own troops, several Viadazans of note and a brigade of Campogrottan ogres and men. While Duke Scaringella remains Captain General of the armies of Remas, he also remained in the city, and so it is General d’Alessio, the Viadazan hero of Pontremola, who commands this great Morrite alliance army upon the march and in the field of battle. Of course, his holiness Calictus II attends the army’s councils, acting as would a liege lord, but chooses not to shoulder the burden of tactical command.

At the town of Scorcio they halted to dwell a while in the army camp constructed for their use by the Pavonans, and there they were joined by the Pavonan Lord Silvano Gondi, Gonfalonieri of the newly conquered city realm of Trantio. The young lord’s father, Duke Guidobaldo, had left him to rule while he himself returned to Pavona, and there has been considerable debate concerning whether the duke intended his son to abandon the city so soon to join with the army of Morr! Lord Silvano took a substantial brigade of veteran Pavonan soldiers with him, making the conjoined force mighty one indeed. And yet even more was on the way, for another force, paid and sent by Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore, consisting of the arabyan mercenaries known as the Sons of the Desert, intended also to join them. But they were sent too late to reach Calictus this summer, and are now believed to be close behind. They could thus provide a ready source of reinforcements some time in Autumn, and will no doubt be most welcome to the arch lector in light of what happened at the end of summer (which I will detail below in its proper place.)

This holy Morrite army moved quickly to attack and capture Viadaza – or I suppose, as the Viadazans amongst their number would say, re-capturing it. The defeated vampire Lord Adolfo fled away with the ragged remnants of his army using the last remaining ships and boats in the harbour escaping even as the arch lector’s soldiers began pouring in through the breaches blasted by their cannons. The victors then began the horrible business of cleansing the befouled city, burning putrid corpses by the thousand in order to prevent them from rising yet again to fight, and to prevent disease ravaging their camp. Of course burning the dead is not the usual way of the Morrite church, but when it comes to corpses tainted by evil magic apt to stir once again upon unholy nights if allowed to lie in the ground, the church actively encourages cremation. Indeed when there are mountainous heaps of them, I doubt there is any other sensible way to proceed.

This victory brought hope to those who dwell in northern Tilea, being the first occasion  in two years the undead had lost something which they had taken, the first truly effective blow delivered against them. Even when the vampire duke perished at Pontremola and his decimated army retreated from the field, nevertheless the undead dominion widened, for Viadaza was captured and corrupted that very same week - thus the victorious peasant crusaders lost their home even though they won the battle. Now, however, a battle was won and this time the enemy had definitely been pushed back. The vampire Lord Adolfo fled with his tail between his legs, in all likelihood running to his wicked mistress. Perhaps she, being a heartless creature of evil, would kill him as punishment for his failure? Whatever she did, she would surely recognise that her hold on the north has weakened. The victory failed to bring much joy to the Morrite alliance army, however, as they were busy about their nauseous and noisome task in the city. Instead they felt only trepidation concerning when the vampire Duchess would strike.

There are very few alive who can reliably report on exactly what is happening within the far north-west, where the walking dead shuffle and shamble about their foul errands. According to the handful of  brave Urbiman spies who have ventured forth into that hellish domain, the vampire duchess Maria has now established her rule both in Miragliano and Ebino. The first was once her uncle’s realm and would now be hers by right of inheritance if she were still alive; the second she herself ruled before she turned. The Urbiman spies report the undead fought bitterly amongst themselves over the winter and spring months, which is why their advance southward slowed. Most educated men agree this is most likely, for when the vampire duke perished, his lieutenants were left leaderless. Such cruel and vain creatures most likely set upon each other to claw their bloody way to power, and in the end the vampire duchess Maria won the struggle. As to what strength she can now muster in the field no-one knows. Nor can anyone claim knowledge of her intentions, but her realm is large, with a plentiful supply of charnel pits and graveyards from which she can increase her marching strength. Perhaps she had intended Lord Adolfo to hold Viadaza, but now perchance he will instead join her in to increase her marching strength? But I must write no more concerning this in case I might give the false impression that I have any real understanding of these matters. The far north of Tilea remains a darkly shrouded place, despite the vivid nightmares it weaves across the whole of Tilea.

At the end of summer terrible news came to the grand Morrite alliance army’s camp at Viadaza - the town of Scorcio, in the northern part of the realm of Trantio, had been attacked, looted and razed by a large force of ogres led by the Campogrottan Tyrant Razger Boulderguts. This led to a bloody, arguably mutinous, incident in the army camp as the downtrodden men of Campogrotta turned against their brute masters and killed them. They could well have been looking for an opportunity to do this for some time, but until now were hindered by the fact that the arch-lector seemed to consider the ogres a useful and important addition to his force. They were helped by several Pavonans, themselves looking for vengeance over the sacking of Scorcio, one of their young lord's possessions. I have heard it said more than once how these two make strange bedfellows – the Campogrottans being a conquered people, the Pavonans being conquerors. An alliance of convenience, perhaps? Considering the Campogrottan men are merely peasant soldiers, and outcasts from their own realm, it is no alliance of equals. How this internal conflict will affect the holy army of Morr has yet to be seen - their losses in ogres were just as bad in the incidient as in the assault on Viadaza. Yet there is an entire mercenary army of Arabyans on its way to them so perhaps the arch-lector’s field strength can be maintained despite these difficulties? What the arch-lector will do in response is a topic of much speculation. If he considers Boulderguts his enemy, which most folk assume must be the case, then he is close to being entirely surrounded by foes, and cut off from his own city. Will he turn south again now, his fight against the vile undead very much unfinished, or can he risk lingering in the far north to complete what he has begun?

It is a much discussed mystery why the Campogrottan Lord Nicolo and his tyrant ogre Boulderguts sent a force including ogres along with the Morrite alliance army, when he apparently intended simultaneously to attack the Tilean realms also supporting that army. Many suppose that if the ogres had lived they would certainly have gone about some other treacherous, murderous activity. Of course, the Campogrottan brigade set off many months before Trantio was taken by the Pavonans, so it cannot be presumed that the ogres had particular enemies in mind. Perhaps their presence was intended to poison the Morrite army, to weaken it fatally, or at the least to make it unfit to return to Trantio to aid its defence? When Boulderguts discovered the realm of Trantio to be ruled by servants of the Pavonan Duke rather than the Trantian Prince I doubt he would have thought twice about continuing his assault, for why would it matter to him who exactly he looted from? He consumed the realm of Ravola leaving only the barest of bones to show what once was. In truth it was perhaps inevitable that the ogres would turn south to continue to feed their lust for loot. I am loathe to admit that I failed entirely to recognise that Bouldergut's assault on Ravola revealed his true nature, and what (of course) he would do again and again until stopped.

I now wonder whether there is an evil alliance between the wizard Lord Nicolo and the vampire Duchess Maria. It has for some time now been conjectured that Nicolo, impossibly ancient as he is, is himself a vampire. If so, then it occurs to me he may well have been the root cause of the curse that so recently brought Miragliano so low. Perhaps the vampires that have come to dominate the far north were begotten of him? One might counter that vampires lead only the armies of the dead, which means Lord Nicolo cannot be so, but why couldn’t a vampire hire an army of ogres to fight for him? Perhaps he believed them to be a better fighting force than the shambling hordes of undead, and in an urge to gain power by the best means possible, preferred living muscle to magically animated sinews? Perhaps Lord Nicolo recognised that the people of Campogrotta would never serve him, even begrudgingly, if they suspected what he was, and so thought it best to rule through the whip-wielding hands of brutes?

The existence of such a vampire alliance could explain the timing of the attack upon Scorcio, for both sides have gained much - the Campogrottan ogres able to plunder almost freely now that the fighting men of Remas and Trantio have marched northwards, while the Duchess Maria benefits from the confusion, doubt and weakening of the grand alliance army just as it began to get to grips with her newly won realm. Furthermore, my lord, I would ask you to consider this: As the ogres satisfy their hunger - looting, slaughtering, devouring - they leave behind them a wasteland – exactly the sort of ruinous realm that would suit vampires perfectly. Once the ogres are sated and have moved on elsewhere, the undead could simply move in to take possession of the strongholds and raise hordes of servants from the unguarded graveyards and tombs to re-populate the realm. Both parties obtain exactly what they desire. If the wizard lord Nicolo is indeed a vampire, then sending a hired horde of ogres before him to destroy the land could be considered a strategy of terrible and wicked genius. I admit that this is mere speculation on my behalf, for no-one seems even to have witnessed the wizard lord of Campogrotta, not even those Campogrottans who escaped his ghostly yet tyrannical regime (which in itself could lend more weight to the theory that he is a vampire, hiding his face from his conquered people).

The only good to come so far from this situation - and I do not write this flippantly but rather as you commanded my honesty in communications - is that  Duke Guidobaldo’s recent unwarranted, unfair and untrue threats against your lordship, the ogres’ assault upon his newly won territories might well be considered good news, for he must surely now be too distracted to continue his aggression. How can he continue his attempts to inflate his feigned grudge into another reason to go to war and thus further increase his possessions, when a massive force of plundering ogres are even now rending their way through his Trantine possessions? Surely he must now look to defence rather than attack?

...

As the garden of war in the north blossoms with blood red blooms, in the south its tired, browning petals are falling away. The forces of the VMC continue to pursue the scattered remnants of Khurnag’s Waagh. Even though many of the goblinoids apparently dissipated at the ultramontane mercenaries’ mere approach, nevertheless enough remain to require the VMC's continued efforts. The greenskins, however numerous, have been fatally wounded by the lack of a leader to unite them. Such has always been true of goblinoids, who harbour a hatred for each other just as strong as that they feel for men, a flaw that can only be subdued by an awe-inspiring warboss. When leaderless they become more a constant annoyance than a real danger.

As nothing has been heard from Monte Castello in several months, not one boat nor even a lone traveller coming thence, it is supposed that it fell to the greenskins some time ago and that any Tileans who remain there are either dead or held prisoner. No-one knows the fate of Pugno, but its isolated situation, sitting beside the very route many of the greenskins are thought to have travelled from the Border Princes, does not bode well for its survival. Thus it is that even though the VMC are unlikely again to face a grand field army like that which attacked them at Tursi, they may well still have their work cut out if they are to secure the south-eastern parts of Tilea: to make Alcente and Pavezzano safe, and to clear Monte Castello and Pugno of squabbling bands of goblins. It is commonly complained that the VMC will only complete their task if there is profit in it, and that if a goblin infested settlement was irreparably ruined they would simply pass it by as of no interest. I myself am not so sure of this loast contention for they have rebuilt Pavezzano and invited many to settle there under their protection, and that was presumably in a very bad state of repair after its occupation by the goblins of the Little Waagh!  Some others claim that the VMC would be happier bribing the goblins to leave, although most laugh at this suggestion, pointing out that the northerners have fought well enough so far, not only defeating Khurnag's Waagh but somehow finding the time to punish Raverno along the way. These are not the actions of a wary or weak force. If anything, the VMC will become more of a threat once the greenskins are dealt with, for surely they will turn their attentions to other potential sources of profit, and will care not if said sources are in Tilean hands. As is commonly heard on the streets of Pavona: “A foreigner is a foreigner, whether his ears are pointed, his skin green or his accent northern.”

Last I wish to tell you of something that is most likely already known to you. If so, pray forgive me and know that I would be remiss if I did not mention it. The Estalian brigade Compagnia del Sol has begun sending letters to various rulers and powers in Tilea, suggesting that in light of the conjoined threats of vampires, ogres and greenskins, their military skill and strength are surely needed. They boast that through the hard fighting they have experienced in Estalia fighting against the rebellious northern and eastern lords, they have become a much more dependable force than their recently dispersed Tilean cousins ever were, and they claim that they are of at least equal strength. They intend to land agents at the western coast port cities, and have already begun to suggest that one state alone need not pay them entirely, for it might be arranged that two employers might share the cost, perhaps several many sovereign states each paying a mere portion of their fee, so that all can benefit from the protection of a large and potent fighting force which would otherwise prove too expensive for their purses. If then joined by detachments of native militia and troops to further bolster their numbers, an army the likes of which has not been seen for decades in Tilea might be forged. I cannot say whether or not their boasts and promises are true, but as a good many of them are Tileans by birth, and are only called Estalian due to dwelling this last decade in that place, then they could indeed prove to be sturdy warriors in the defence of Tilea.

I eagerly await your further instructions and remain your obedient servant.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Zygmund on November 12, 2015, 05:20:50 PM
This thread is an epitome of the spirit of Warhammer: sharing into an epic yet human story!  :::cheers:::

-Z
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on November 13, 2015, 07:20:20 AM
That's what I've wanted to hear. :D Anyway - great summary. Can't wait for the next season. :smile2:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on November 13, 2015, 09:31:59 PM
Interesting sunmary, bravo! :icon_cool: :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on December 31, 2015, 03:53:10 PM
The First to Leave
Prequel to the Fight Outside Astiano
Trantio, early Autumn IC2402

On almost any other occasion what they were doing would be considered reckless, culpably so – to ride so fast, almost a gallop, through the city, especially as it was done in the middle of the day when the streets were at their most crowded. But they had orders from the duke himself specifying all haste, and they would not wish to disappoint their employer. What with the duke’s own officers watching their passage, a leisurely ride would not do. They had a reputation to maintain. And besides, it was fun.

Today the streets were even busier than usual, jammed with every cart, coach and carriage the city possessed, all those that could be taken from the surrounding farms and villages, as well as mules, donkeys, asses and servants. All were to be loaded with goods and possessions, and if not already packed, then they had goods piled about them yet to be hefted, whilst more still were dragged from every house. As Gillvas and his comrades clattered along, their mounts’ hooves throwing up sparks from the stone paving, the cluttered narrowness of the way meant umpteen citizens had to throw themselves against walls, dodge hastily into doorways or even duck beneath the wagons. Whereas normally they might gasp and gawp at such riders, elves being a rarity on Tilean streets (certainly armoured elves upon snow white horses) now, however, there was little time for such curiosity, what with the pressing need to avoid being trampled at the forefront of most people’s minds.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio1a_zpsdrtrpwx7.jpg)

It was a shame, thought Gillvas, for he knew that his company was a sight to behold – finer than any gaudily bedecked Tilean knight sweating and grunting beneath heavy plate, more skilful and nimble than all but the very best of human horsemen. The mercenary Sharlian Riders favoured green for cloaks and barding, and even their scaled skirts and horse barding were lacquered to match. Although the rest of their garb and trappings were of more muted, natural hues, the flawlessly white hides and manes of their mighty mounts gave them a brightness which more than matched any red, blue or purple surcoat or shield. Gillvas held his finely carved lance aloft, and like his companions had eyes suitably keen and wits sufficiently quick to ensure he always dipped it just in time whenever they rode beneath a laundry line or balcony. The only thing marking him out from the other riders was that he wore a hood, a habit that had brought laughter from his blonde-haired companions the day they realised he did so because of his black hair. As Phraan had pointed out, it was a dilemma – to hide that which made him different he had to make himself look different. To which Ruven riposted it was only a dilemma because Gillvas refused to wear a yellow periwig.

Gillvas noticed how several onlookers frowned or scowled as they rode by. He doubted that this was because their thundering passage was troublesome, or merely that they were elves, nor even due to them serving Trantio’s recent conqueror, Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona. No, it was because their unusually rapid progress gave every impression that they were leaving the city hurriedly, before everyone else. He couldn’t help smiling at the thought, for it was in fact true. They were indeed leaving, although it was not an escape, it was obedience. While everyone else was to travel south to find refuge elsewhere in the Duke’s realms, the Sharlian Riders were to travel north, carrying orders to the Duke’s only surviving son, Lord Silvano, then to serve him as reinforcements for his own little army.

As they rounded a bend in the street onto the stretch that led to the Ponte Grande and the city’s eastern gate Ruven, riding upon Gillvas’ right, shouted to him: “Have a care, Gillvas. Those mules can give a nasty kick.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio1b_zpsaap7nqwr.jpg)

Nearly all Ruven’s utterances were jests, which before battle could be a welcome thing, and was thoroughly entertaining when carousing in some tavern. The rest of the time it could be bothersome to have to weigh each comment to determine whether it was based on some truth or mere fancy. When he glanced at the mules in question they were pulling away from the galloping horses, no threat at all. Then something upon the other side of the street caught Gillvas’ eye. Two children, hurtling down an alley, now stumbling and halting in surprise at the sight before them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio6_zpsd9gsx6ey.jpg)

Ragamuffin boys come to see the fey riders, their eyes wide and their heads filled with whatever nonsense some uncle or grandfather had told them concerning elvenkind. Better they consider what they have heard about ogres, thought Gillvas, and be about packing or carrying or whatever else their mothers or masters have told them to do. He knew only too much about ogres. Children like that were nothing but morsels of meat to a hungry brute. He felt a pang of guilt, or sorrow, or both, but it was soon diminished by the thought that the population was leaving and so the boys stood a chance of surviving.

Outpaced only by the company’s pennant-bearer, and a little ahead of Gillvas, Captain Presrae rode his ‘unicorn’. It was that beast which caught most eyes, and most probably was responsible for the two boy’s sudden awe. Humans will fall for almost anything, thought Gillvas, and not just children, but full grown men too - if the subterfuge is subtle, the legerdemain apparently legitimate. Only the youngest of elves would look at that beast and think it any other than a wild-mained stallion sporting a false horn of oversized proportions.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio3_zpsitckolhr.jpg)

Amongst men, however, it was an easy deception. ‘You can look, but do not approach too close. Moondown is a proud and fierce mount who allows only a few to touch him.’ One young Reman had spent more than three weeks in the painting of the horse, and sold the likeness for a considerable sum, paying the agreed proportion to Captain Presrae of course. Not once had the captain divulged his secret, or let slip some remark to give the game away. Only his own men knew the truth, and how to mix the necessary glue (so that not once had the huge horn dislodged itself). Even now he rode Moondown in all apparent earnestness, no saddle nor harness nor bridle, like some legendary hero. It was an act that paid dividends. How many mercenaries in Tilea had lords tumbling over each other to contract them? Duke Guidobaldo himself was so taken by Moondown, and the rest of the company, that he paid ridiculously well to hire them, as well as recompensing the arch-lector the full amount in gold which he had originally paid to hire them. The Sharlian Riders had only come to Trantio to escort a priestly emissary with complaints about the War of the Princes, and were meant to return to Remas. But who says no when a duke offers to pay twice for you?
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio1_zps3exkmppl.jpg)

“There’s our noble commander that was,” said Ruven, pointing towards the wizard Belastra, acting governor of Trantio. “I still say we are not the strange ones here.”

“We’ll have real Tilean nobility ordering us soon enough,” said Gillvas.

“True. Although t’would be better it were a man and not a boy.”

Belastra had an armoured guard by him, bearing a plume that showed him to be a Pavonan state army captain. He himself carried a wooden staff and wore loose robes of a somewhat arabyan fashion. Unusually for a wizard, he had become lieutenant-governor of the city while the new Gonfaloniere ‘for life’ Lord Polcario was away. Perhaps he had relished the prospect of ruling an entire city state? If so, then receiving Duke Guidobaldo’s orders to strip the city bare of all wealth, supplies, livestock and people, then flee, must have come as a disappointment to him. He had to do so quickly, before the ogres arrived, so it was unlikely he had much time to brood over the vagaries of fortune. The Pavonan duke wanted to deny the ogres all that they enjoyed – their pillaging and looting, their cruel sports and tortures. It just so happened that in the process he had also denied Belastra whatever sports, cruel or otherwise, he had been looking forward to.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio5_zps9dvm66rs.jpg)

Of course there was no scowl from the wizard as they passed. He knew exactly where the riders where going and why, for it was him who had passed on the orders. Instead there was something else writ in his stare – trepidation, perhaps even fear. Gillvas found it hard to be certain, human faces were not easy for elves to read, twisted as they were so often into grotesque distortions of a kind rarely employed by elves. It was likely to be fear, he decided, for the Sharian Riders would have made a vast difference to the martial escort of such a train as was about to leave Trantio. There were very few, if any, could compare to them for outriders and scouts, and as horse-soldiers they packed a lot more punch than any Border Princes stradiot or Estalian jinette, whilst outmanoeuvring any Tilean man-at-arms with ease. (None of which, it so happened, were available to Belastra.) Soon to command a city-sized rabble of refugees, Belsatra must surely have regretted having to send the elves away.

Beside the wizard was a bunch of mercenary crossbowmen, no doubt acting as his guards during such troubled times. It is no easy thing to make the entire populace of a city the size of Trantio abandon their homes and livelihoods. Although some were willing enough, for fear of what was coming, many believed it would be better to defend the city, and of those a significant number went beyond thinking to voicing their opinion, shouting their disagreement, perhaps even swinging a fist to make their point a little more forcefully. No surprise then to find the man tasked with ensuring their obedience so guarded.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio4_zps4gzp7dii.jpg)

The crossbowmen were the last surviving fragment of the once large Tilean Compagnia del Sole mercenary company. Their comrades had all either perished during the War of the Princes or afterwards during the furore over the death of a certain Reman ambassador carrying important letters from the arch-lector requiring immediate cessation of that war. These men, one of two large companies of crossbowmen who had been defending Trantio’s walls, had somehow negotiated the tricky path between being enemies and allies. In fact, they had done so so successfully that they had now been paid twice! Ruven had laughed for an hour after seeing Captain Presrae’s face upon hearing the news. The Sharian Riders had similarly been paid for twice, but they themselves received only one of the payments. These men, formally enemies of Pavona, and hated ones at that, had received both payments: the first to contract them as a standing force for the city, serving to guard the duke’s newly won realm from both unrest within and enemies without; the second came only a few months later when their contract was re-negotiated entirely to make them a part of the Pavonan marching army. For half an hour Ruven’s merriment arose from his description of the captain’s immediate reaction to the news, then for the next half hour it was fuelled by his lyrical exploration of Ruven’s subsequent thoughts as he no doubt wondered how he might do the same. Only Ruven could turn several moment’s silent expression into a tumbling comedic wordplay lasting an hour.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio8_zpsjadfyb9l.jpg)

One of the crossbowmen’s sergeants stood upon the flank gesturing towards the riders with a quarrel. Perhaps he too, thought Gillvas, was waxing lyrical about the very same topic? What else do such mercenaries concern themselves with, if not money? Maybe wine and wenches, but foremost comes money, for it is that which makes the wine more accessible (and better) and the women more amenable.

It was with that thought in mind that he glanced to the other side of the street and saw three Trantian maids watching from the doorway of a mean looking house. One glance and he knew they were exactly the type known to the crossbowmen. One stood apart from others, hands on hips, yellow bodice pulled tight, a wry smile on her face as if what she knew amused her. The others were clutching hens, which made Gillvas smile. The people of Trantio were even taking the poultry with them! If the ogres did not hurry they would find not one morsel of flesh, fish or fowl, not one egg, olive nor even a grain of wheat, and them with the sort of appetite that took whole hogs to satisfy, and thirsts requiring gallons of wine rather than cups. It almost made him feel sorry for them.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio9_zps8jclqnxq.jpg)

Then he spotted a grey priest lurking close to the wenches, watching from the semi-concealment of a little alleyway. An ugly sort of man (although there were few men that elves did not think somewhat disagreeable in appearance), with a tonsured pate and garbed in a coarse, woollen cassock and sandals. Gyllvas was not surprised – one could go nowhere in Trantio these days without meeting a Morrite cleric or two. Luckily for him and his comrades, the priests had no desire to preach to elves. He had thought Remas an overly pious sort of place, swarming with the devout followers of Morr wailing about the undead, but it turned out the Pavonans had their own kind of Morrite faith, which they claimed to be the most perfect form. It was certainly the most onerous, for it was expected that one’s every thought must be pure, not just one’s actions, and that each failing in this regard required some sacrifice or penance. What with Trantio having been, according to Pavonan propaganda, under the rule of a cruel and tainted tyrant prince, as soon as the soldiers had captured it a swarm of lesser Morrite clergy followed to begin the work of admonishing, instructing, correcting. The Trantians had not exactly been overjoyed at this holier-than-thou guidance. Right now they must be wondering why they had put up with it at all if they were to lose all they had regardless. Such sentiments probably explained why the priest skulking in the alleyway had a Pavonan handgunner by his side.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio10_zpsywdh1buu.jpg)

“Think of your death, Gyllvas,” shouted Ruven. “There’s a jolly priest watching us.” Gyllvas could not help but laugh, for only the night before Ruven had regaled the company with a cruelly rhetorical discourse concerning how the Reman priests of Morr had marched north into a land of walking dead to face legions in battle, while their brethren, these Pavonan clergy, bravely battled daily to teach the Trantians the correct words for their prayers and the proper procedure for their rituals. Still, it did not matter whether the people enjoyed their reformation, or were happy with their new lords, if they wanted to live at then they had to leave as ordered. Whether they would all go where they have been told to, carrying burdens for their Pavonan conquerors and mercenary guards, that remained to be seen.

At the head of the riders flew their pennant of green silk, bearing a white branch.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/FleeTrantio7_zpsohqxrddh.jpg)

Over the bridge (no mean feat what with the wagons clustered at either end) and out through the gate they rode. As he emerged onto the ancient road Gyllvas glanced back at the walls. I wonder, he thought, will they burn the city? Why leave the ogres shelter when they were so thoroughly removing everything else? What with vampires and ogres, and now Tileans razing their own settlements, it seemed possible the whole northern half of the peninsula would soon be in ruins. It was not the happiest of thoughts while riding northwards.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on January 05, 2016, 12:43:09 PM
A mew year and a new post from you. Tis' a great time indeed. ;) Awesome stuff, as always but then again you know that I'm your no.1 fan. :-P
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on January 05, 2016, 03:49:57 PM
A well done stage setting scene. :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 07, 2016, 09:03:00 PM
What Happened Outside Astiano
Battle Report, Part One

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic1Table_zpsixs5awmx.jpg)
The boys had found a place to talk where they would not be disturbed. As the city was so crowded with newly arrived soldiers and the survivors from Trantio (though nowhere near as crowded as it might have been if things had turned out differently) there were few places left where the boys could talk without being overheard or, more annoyingly, someone telling them they ought to be doing something else. Here in a damp anti-cellar beneath the last remaining ruins of the ancient amphitheatre they would not be disturbed. It was hardly habitable, and certainly no-one would think to sleep there (what with the abundant stories of ratto uomo lurking there. But it seemed fine for an hour’s talk, during the day.

Tommi had been the first to go in, as always; Vitty was the last, as always. Aldo, his head still reeling with all that he had seen, hadn’t noticed if Fran went in before or after him. Not that he cared either way – not like Tommi or Vitty.  Once in he sat down straight away. He was not sure what on, only that it was hard. Tommi lifted some rubbish out of the way, and pushed a rotting crate aside, to clear a little area, while Vitty repeated “Is it alright?” several times. Finally, Fran said, “Yeah, Vitty. S’fine. And anyway, we’ll keep an eye out for trouble.”

As soon as they had all agreed that this was the place to talk, Tommi, the biggest of the boys, turned to Aldo. “You can’t have seen it all. It makes no sense. You weren’t outside and you weren’t on the wall.”

Aldo smiled knowingly. It wasn’t that he was feeling cock-sure, rather that he had always corrected Tommi with that smile and so it just happened. “You’re right,” he said. “I wasn’t in any of those places. I was in the gate tower, and I had a window all to myself.”

“You’re lying,” said Fran. “There was a cannon mounted on that tower which burned up bad. If you were there then why aren’t you burned?”

“And why would they let you stay there?” asked Tommi.

“They didn’t know I was there, because whenever anyone passed through, up or down and either side, I hid in a pile of sacks. I climbed in one, see, and when I heard anything close I closed it over me. Just one more sack in the pile.”

“So why aren’t you burned?” asked Vitty.

“Did you run away before it blew up?” added Tommi in a mocking tone. “Or was the sack a soggy one?”

“Shut up, Tommi. You don’t know anything. The cannon was up above me, a stone roof between me and it. I heard it, felt it.” He hesitated. “I looked up afterwards, when it went quiet.”

The others stared at him with bated breath. He said nothing, his own eyes suddenly seeming to lose sight of his friends, as if he could see something else.

“What did you see?” said Vitty. “Was it horrible?”

Aldo frowned. “Yes. It was. But it wasn’t the worst thing I saw.”

The others just waited now. Aldo knew he was going to tell them about the battle – why else had they come here? But now, just as it was expected of him, he wondered if he could. Then, surprising himself, he suddenly realised he had already started talking.

“The soldiers from Trantio arrived first – all foot and no horse. There were two lots of crossbowmen and a crazy looking engine that looked like a barrel of handguns tipped on its side. Behind them – some way off, was a train of wagons, and lots of people: men and women and kids too. I thought the soldiers would stop outside the walls, to make sure the people and the wagons got in. But they didn’t. They had two grey haired men with them, in robes and carrying staffs – wizards, real ones – who shouted them in, so they marched straight through the gate. Then I had to become a sack again because they came up onto the wall and passed right through the chamber. They went both ways out onto the wall until one lot was on one side and the other was on the other. I thought the engine would come in through the gate too, but one of the wizards shouted there was no time – no time to mount it he said - and so it halted just outside the gate.

“Then I heard screaming outside, so I looked through the window. The men, loads of them, had come away from the crowd with the wagons. It was the women and children who were screaming, and I thought the men were going to run through the gate like the soldiers had done leaving the others behind. But they didn’t. They all came together, marching like soldiers off beside the wall, with some big fella shouting orders.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic3PavonansDeploy_zpsacsorlvo.jpg)

“But they weren’t soldiers. They passed close under my window. They had no swords, no armour; just sticks, pitchforks, clubs, scythes. Sharp and nasty stuff, but not soldiers’ weapons.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic4TheMob_zpsvhnulse9.jpg)

“Where were our militia?” demanded Fran. “They mustered, I know it ‘cos I saw them a-marching through the streets, flag held high. They’ve got proper weapons – pikes, so they must have gone out to fight.”

“I saw them alright,” said Aldo. “Marched right up to the gate they did. But they didn’t go out. One of them wizards shouted ‘Hold!’ and they stopped. I heard him clear ‘cos he was only on the other side of the door to me.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic5ThePike_zps0sjeldlt.jpg)

“That can’t be right,” said Vitty. “What with them Trantians outside being chased. The militia must have gone out to help them.”

“No,” said Aldo, going pale. He sniffed. “I wish they had. I didn’t know it then – I just wondered what was going on. But now I wish they had. They stood on the inside of the gate, and close. I thought it might be some sort of trick.”

The other boys already had an idea why Aldo was upset - there were rumours all over the city - just now, however, they were beginning to get an inkling that the truth might be more horrible.

“There was a lot of banging and clattering up above, where the cannon was” continued Aldo. “And someone shouting ‘Make her ready’. I heard that a few times later on, in between the bangs. The voice got quieter I think, but my ears were ringing so maybe it was just them playing up?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic6Cannon_zps6dkgtxky.jpg)

“Then someone else cried the same words and I looked out the window. Down below the war engine that came from Trantio was being cranked and three iron balls were rolled into it from a plank they had been sitting on. The gunners were Pavonans, blue and white – like the men on the cannon up on top.” Aldo had wondered at the time why the soldiers had made so much effort to get that to Astiano first, before the wagons and the poor folk of Trantio, but he didn’t mention that now.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic7Helblaster_zpsa6qsvibe.jpg)

“Complicated it was, that engine, a mess of levers and gears. I couldn’t make much sense of it so I looked out across the field to the wagons. They were crammed with stuff, piled high, and the horses pulling them looked to be in a bad way. There was no room left for people on them, so a little crowd came alongside them.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic8TheLoot_zps7kexpmez.jpg)

The other three boys looked at each other. They all knew the deadly fate of that crowd, just not the whys and wherefores of what happened.

“Why didn’t they just come in with the crossbowmen?” asked Tommi. “Why’d they lag behind like they did?”

Aldo frowned. “I think they were going as fast as they could. Lots of them were old, or little ‘uns. And the mothers amongst them were carrying even smaller ones. And all of them had bags and other burdens. I think when the men marched off they left their stuff with them.”

Now it was Vitty’s turn to frown. “Why would the men do that?”

“Oh, I don’t think they left to run away. They were still trying to look after them. I think they went off so that they could try to stop the brutes.”

“You saw the brutes then?” asked Vitty.

Aldo stifled a laugh. Not a happy sort of laugh, but the nervous sort that can turn into sobs. “When they came I thought they were nearer than they were, ‘cos they were all so big. Grey skinned, wearing nothing but breeches and plates of armour, and carrying blades the size of doors. And there were monsters in amongst them, like giant, hairy bulls, with more brutes on their backs. I always thought they’d be a bit like the brute caravan guards, except more wild and ragged, all screams and wailing and cavorting about, but they weren’t. They came on in a great long line, like the militia on parade, neat and tidy and in step; and some were shouting with voices like drums, or horns pretending to be drums. I think that’s what kept them in line.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic2OgreDeploy_zpsv7nkxhiu.jpg)

“They didn’t stay so neat, though, lined and ready for a battle. I reckon they saw that some of the of Trantians were already in, and that there was no-one apart from a little company of handgunners and the Trantio mob between them and the walls, so they broke into a run, which made the ground thunder. And everyone on the walls was shouting ‘Steady, steady’ over and over.”

……

Game Notes:
This time I’m gonna put these in but keep them separate from the story sections.
What follows is the scenario rules I had made up and modified over and over:

Forces:
Ogres = 2600 points not including the ruler lord.
Pavona = 750 Empire troops, 350 points of Astiano standing force (Empire) + a free mob of Trantians, guarding 3 wagons (each worth half a campaign supply point in loot) + crowd of women & children (worth half a campaign supply point in loot).

Objective(s):
To enter the city the Pavonan wagons must make contact with the gate.
The ogres must contact with the wagons to count as taking them. Ogres cannot overrun wagons, but halt before the wagon to count as securing the loot. They can then move from there next turn, dragging the wagon (or crowd) with them if they wish.
But … this is a campaign game. The players might have different motives. Maybe destruction? Maybe damaging the enemy’s fighting strength in the hope that a later battle will be easier? And although the players might try for the above objectives if they wish, their priority might well be the survival of an effective fighting force, again for next or subsequent turns. Who am I as GM to dictate what they are trying to do? I just adjudicate the game, take the pictures, write the battle report, and gamesmaster the campaign turns, etc.

Rules:
(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Scenario%20Deployment%20for%20Astiano%20Get%20the%20Loot_zpsx5bxd3ne.jpg)
The Ogre deploys in the far corner from the gate section.  If there is insufficient space then the remaining units can arrive in the second or subsequent turns.
The Pavonan fighting forces can deploy anywhere on their half of the table, but as either side’s units are placed, no-one can deploy within 12” of an enemy unit. (First deployment could thus be important – forcing either side back.)
The wagons can be deployed however the player likes, behind the 19” (from the gate) line. This means that one, maybe two, could reach the gate in turn 5, and one, perhaps two in turn 6. As soon as they touch the gate they are removed (counted as having passed through to safety).
The draught horses can be whipped. GM to come up with charts in-game. (See later – yes they were whipped.
The women and children can march move, and are also removed if they touch the gate. Their move rate is 3” (old women, young women burdened with babes and possessions, children, old men). This mob also starts anywhere behind the 19” line.
The ogres cannot besiege the city walls as they have been pelting here at full speed and have not made any ladders to do so. (If they do decide to besiege that would be in the next campaign season turn.)
All other ideas and tactics would be GM’d on the day.

Casualties:
Casualties are recovered as per the ‘drawing armies’ rules. Either side is too focused on the loot to worry about chasing after the enemy, and both sides have lots of opportunities to avoid further fighting (either the defenders getting into the city by another gate or the attackers wandering off to look elsewhere for loot and grub). These rules (see below) mean that the Pavonan player can keep his baggage simply by not letting the ogres capture or destroy it – he does not need to get to the gate. If the ogres haven’t captured it by the end of turn 6, it will be presumed to have got away and gone through some other city gate. Also any refugees or soldiers who are still alive outside the walls will escape back to the city too.

Quote
Drawing armies (i.e. who agree to cease hostilities or cannot fight on for other reasons)
All troops on the table survive. Regain all troops who routed off the table, plus one third of all casualties on the table (rounding down). Lose all casualties from Destroyed units. Dead heroes are recovered on 5+ roll, unless they were “over-killed”. On D6 roll of 5+ recovered characters roll on the Character Injury Chart. Only lose baggage if it was destroyed or captured during the battle.

Battle to Follow
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 10, 2016, 06:54:11 PM
What Happened Outside Astiano
Battle Report, Part Two (Turns 1 and 2)

“They were whipping the draft horses something rotten,” said Aldo. “I could hear the beasts’ braying. Some moved a bit more quickly but others foundered so the wagons got strung out a bit. The women close by had stopped their screaming, but I could still hear the children crying. Then came the first bang and the room filled with dust. My ears went funny, but I managed to get my eyes to work again and I saw one of the hairy monsters was rearing up. I reckon the shot had landed right in front of it, maybe even clipped it.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic12MournfangsBeginAdvance_zpsuaw4i85x.jpg)

“It didn’t slow them down though, and I don’t think the other brutes even noticed.”

“Anyone would notice a cannon shooting at them,” said Fran. “You don’t miss a thing like that. We could hear it from the Via Strogsi.”

Aldo was shaking his head. “You didn’t see the brutes. They had cannons themselves, loads of them. Not on carriages with wheels - they were just carrying them. There were two gangs hefting them. Think about it, if you’re brute enough to carry cannons into battle, you think you’d flinch because one fired from hundreds of yards away?”

Fran said nothing. Aldo knew that all the boys had seen ogres before, even in the city: warehouse guards, bodyguards, and performing in the annual spettacolo. They knew full well the feats of strength the brutes were capable of, even the sort of domesticated ogre who lived among men. Boulderguts’ army was made of the real thing, however, as brutal as they get, from the wild east and beyond. They were surely stronger, tougher, meaner and cruel beyond human measure.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic11OgresFirstMoves_zpstucu4x3d.jpg)

“When the brutes used their cannons it was like thunder rumbling off in the distance. I think they killed some of the handgunners behind the wall around the hut, but it was hard to see which ones were just hiding behind the wall and which had fallen. The Trantian mob kept marching on, and I thought maybe they’re just going to march away, off to another gate, 'cos they were getting really far away from the wagons. The soldiers on the walls were shouting at them, angry words, so I wasn’t the only one who wondered what they were doing.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic10TheMobMoves_zps5t2qkfc4.jpg)

“Then I saw something bright out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look I saw it was coming right at me, a burning ball as big as the sun at midday, and getting bigger. I ducked down as quick as I could to put the stone between me and it, and I still felt the heat wash over my back. It didn’t burn me, 'cos it wasn't really coming at the window - it was aimed at the battlement.”

Tommi was agitated. “That’s when the cannon blew up!”

Aldo shook his head. “No, not then.”

“You just said it was,” insisted Tommi.

“No I didn’t. I just said there was a ball of fire. It hurt the crewmen – I know that ‘cos one of them was screaming. But another was shouting, ‘Cover the budge barrel’ and ‘Douse the carriage’. Then the screaming stopped and the voice said ‘Make her ready’ again.

"When the smoke had cleared a bit, I looked out the window again. The wagons were slowing down now, the horses stumbling. Some women and old men had fallen down and were being dragged up by the others. I could hear a strange chanting from the wall at the side of the chamber, then another voice almost the same from the other side, and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was the wizards, it had to be. They were conjuring up magic and it made me feel dizzy, but I had the window to hold onto so I watched to see what would happen.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic9Governor_zpsq1ijiv0x.jpg)

“When the chanting stopped, at first nothing seemed to happen. Then I saw it. The giant bull monsters, which had moved ahead of the other brutes, were slowing down, and the foot were catching up to them. I knew it was the magic that had done it because the brutes on their backs were thrashing the reins and beating at the heads, but the breasts were stumbling as bad as the horses on the wagons; not just the one that had reared up at the roundshot, but all three of them.

“Just when I thought they really were leaving, the Trantian mob turned, swinging around to face the enemy. I think they wanted to get at the brutes from the side, to lure them off from the wagons and the womenfolk. Way up ahead the little line of handgunners fired again, but the sound of it was nothing compared to the blast of the brute’s handcannons.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic13TheMobTurns_zpsmlhv0068.jpg)

“It really looked like the wagons had a chance now, if the horses could be kept on their feet and pulling …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic14HurryUp_zpskdw4l7rr.jpg)

“… but they were so slow it was horrible to watch. When the gun above me went off again it made my head feel like bursting and it started my ears a ringing. I had to rub my eyes hard to make them work this time, and now I saw one of the monstrous-bulls on the ground.”

Vitty was nodding. “Yes, yes! They killed it. I saw its corpse from the wall after the battle when I took wine up to the men on the wall, umpteen crows a-feasting on it.”

“It was the cannon," agreed Aldo. "I thought the crew would start cheering but I couldn’t hear a thing. Maybe they did? Maybe they couldn’t hear it themselves? I went back to watching and I saw the handgunners  running away. They weren’t cowards, no way – they'd been up closer than anyone else – they just knew staying up there was stupid.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic15HandGunFlee_zpsdzcbvuqe.jpg)

“But they’d left it too late ‘cos a bunch of brutes in the middle of the line, the closest to them, were running too and they came on so much faster than the men. When the brutes caught up with them they just ran right on, right over them, the handgunners disappearing underneath. Then the brutes stopped, like they wanted to take a breath or two and have a look around.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic18BouldergutsAndGang_zpsx3nyeez7.jpg)

“Those ones looked meaner than all the others. They had the biggest weapons, swords bigger than the sails on a windmill, and a hammer that looked like it could smash the city walls down.”

“Could it?” asked Vitty, tears welling in his eyes.

Aldo expected to hear Tommi or Fran laugh but they didn’t. They were looking at him just as intently as Vitty.

“I dunno," said Aldo. "Maybe. But the brute carrying it would get stuck with hundred bolts if he tried.” This seemed to reassure Vitty somewhat. “The rest of brutes were someway behind this front lot now, all bunched up, getting in each other’s way.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic16GetOutTheWay_zpsgwwffisq.jpg)

“The Trantian mob were now the closest to them. They didn’t charge though, they just stood there, waving their weapons around. They didn’t have a flag to wave; they didn’t have drums to beat; but they were doing their best to look like they meant business. They had to be brave men, ‘cos there were four brutes in front of them carrying those cannon barrels …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic17NotYet_zpsjaxall5x.jpg)

“… and they hadn't fired them yet!”
 
…………………………………………
Game Notes (end of turn 2):

When the Pavonan player whipped the draught horses, I made up a quick D6 chart favouring an increase in speed but with the possibility of hurting the horses too much. Two wagons went 2” faster, one went 1” slower. I had warned the player that next turn there would be another chart to reflect the consequences of this potentially cruel treatment, and that if the whipping continued there would be an even more potentially harmful chart. When the whipping stopped second turn, the player nevertheless rolled badly for all three wagons and they moved 2” instead of 4”. Overall, he had gained nothing, in fact one had fallen behind where it would otherwise have been.

In turn one, when the Firebelly ogre cast his fireball spell at the cannon, he miscast and went down to level one, losing the spell in question. (This was a sign of things to come.)

In turn two I got really excited when the Mournfang unit failed its first panic test, but it passed its second (12” from standard) and the drama was not to be.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on January 17, 2016, 04:59:53 PM
What Happened Outside Astiano
Battle Report, Part Three (Turns 3-6)

“The Trantian mob now went straight towards the brutes with the cannons.  Not running, just walking. The big fella was shouting but they were too far away for me to know what he was saying, even if my ears hadn’t been ringing so bad. They kept together, packed tight, and there were so many of them I thought maybe they could beat the brutes.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic19BringEmThisWay_zpsqinplei1.jpg)
 
“The women were close to the gate now - a few more steps and they’d be through. Some soldiers on the wall were shouting, ‘Hurry up,’ and stuff like that. I wondered if there was a prayer I could say to help them, but all I could think of was my Morrite prayers and it didn’t seem right praying for their souls like they were about to die. Then I heard a clackety sound - the Pavonans below the window were cranking the weird engine. One of the crew poured powder into a funnel and another blew ashes off a matchcord on a linstock. They were going to shoot it.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic20NearlyThere_zpsznymi8jo.jpg)

“I wondered if it would be louder than the cannon, what with all them barrels, but it was outside not overhead, and besides my ears were already ringing so bad I doubted it could hurt them much more. The wagoneers were whipping more cruelly than ever– there was blood on the horses’ hides. “Another boom sent my head a-spinning again. When I looked out to see if it was the engine below there was no smoke and the crew were hopping about, agitated. I think it was broken, ‘cos they hefted it up and dragged it towards the gate, getting right in the women’s way. The boom must’ve come from the cannon on top, but when I looked I couldn’t see where their shot had gone.

“The ogres were really close now …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic22UsCloseThemClose_zpstqxucelb.jpg)
 
“… and the ones near the Trantian mob laid into them. It was horrible. I saw two men hurled through the air like nothing more than dolls - they hit the ground and didn’t move after that. One of the cannons went off right in their midst, which send more spinning out the back, and others staggering out like drunk men. None of the brutes fell, and in a moment the Trantians were running. The brutes went after them, their blood up. If it weren’t for their heavy iron burdens they would’ve caught them and killed more, but the Trantians outran them back towards the wall.

“The hairy bull monsters were close too. They had umpteen horns on their heads and their mouths looked like the gargoyles on the Church of Santo Anredo the Furtive. If my ears had been working I bet I could have heard them snorting. The brutes on their backs were riding so high I wondered what tricks they used to get up there.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic23NowThereWereTwo_zpsaia3e7e5.jpg)

“Then it happened,” said Aldo, before going silent. He covered his face with his hands, and even though that meant they could not see it, the other boys knew he was scrunching it up.

Vitty put his hand on Aldo’s shoulder. “It’s alright,” he said. “You don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to.”

“No,” said Tommi. “He does have to tell us. He said he would.”

Aldo wasn’t really listening to the boys, but he did notice they had stopped talking. He steeled himself and the words began once more. “There was smoke coming up from under the window, and I thought maybe the weird engine was on fire. I was wrong. The smoke was coming from the crowd of Trantian women and children. It was as if someone had dug a fire pit all around them, set it alight and then dumped damp straw on it to make thick, white, heavy smoke. They stopped, wide eyed, like they didn’t know what to do. It all happened fast, I know that now, but it felt horribly drawn out. Sparks flickered in the smoke, then changed into flashing veins.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic24SmokeThenFire_zpsm8qlrtq0.jpg)

“I think the soldiers on the walls were shouting again, because some of the children looked up. One of them saw me. He didn’t look frightened, just bewildered, and he waved at me! Before I could wave back the smoke itself burst into flames, becoming a wall of fire. Even at the window it felt like a torch being held a foot from my face, but I had to keep looking. If I’d been down on the ground it would have been bad enough, knowing the women were inside that burning wall. Being above them, I could see them all. A few of those on the outside began screaming, batting and patting at the flames on their skirts and cloaks, or on other people’s clothes, and this made the others push inwards, forcing themselves backwards even though some fell underneath their feet. They were crammed together, trying to push past each other. It took them a moment for them to realise the fire was all around, not just on one side. The Pavonans pulling the engine just carried on. They were right beside the horror, yet still kept dragging their burden, even when some of the women tried to run through the flames and came out ablaze, collapsing beside the soldiers. Then the gun disappeared under the window, through the outer gate, so I went over to the grate on the murder hole and looked down to see it below. I could hear the sounds coming up through the hole in the stone, even with my bad ears. Someone shouted, ‘It’s in!’ and then I heard the clang of the outer gates shutting.” (Aldo was shaking his head as he spoke.) “I couldn’t get my head around it. The wagons were still outside, the women and children, and so close. I thought it had to be some clever trick. But it wasn’t, and I knew it because the walls went quiet, and the men down below the hole stopped moving altogether. None of the soldiers were shouting any more. They’d closed the gates and weren’t planning on opening them again.”

Fran’s face screwed into an angry frown. “So they decided to save the gun and not the people?”

Aldo nodded. “The Trantians were frantic, umpteen were already trampled, then they lurched all of a sudden to one side, which turned into a running leap through the fire and out the other side, where they fell, writhing and burning. Only two got past the mess of dying folk, a small boy and a man with his arm in a sling. I don’t know why they were so lucky.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic25FewSurvivors_zpsompzvr8s.jpg)
 
“Outside the brutes had caught up with the wagons.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic26GotIt_zpsfzdw5e3b.jpg)

“They swatted the wagoners aside and even though the cannon sent a ball right into them and the crossbowmen on the walls showered bolts down, felling three of them, they just turned the wagons around and began lugging them away, as if they cared nothing for the shooting. I saw one who was dragging a dead wagoner by the leg turn around to come back and grab one of the dead women by the hair. He dragged them both away, the bodies jolting along behind him, the woman smoking, with three bolts hanging from his back and others in his belly.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic27AndOff_zpsmykqxqt1.jpg)

“The smell was bad, like burning hair, and then there was another stink like brimstone, and flames curled through the window from above. A burning man fell right past, without a sound. I knew something bad was happening, and I wanted to get out the tower, but as soon as I went towards the steps there was a massive boom, more than one I think, and the whole tower shook, and it knocked me to the ground. I don’t know how long I was down, but when I got back up I went to over the window – I don’t know if I knew what I was doing. It was like a dream. I couldn’t hear a thing now, but I could see. Outside the brutes were moving away, but one of them had stopped and turned. He was covered in paint, or tattoos, and he had some sort of mask on his face. He was dancing, his arms up in the air, and then he suddenly jerked to one side and … disappeared! He was gone, like he had jumped through a door. But there was no door.”

The other boys were all staring intently at Aldo. Vitty’s mouth was hanging open, while Tommi had has hands locked behind his head like he was holding it in place. Talking about it brought back the crazy feeling Aldo had felt at the time, and he now had to stifle a giddy sort of sob. He did not entirely succeed.

“That’s when I went up to see what had happened to the cannon. Like I said, it was like a dream and everything felt unreal. The cannon was there, all burned, and the crew were there, still burning, and the smell was worse than ever. So I said sorry, and went back down again. Back at the window I could see that the brutes who weren’t stealing the Trantian wagons were standing their ground, shooting handgun sized pistols and their carriage-less cannons at the walls.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/AstPic28BlastAway_zpsqdfoii4r.jpg)

“Shots pinged at the stone around the window time and again. The flecks of stone kept stinging me.” As he spoke Vitty reached out at touched one of the scratches upon his cheek. Aldo didn’t notice. “They shot again and again,” he continued, “and the men on the walls sent crossbow bolts raining back at them. Twice I saw flaming balls streak out from the wall and splash into the brutes.

“And then all of a sudden the brutes just upped and left. I couldn’t hear what was going on on the walls but then one of the soldiers appeared at the door. He looked right at me, so I jumped over to the stairs and ran down.”

“Did he chase you?” asked Vitty.

“No. He was too busy,” said Aldo.

“What’ya mean, ‘busy’?”

“Spewing his guts up!” answered Aldo.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Game Notes:
Three times Pit of Shades was cast on the ogre Tyrant and his unit. Twice it was dispelled but once it was successful. If the player (Jamie) had failed his test his own player character (Razger Boulderguts himself) would have been lost. The death of a player’s own PC always causes difficulties in my campaigns, in that the player then usually ends up getting a new character, who isn’t necessarily in charge, or, if they are, has a bunch of problems to contend with as a consequence of the previous character dying.  The exact nature of the problems and difficulties to overcome depends on the circumstances and all sorts. (NB: The boy Aldo, our NPC eyewitness in the above story, didn’t notice the failed Pit of Shade spells (of course), but nor did he notice the successful one either – when that one occured he was going up the steps to see what had happened to the cannon up top.)

The description of the burning crowd of Trantian women was my ‘take’ on the fulminating flame cage spell the firebelly ogre wizard was using. I know the 8th ed. book describes rods of fire shooting out and forming a cage, but (and I do know it is silly to say this) that sounded silly to me! So I turned it into a wreath of smoke manifesting around the unit which then transformed into fire – which just happened to fit the photo of the cotton wool we used to represent the spell on the tabletop.

And yes, it does sound very cruel of the Pavonans to close the gate on the Trantian civilians and let all that horrible stuff happen to them but … the player (Matt) had his competition wargame campaign head on, filled with considerations of points and strategies etc. He always looks at the game this way, which is why his game-world alter ego seems aloof and heartless, which is why I describe him as aloof and heartless. The Trantian women were worth 0.5 Supply Points to him, a value which could be turned into 100 pts of troops. BUT, the helblaster was worth more. So when it misfired he cut his losses and dragged that in.  Then he closed the gate to ensure that there was no way this game would turn into an invasion into the city by the ogres. If they got in that would likely mean he lost the whole city plus all his forces there, and right now.

You might wonder why he played things in such a way that the wagons and men didn’t even have much of a chance to get in. He chose to place virtually all his fighting strength inside the walls (bar the handgunners, technically a detachment but house-ruled as allowed to be out at the hut, and the Trantian mob). The Trantian mob, however, cost him nothing – they weren’t part of his forces, and they weren’t carrying any Supply Points (unlike the crowd of women), and he couldn’t use them as soldiers at any other time, so he used them disposably. The wagons were worth 1.5 Supply Points altogether, but if he tried to protect them by having troops outside the walls the potential losses to his own forces would be much more expensive. Why save 2 Supply Points of loot (etc) from Trantio by losing more than 2 Supply Points worth of troops?

I think the following summary information should shed some light on who came out of this squabble best.

After calculating recovery of troops according to the campaign rules the Pavonan player had lost their 2 Supply Points (worth 400 points of troops) as well as 230 points of troops. So, 630 points down on the start of the game. The ogres had gained 1.5 Supply Points (worth 300 points of troops) but had lost about 500 points doing so (including their Firebelly wizard and one of their Mournfangs). So they were technically 200 points down on the start of the game.

BUT the ogres are a long way from home, and they cannot turn the 1.5 Supply Points into reinforcements unless it is at one of their settlements. They can consume it as ‘upkeep’ (a game mechanic to keep troops existing supplied in the field) but their field strength is effectively down by 500 points, whereas the Pavonan player managed to save the bulk of his Trantian garrison soldiers (crossbow, two wizards, helblaster) and still has the Astianan pike militia. He also still has Astiano.

Who now has or can gain the upper hand really does depend on what happens next, and depends upon proximity of reinforcements and relief, as well as other strategic considerations. Razger Boulderguts’ force has been noticeably weakened, and his mercenaries ‘Mangler’s Band’ whereabouts are unknown (well, to everyone else, possibly not to him), whereas if you don’t count the loss of Trantio (which was possibly un-saveable) the Pavonans have lost only a cannon, 6 handgunners and 6 crossbowmen, and the first two of those were part of a standing force and so could not have served in a field army.

So, tactically, sacrificing the wagons and women while chipping at the ogres’ fighting strength could have been a sensible move. However, Matt is going to have to employ considerable political and diplomatic savvy if he doesn’t want the Pavonans to get a reputation for being cruel and heartless. I suppose he is lucky that his own player character, Duke Guidobaldo, was not present. Then again, it is possible he doesn’t care about gaining such a reputation – fear can be a useful strategic weapon too!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Zygmund on January 18, 2016, 04:09:13 PM
Who now has or can gain the upper hand really -- -- depends upon proximity of reinforcements and relief, as well as other strategic considerations.

A proper Kriegspiel you've got there!

Always enjoying the read.  :-)

-Z
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on January 18, 2016, 08:47:33 PM
Who now has or can gain the upper hand really -- -- depends upon proximity of reinforcements and relief, as well as other strategic considerations.

A proper Kriegspiel you've got there!

Always enjoying the read.  :-)

-Z

I second that! :smile2:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 11, 2016, 06:41:15 PM
Thank you Xath and Zyg!
...
Morr Divided
Viadaza, early Autumn, IC 2402

At first, Biagino had not thought it unusual that a fellow priest should wish to speak with him in private. When he discovered it was to be a secret rendezvous with a Pavonan priest by the ancient ruins at the side of Lago di Scandarro, that did strike him as odd. Perhaps it was the young messenger carrying the invitation who stirred up his suspicions? Although the lad had looked like a gangly novitiate, barely able to stand still for more than a moment, he was tonsured and wore a cassock so he must at least have made his temporary vows. The purportedly schismatic Pavonan church had less strict requirements concerning the age at which priesthood could be bestowed. In the days of the Trantian Sagranalian sect there had been a veritable army of boy-novitiates. Biagino had heard it said on several occasions that the Pavonan schism was an off-shoot of old Father Sagrannalo’s theology, of a kind that fortuitously permitted the noble and rich not only to remain in power, even fortifying that power. The giddy boy-priest made him wonder whether this meeting was an attempt to draw him into some radical Pavonan design. 

Of course, he let none of this dissuade him. Considering all he had experienced, to now shy away from merely speaking with a fellow clergyman, even in secret, seemed ridiculous. If the priest had bad intentions, then it was best that Biagino learned of it; and if the man proved to be a true servant of Morr, then that certainly required his attention. Either way, he must play along.

It was late afternoon when Biagino approached the tumbledown temple. All was calm, the lake waters adding to the peacefulness. Were he still a boy the chance to sit by the water’s edge and skim stones would have been irresistible. The only urge that vaguely tugged at him now was to take advantage of the quiet, to lie down and sleep. That would mean dreaming, however, which for him was not at all restful, for in sleep his mind ran fast and deep into realms different in both time and place, there to reveal horrors. The urge to rest was a remnant of his youth - no longer an activity his to enjoy.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MorrDivided1_zpskr3aejwi.jpg)

There were four men waiting. The priest who had invited him, Father Claudio, was immediately obvious: a large man of many chins, clothed in a grey, course, woollen cassock, yet so well fed that he was likely to be a priest of some authority, standing ahead of the others and elevated a little by the lie of the ground. There was also boy-brother Biagino had already met, while the other two were either lay-brothers, flagellant-dedicates, or some admixture of both. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MorrDivided2_zpst1fnnnxm.jpg)

The boy-brother carried an axe, more tool than weapon, held in such a way that it was clearly intended as the latter. One of the dedicates had a very vicious looking, barbed mace, and a lit torch in his other hand. It was not yet dark, so why the fire Biagino struggled to guess. (Had they made their way here through some underground tunnel? Were they intending to burn something, or scare wild animals away? Neither theory seemed likely.) The other dedicate lurched drunkenly, his arm extended as if to steady himself against some unseen support. It occurred to Biagino that the man’s condition might be due to over-exuberance in his self-administered punishments – a common cause of injury or worse in flagellants.

Father Claudio had apparently been engaged in prayer as Biagino arrived, and now gestured the conclusion of his prayers by bringing his hands together. “Good day to you, Brother Biagino,” he said. “Holiest Morr protect and guide you and yours. Are you alone?”

“There’s just me, brother,” Biagino answered cheerfully. “Why, were you expecting others?”

Father Claudio simply smiled, shaking his head so that his jowls wobbled. “You have the ear of the arch-lector, yes?”

Biagino had expected this, just not so soon.  Ever since the raising of the Viadazan crusade army he had received appeals, requests and entreaties of all varieties, to be passed on to those in power, whether that be military, secular or clerical. It was rare that petitioners were so abrupt, however. He chose not to answer and instead asked, “You’ve come from Trantio?”

“Sadly, yes, we have,” said Father Claudio. “A terrible thing, the fall of such a great city to plundering brutes. It greatly shames Tilea that such can happen, yes.”

Biagino wanted to ask, ‘Was it much worse than the fall of the city to the Pavonans?’. Instead he said, “There are wicked foes all about. This is not an easy time for Tilea. Yet Khurnag’s Waagh has been defeated in the south, and the vampires in the north now face our holy army, having already lost a battle. If the princes in between would stop squabbling amongst themselves and deal with this Razger Boulderguts then all would be put right again.”

“Squabbling? Ah, hasn’t it always been thus - the way of things in Tilea, yes? The goddess would diminish to nothing if it were not so. Yet it is one thing for Tileans to wrestle over matters of honour and revenge; another thing entirely for orc, vampire and ogre to loot, burn and murder. Our Duke Guidobaldo knows full well when it is time to put aside territorial disputes and slights against his family and his people, and instead make a stand against evil.”

The duke certainly took his time to come to this realisation, thought Biagino. “It is a great shame that the realm of Trantio had to fall, not once but twice, and the second time to be left abandoned and ruined. Where have its people gone?”

Father Claudio gave no indication that he recognised any implied criticism. “Those who did not perish fled – some south to Astiano, some west to Remas, and some – as you can see – north to Viadaza.”

“Come to join our holy war against the undead?”

“Come to ask the arch-lector to recognise the war is now made larger, and that he cannot leave central Tilea to its fate while he completes his vow to destroy the vampires in the north. To do so would be folly, yes, for there would be no home for his victorious holy army to return to, nothing left of what they are trying to defend.”

“So you want me to ask the arch-lector to commit forces to fight against the ogres?”

“He must. Not to do so would be folly.”

Biagino began to wonder whether Father Claudio was working entirely on his own initiative, as his words and the Duke’s actions did not sit well together. “But the duke himself has ordered that his son and the Pavonans force he commands continue in the service of the holy army of Morr.”

“As is only proper,” replied Father Claudio, “for Duke Guidobaldo is Morr’s truest servant, and his son has made a holy vow. The arch-lector has other forces, however: his garrison at Remas, a whole army of mercenary Arabyans already bound to his service, and plenty more mercenaries available for employment. My lord will do all he can to defeat Razger, that goes without saying, yes, but if his strength should prove insufficient it is not only Trantio and Pavona that will suffer. Boulderguts cannot be ignored by Remas, nor can the fight against him be delayed, whether that be until the war in the north is won, or until Razger is before the walls of Remas.”

“The arch-lector is guided by holy Morr,” said Biagino, “divinely inspired to know when and how best to act ...”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MorrDivided4_zpsnwyd29nc.jpg)

“… Yet you are right, he cannot know the desires of Tilean princes unless he is made aware of them. Holy Morr concerns himself with the fight against the undead, guiding us securely to his garden so that we may rest undisturbed for all eternity. To him it matters not when our end comes, only that we do not succumb to evil after our death. It is for us, his priests, to concern ourselves with the living, for we ourselves are living and cannot do otherwise. Yet it is not right to hasten our own end, for Morr wishes to take us when he is ready, not when the servants of foul gods’ desire our deaths.”

Father Claudio chortled. “I thank you for your sermon, brother, but I too am cognizant of the church’s teachings.”

The torch bearer raised his arm a little causing the flame to sputter audibly. His eyes were glaring, sunk deep into his face like that of a starving man, yet his bare arms revealed muscles a-plenty. “When Morr tests us,” declared the man in a Trantian accent, “it is no easy thing. He doesn’t play with us, tickle us, tease us, like a loving mother would her infant child. He teaches us through suffering. We become strong through those trials, and so ready to thwart any necromantic curse upon our death. The undead are the enemy, Razger’s ogres are the test. To fight both is not easy because to serve Morr is not easy.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MorrDivided5_zpsaapzozd3.jpg)

Biagino now knew for certain the man was a flagellant-dedicate, for his words contained the mantra of such creatures. Besides, only someone filled with an agonising commitment to Morr would fail to baulk at interrupting the conversation of two senior priests. He was probably a captain amongst the flagellants.

“My companion Brizzio knows the truth of it,” said Father Claudio. “It is scarred into his flesh. We must indeed fight both undead and ogres. If we fail against the ogres then Tilea is burned, the dead are unguarded, and the vampires will work their evil more easily, raising wicked legion after legion of to serve them. The fall of Trantio is most assuredly a sign of Morr’s displeasure. It is clear now that our lord’s removal of the tyrant prince was not punishment enough for the people of Trantio, and that Morr saw fit to allow the city to fall completely, despite our worthy attempts to cleanse it. All Tileans must work together to prove to Morr that they are indeed deserving of his love. We cannot rely on Morr's promises without obeying his commands, nor can we expect to enter his garden without accepting his wrath. You must surely recognise, yes, that Morr is not merely the king of gods but the god of gods? If the lesser gods think to test us, how much moreso the god of gods?”

Biagino looked at each of them. One dedicate with his crazed expression, the other reeling unsteadily, the boy-priest hopping from foot to foot as if upon a hot griddle, and Father Claudio staring down at him like a disapproving teacher. These were indeed disciples of Pavonan schism, Claudio had openly admitted it. They were strange in their belief as well as their ways. Of course, he wasn’t going to tell them this. Not when he was here alone, unarmed apart from his hidden stiletto. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MorrDivided3_zps5bnocnoo.jpg)

“Your request would be taken more seriously if presented formally and with proof of Duke Guidobaldo’s agreement,” Biagino advised. And if you and your companions were not schismatic fools, he thought.

Father Claudio nodded. “That can be done, yes. I shall speak with Lord Silvano for he knows his father’s wishes. If he knew also that the arch-lector was likely to listen, then he himself would present our case.”

Biagino now wondered who it was had most likely sent these men to speak to him. The young Lord Silvano had not shown his face at the army’s councils since the trial of his men for their ill-disciplined attack against the Campogrottan ogres. It had been supposed that he was wracked with indecision concerning whether to leave and return southwards or stay with the holy army of Morr. Perhaps instead it had been the youthful embarrassment at having to admit that he had lost control of his troops, while that they had lured him away so that they could do what they desired? Mind you, knowing the boy’s family, it might instead be that he was annoyed at himself for not having given the order for the assassinations. And if neither of these, then it could be a matter of pride – the need to know his request will be taken seriously rather than risk being shamed by a brusque refusal. Whatever the truth, it seemed likely these men had been tasked with obtaining an invitation from the arch-lector to attend upon him, thus saving the boy’s face, and allowing him to present his father’s wishes.

Taking leave of the party, Biagino returned the way he had come. He decided that Lord Silvano's inexperience must be to blame for the bizarre and round-about method employed to gain an audience with the arch-lector, if indeed that is what it was. It also occurred to him that the arch-lector, the very definition of experience, should perhaps have recognised the need to reassure Polcario that his presence was still desired at the council table. Once he began to ponder the request to assist the fight against the ogres, however, any clarity he was feeling slipped away to be replaced with a heady concoction of doubts, fears and frustrations, riddled with images from half-remembered, and less than half-comprehended, dreams. Was this the time, as Tilea faced doom at the hands of vampires and ogres, to pander to schismatics? Could this be a gangrenous rot growing at the core of the Tilean church of Morr? Was this the beginning of the end of the joint-rule of the lawful gods in Tilea?

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on February 15, 2016, 08:57:08 AM
That terrain back in the background is great. How did you managed to do the blue sky? Some fabric? As usual, great stuff! :eusa_clap:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 15, 2016, 09:40:48 AM
Thanks Xath. The blue sky is a big piece of card - I have two blue shades and a star field. Very amateur but works most of the time. This card looks a bit creased in the photos above (which I didn't notice until now) so I might not use it again.

I'm a bit embarrassed just now 'cos I've done some pictures for the next little story piece and they seem to have come out well, but I used a new technique of scattering flock to hide the bases and the black edges I put on all my bases for some crazy reason. After the photo I just swept the flock back up into the pot. Quick and easy. The embarrassment is due to not having worked out this technique before. All those campaigns, all those thousands of photos, and I've never thought of this really simple technique.

Also I just noticed this week for the first time that my eyes might be growing older as I am noticing detail in photos I can't see when painting. I've always had great close up vision but was a little short sighted. Now, maybe, I am of an age where the near vision starts to fail too!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 18, 2016, 04:52:22 PM
Capitano di Ventura
Estalia, east of Solsona, at the western mouth of the Tramoto Pass

Ottaviano found himself pleased and thankful to be wearing the Compagnia’s livery once more. He could see Baccio was experiencing a similar satisfaction. The two of them now had a purpose beyond mere survival, a chance to prosper and the security afforded by an army of comrades. The wine was good too.

Their journey from Tilea had not been easy, nor pleasant, and their first weeks in Estalia were a time of hunger and doubt. When they finally found the Compagnia del Sol they cursed their ill-luck, for had they taken the Tramoto Pass instead of the sea route to Almagora they would have walked straight into their comrades’ arms as soon as they entered Estalia. But they were so happy to have arrived, to be made so welcome, that they put their troubles behind them.

Having delivered the letter they carried, and briefly sworn themselves into Capitano Bruno Mazallini’s service, the pair of them were permitted to sleep long enough to take the edge off the pain in their aching legs. Upon waking they were summoned to an examination by the capitano and his marshal Luigi Esposito. It was an unusually warm afternoon for autumn, so the meeting took place at an open air table at the edge of the camp with the foothills of the Abasko Mountains looming in the distance.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp1_zpsh60menmh.jpg)

The capitano di ventura had spent the morning hawking, and was still fussing over his bird when they presented themselves. With a simple gesture and the word ‘Please’ he invited Ottaviano and Baccio to partake of the wine and fruit on the table. Serving themselves they drank deeply of the sweet, spiced Borgas, then Ottaviano noticed Baccio staring at the banner mounted behind the capitano - the Leon de Oro of Almagora. Technically the Compagnia were still in Almagora’s employ, having dealt with the last of the rebellious senors in Solsona, and now entering the last three weeks of the additional ‘ad beneplacitum’ term of their service. Ottaviano decided it was very unlikely that the Compagnia would, or even could, be ordered upon some further enterprise, which was probably why, having pursued the remnant rebels along the Tobaro road towards the Tramoto Pass, they had halted. From here they could make a relatively quick return to Tilea as soon as it was honourable, and had indeed already sent chancellors to secure transport from Tobaro eastwards across the Tilean sea.

“We read your letter,” said the capitano, still admiring the hawk. “Did you know of its contents?”

“We knew only what we were told it contained,” answered Ottaviano. The letter had been sealed with a particularly stubborn wax of dwarven making, and although Baccio had picked at it upon several occasions, Ottaviano had managed to stop him before he broke it.

“And you were told what?” asked the capitano, finally turning to look at the two of them and balling his fists to lean on the table.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp4_zpsj79wezu8.jpg)

“A dwarf called Boldshin gave it to us in Remas, after he had spoken with us at some length. It was plain he wanted to ensure we were what we said we were and that we were going where we said we were going. He claimed to served Tilean dwarven interests and that the letter was an offer of contract, well paid and well worth consideration.”

“He didn’t lie,” said the capitano. “It seems when you stir up some dwarfen bankers and miners, then add a very wealthy Bretonnian baron, you get a very tempting dish indeed.” He turned to address Baccio directly. “Tell me more about this Boldshin.”

The hawk suddenly squawked, almost as if the name meant something to him. The capitano turned to shush the bird. It settled quickly, so he settled his eyes on Baccio.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp9_zpsw8e91du0.jpg)

“Erm … a dwarf’s a dwarf,” said Baccio hesitantly. “Long beard – very long – brownish. He didn’t look old, not for a dwarf anyway. Had gold on his fingers and a mean looking guard with him. Talkative, with a Tilean accent. Not a mountain dwarf, but moneylender I reckon.”

“If you weren’t liveried, how did he know you were Compagnia men?” asked the capitano.

“I can’t say for sure,” Baccio answered. “Well, we did tell him, but that was after he’d spoken with us for some time. Maybe he was talking to everyone at the docks, until he found what he wanted with us?”

The Capitano frowned. “So he told everyone he was trying to get a letter to us?”

Ottaviano shook his head and jumped in before Baccio could answer. “No, capitano, I don’t think so. We weren’t keeping it secret that we were Compagnia men, not in Remas. He most likely just asked around and got pointed our way.”

“We heard a story,” said Marshal Luigi, “that the Compagnia were blamed for the death of a high ranking Reman priest. How come the Remans didn’t set upon you?”

“I don’t think the Remans believe that story,” said Ottaviano. “It was put about by Pavonans, giving them a reason to hunt down and kill as many of us as they could …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp7_zpshjxn9cou.jpg)

“… Most Remans think the Pavonan duke makes up reasons to justify his actions; that the truth has little to do with it.”

“The Pavonans are not to be trusted,” Baccio chipped in. “Everyone knows they are liars.”

A muttered agreement came from the little knot of men standing nearby: a guard, a drummer and a sergeant. The capitano glanced at them and they fell silent.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp3_zps87tn12sg.jpg)
“It seems we must tread carefully then,” the capitano declared. “Especially considering Duke Guidobaldo might well be our next employer.” He let that notion sink in for a moment, before explaining, “Apparently, he has invited other city states to join with him to hire us.”

Ottaviano had neither known nor expected this - he and Baccio had not exactly been moving in the same high circles as the Estalian Compagnia’s chancellors – but it made some sense. “I did hear that Renzelli’s Compagnia men are already in Duke Guidobaldo’s service,” he said. “They weren’t at the Battle of the Princes, being garrisoned at Trantio. Despite the Pavonan’s hatred of the Compagnia, wily old Renzelli must have convinced them that he could be trusted, and that two companies of mercenary crossbows would be of good use.”

“We’d heard that too” said the marshall, his armour clattering as he shifted his stance. “Which was why we took the stories about the Pavonan hatred with a pinch of salt.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp8_zpspldorupl.jpg)

“With respect, Marshal,” said Ottaviano, “Renzelli’s hiring was most likely simply pragmatism on both parties’ parts. Duke Guidobaldo needed a garrison for his newly conquered city, and Renzelli needed to live.”

Baccio sniffed loudly. Staring at his cup he said, “There is no doubt about what the Pavonans did. After the Battle of the Princes they hunted our boys down with deadly purpose in mind. Ottaviano and I were lucky, but many weren’t. I saw Ruggero’s head mounted on a stake like a common criminal. He was a soldier’s soldier …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp6_zpsvv7glned.jpg)

“… A lot of men died who did not need nor deserve to die. And as for our boys killing a Reman priest, that’s a lie. I said it then and I say it now, it makes no sense. If they wanted to rob him then they’d knock him down and tie him up. No-one kills a Morrite priest before his time. It’s a double insult against Morr.”

“If it was a lie, then they chose the wrong people to lie about,” declared the marshal.

“Let’s not make threats until we know what is best for us,” ordered the capitano. “Remember that General Fortebraccio did not command us, nor did we owe him any allegiance. Even before we parted he was not our commander. The simple truth is that he went his way and we went ours and the Compagnia was divided. All we shared was our past, and the name we went by. I mean no offence to you two gentlemen, for I know you played no part in the bitterness that divided the company, but Fortebraccio’s men were not our brothers-in-arms and it is not to be presumed that we should want vengeance for what was done to them.”

A silence fell over the company. No-one was going to argue. They were all mercenaries, not retinue men. They did not fight for vengeance or honour, but for pay and plunder.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EstComp5_zpsygj5bo9z.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 20, 2016, 07:50:02 AM
So, I have to ask ... Was that last story any good? l need to know whether I should put the same amount of work (ie lots) into the next one. The campaign will go on, definitely, but the issue is whether I should be investing so much time in the 'extras' like these background stories.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: S.O.F on February 20, 2016, 02:07:46 PM
I quite liked it. I mean if you enjoy doing them even with the work then please do continue but if they feel more a chore its perfectly understandable to cut them.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Zygmund on February 20, 2016, 03:13:45 PM
If it depended on me alone, I'd say YES!  :::cheers:::

-Z
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Von Trinkenessen on February 21, 2016, 06:35:06 PM
Padre thanks for the link, your as mad as me ,well done . :biggriin:
Love what you've done with some of the non GW figs and the sourcing of kit and characters  :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap:.
My complements Sir , you are a veritable painting machine!!!
Regards
Guy
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on February 21, 2016, 10:46:29 PM
Thanks for the comments. Zygmund's cheered me up and Von Trinkenessen's made me not feel mad! Well, yes ... mad, but not alone in my madness.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on February 22, 2016, 01:11:40 AM
It worked for me.  It set alittle more of the backround info regarding why there is more than one Company of Sol.  I also liked the one regarding the meeting of priets, too.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Von Kurst on February 22, 2016, 01:54:49 AM
I love all of this stuff.  Don't post often, but still reading.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Warlord on April 23, 2016, 03:24:42 AM
Padre,

I love your story driven campaign, and beautiful photos.
I would love to do something like this at one point, but I don't have enough friends that game nearby anymore.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on April 23, 2016, 07:37:40 AM
Thanks for your comments, GP, VK and Warlord.

It does seem to be, Warlord, a hobby of diminishing circles when it comes to players, for various reasons (all the usual RW responsibilities and cirumstances). And ever smaller numbers of chances to play. But this is me clinging on.

I have 6 players. Two live in a small city about 10 miles away (Jan Valckenburgh of the VMC and Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore); two live in a big town 32 miles away (the vampire Duchess Matria and the ogre tyrant Razger Boulderguts); one in my own village (Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona) and one 320 miles away (the Reman arch-lector)!

I feel a bit guilty about the last player being so far away as I said to a couple of interested people here on the forum that we were only going to involve players who were geographically close enough to meet up for games! But this long distance player was a necessity brought about by another player never quite settling in. This player's inability to join us at the table-top is not too much of a problem, though, as he plays the arch-lector of Remas, Calictus II, ruling his city state (and theoretically the church) politically, and although his character has been present on the field of battle as a model on the gaming table, he is not the field commander of his army. We get another campaign player to volunteer to command the army (currently General d'Alessio). Another consequence of this player's geographical separation is that the story posts feature his character more than any other player character - the player like to be involved in that, for him the experience is more like the creation of a story, for consumption by others, than a strategic campaign. It seems only fair that he thus gets time to do something as an alternative to gaming sessions.

Sometimes 'guest players' join us too, to play NPC armies for one off battles - if they can put up with me stopping to take photos and make notes. I myself command NPC armies too. We're all friends and so there's very rarely rules disagreements involving the ugly circumstance of the GM being a player. The fact that the games are rarely 'balanced' affairs, and that I'm not really a player, helps. And that I'm after a story, not a win. I do, however, have to play to win, obviously, otherwise I'm not role-playing properly.

Most of the other players are focused on the strategic aspect of the campaign, &/or finding reasons to have tabletop battles. This is why the campaign thread can't really involve their characters as protagonists. I can't write what they say or think, and I shouldn't give away their plans etc. Of course I can write what other characters say or think about them - usually through the mouths of NPCs (powerful and minor) from other realms, or occasionally their own subjects and soldiers. I thought this would restrict the writing I could do but it doesn't seem to have done so far. I would love to do some joint writing (as I did with the arch-lector) with any or all of them, but in the meantime I can continue as before. It does mean that the story posts are often off at a tangent - they are rarely focused upon the 'main-powers' in Tilea, or, more accurately, they talk about those main powers rather than actually show them in action. But even this is not over-evident to readers as we see the main powers in action in the battle reports, and I can still write scenes including fairly powerful NPCs (like Maria before she 'turned' (into a vampire and a player), and Prince Girenzo of Trantio (before he died). There are also loads of minor characters I can keep returning to to help me report events, like Father Biagino (who is becoming a more important man as time goes by) and the two mercenaries Ottaviano and Baccio. Some of these even manage to survive a long time, allowing a feeling of continuity to the story. I keep thinking of GoT and the way major characters can suddenly, cruelly, unexpectedly die (like RW history).

There has been a long break in posts recently. Sometimes these delays are simply due to RW distractions, mostly my own. I have been very busy work and family-wise recently. Sometimes games are delayed by the need to find a date that suits both players and me. But most of the time, my own life gets in the way, although I can usually manage painting and scenery making during the busy periods - an hour here and half an hour there - as a form of therapy.

Coincidentally I will be 'moving the campaign on' tonight. Not with a post here, or a game, but actually doing my GM duties with the campaign maps, orders, notes, communications and little army markers. I couldn't do this until I met with the player from my own village (in the pub, of course) which is often the case - I get all that I need from the more distant players, only to be delayed by the fact that an hour or two in the pub with the local player! Well I had my drink on Thursday evening, and now work isn't quite as busy as the last three months and so ... hurray! ... I am having an evening with the campaign. I just have to ensure I don't get sidetracked by campaign scenery or figure painting.

I do not know what tonight's work will result in. Perhaps there will be a battle to arrange? Or more questions to ask players, or messages to send to them? Perhaps I will suddenly discover there's a story I can write, or that I need to shift my painting and modelling projects to something that will be needed sooner?

Why did I indulge myself with this post? Well, Warlord, I thought it might get your mind a-thinking about ways you could, despite your gaming buddy shortage, do 'something like this'. With the death of the official warhammer world, our gaming world needs more things like this.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on April 24, 2016, 03:50:24 AM
I'm thankful for your post.  It is good to share about how to move a campaign like this forward, and at the same time inspire others to do similar things.  Your efforts across the board with this are also appreciated because in a way those who read also live the campaign as it is told even though we aren't participating.

 :icon_cool: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on April 26, 2016, 08:05:44 AM
I'm still here and I'm still loving your work. This is seriosuly one of the most ambitious, WFB-related thing, that I ever saw. :smile2:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Zygmund on April 26, 2016, 08:26:50 AM
Arranging a story-driven campaign is my dream too. It's the noble pinnacle of this hobby.

I've had the privilege to play in one (3-4 players), and that really brought me back to the hobby. My Stirlanders still carry on with my army theme from that campaign. The fluff never dies!

I'm a roleplayer more than a tactical player myself, and I'm GMing mostly campaigns that last for years, with bi-weekly sessions. Have done this for over 20 years now. Roleplaying is easier to arrange, easier to continue from where it left last session, and can be even more story-centric, with a multitude of characters interacting. Living in a metropolitan area helps. I hear gamers are harder to find in smaller towns, but here that sort of development is not felt. There are always more interested gamers than a single campaign fits.

As long as it's fun and not a demanding effort, I think campaign-play is the way to go.

-Z
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 14, 2016, 07:42:40 AM
End of Season 7 (Autumn 2402) General Report, Part One

Holier Than Thou
The City of Viadaza: Outside

The bulk of Gedik Mamidous’ mercenaries had already marched by, an exotic collection of long-robed spearmen, black clad swordsmen carrying curved blades and camel riders. Even though few of those watching had ever before seen such far-southern warriors, the arabyans had taken so long to cross the river that their arrival was not unexpected. Many a campfire conversation had revolved around the fact that this desert army had been brought to a halt so effectively by a river.

“An arab found himself by a river. Seeing a fellow countryman upon the other side he shouted, ‘How do I get to the other side?’ His countryman looked puzzled, and answered, ‘You are on the other side!”

“Why did an arabyan sleep for a month beside a river? To get to the other side.”

After weeks of delay while the mouldering vessels remaining in the city docks were hastily repaired, there were finally boats enough to transport Mamidous’ soldiers, and now they had arrived at the city, observed by those who remained in the camps outside the walls (a not insubstantial number for the stench of undeath had still not quite quit the city) and by those on the walls. Unexpectedly, at the rear of the column, accompanying the baggage of camels and mules, came a company of Tilean mercenaries – the famous Captain Pandolfo da Barbiano’s galloper guns. It seemed Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore had felt very generous indeed when he employed this army to aid in the arch-lector’s holy war, for he had found even more gold to compensate for the arabyans’ lack of artillery.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndSeason7A3_zpsk9wjqkeq.jpg)

Captain da Barbiano led the brace of guns, wearing a surcoat of green and red, and riding a caparisoned and barded horse. Each gun and limber was light enough to be hauled by a single draught horse, with a whip-wielding rider atop each. The rest of the gunners and matrosses jogged alongside clutching rams, sponges and worms. Da Barbiano had fought for several city states over the last decade, demonstrating the worth of his company during lightening raids to despoil an enemy’s realm – burning crops, looting livestock and driving the populace to despair. Heavier guns would obviously be useless in such an enterprise, but these lighter pieces were capable of keeping up with a mobile force, and allowed a rather unexpected element to be brought into play whenever some sort of local resistance was mustered. “Guns of the Desert” they jokingly called themselves now.

Amongst the tents, watching the gunners, were several Reman soldiers and a company of Morrite dedicates.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndSeason7A1_zpswq7ungwf.jpg)

These hooded fanatics were becoming a common sight in Viadaza – the first people to return in any number after the arch-lector’s soldiers had driven out the undead. Almost all wore robes and cloaks in the grey and maroon colours of the Morrite clergy, and all to a man had sworn themselves to the service of Morr. This did not, however (at least at first) mean they were unified, for Morr speaks mysteriously through dreams, and who can know whether they merely dreamt of Morr or were truly visited by him? Besides, there were many much more mundane reasons for their divisions. Some were lay brothers, officially accepted into the church of Morr, others were flagellant-dedicates recruited by unsanctioned demagogues and visionaries. There were Viadazans who had fought at Pontremola against the vampire duke’s horrid legions, grizzled veterans who had lived a hard life since the fall of their city, and Viadazans who had simply fled the city when the undead arose to live as refugees in the south for a while. There were both Pavonans and Trantians. Amongst the latter were some who shared a common cause with the Trantians, having been ‘favoured’ by them during Duke Guidobaldo’s short rule of their city, and others who hated their former masters with a vengeance. There were haunted Urbimans who had travelled secretly through the nightmarish realms in the north to spy upon the foe, and Campogrottans serving their parole in dedication to Morr, and a good number from the far southern city states who had never before even smelled the stench of undeath until they arrived at Viadaza. What resulted was a somewhat tangled complexity of hierarchies, loyalties and intentions. While some Viadazans wanted to defend the city, never to be driven from it again, others yearned instead to march north without delay and repeat the victory gained by the first popular army Viadaza. Many Remans meant to stand by their oath to obey the arch-lector’s divinely inspired will in every particular, while a handful of accomplished dreamers thought they themselves had a much better understanding of Morr’s wishes. Some Pavonans and Trantians wanted immediately to return southwards to defeat Razger’s Ogres, putting their own houses in order before continuing their fight in the north, whilst others argued that what was happening in the south was Morr’s punishment for the hesitation and delay that kept this great, holy army at Viadaza, and thus they should hold their course and continue northwards.

Yet this wide disparity was on the wane, for as the Autumn weeks rolled by, turning into months, all non-noblemen in Viadaza found themselves pressed into compulsory service by orders of the arch-lector. Their labours included the burning of corpses, the hauling of stones to rebuild the walls and all required to make Viadaza inhabitable once again. And all the while waiting for the Arabyans to get a move on. Apart from a handful of Viadazans who vowed to make a stand here never to lose their home again, everyone else found this state of affairs somewhat frustrating. This was not the urgent holy war they were expecting. They were Morr’s warriors, not the Reman arch-lector’s labourers. The grumbling and complaints began to have a common theme, which in turn engendered a shared cause amongst nearly all of them.

Four Morrite dedicates, three being Viadazans by birth who had served at Pontremola and the fourth a Campogrottan archer who claimed to have killed two sleeping ogres during the famous 'incident', scowled as they watched the galloper guns trundle by.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndSeason7A2_zps5uyvuvfr.jpg)
 
All were hooded, two with partially concealed faces as was becoming popular amongst the more fanatical dedicates. Azzo who was doing most of the talking. Up until now he had commented on every company that marched by, each and every time pointing out how these men worshipped different gods and so were not really suitable to do Morr’s work. Now that Captain da Barbiano’s company had appeared he fell silent.

“That lot look Tilean,” said another, called Jaco. “I bet they pray properly.”

Azzo scowled. “They might well do, but they’re nothing but a fly sitting on this army’s arse. The rest ain’t fit to serve in such a holy war as ours. The desert gods are little more than demons, not even divine.”

“They have but one, true god,” declared the largest of them, Guido. “He’s golden, and his name is Lucre. Give them their god - and they’d not be here if it had not been promised plentiful - and they’ll fight as well as any Tilean soldiers.”

“Fighting’s not enough,” said Jaco through his teeth, his gauntleted hand clutching his sword hilt tightly. “We fought, fought well, at Pontremola. Won the day, hurray! For all the good it did us.”

Azzo rolled his eyes. “We all know who’s to blame for that. Lord Adolfo’s corruption alone brought ruin to Viadaza. He bears all the blame. Besides,” he said, gesturing back towards the city walls as if were helpful, “we’ve taken it back now, with Morr’s holy blessing.”

Guido nodded. “We have that. But the work is not done, and we’ve tarried here too long. Now that these southerners are here, the arch-lector will order us northwards. If Ebino and Miragliano are not cleansed, and quickly, then the enemy’s strength will double and double again. You cannot win by wounding the undead. You must obliterate them and grind their bones to dust.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of his holiness’s plans, Guido,” doubted Azzo. “There’s a new proclamation going out to all of Tilea about how he intends to repopulate the city, make it a Reman protectorate, and wants worthy folk to settle here. Might be this is where he intends to make a stand?”

“Make a stand!” spat Jaco. “That won’t work. They got ‘round us even when we killed the vampire duke. If we just sit here on our arses they’ll march right by and …”  His words petered out as his face set into a grimace of anger.

“I know that,” said Azzo. “You know that. And all too well. But the arch-lector is a Reman and maybe this is far enough north for him?”

Tullio the Campogrottan, who had until now stood a little apart from the others, leaning on the shaft of his viciously tipped spear, sniffed. “If this is where we’re gonna stay, and that lot have just arrived, then I hope the arch-lector has arranged for a fleet of ships to bring some grub. There’s nothing to harvest here and nothing much alive but us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy camel stew and pickled Arabyan for supper.”

The four of them fell silent and watched as a rag-tag crowd of stragglers and camp-followers brought up the rear of the Arabyan column.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndSeason7-4_zpsuarvdmn0.jpg)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Several days later) The City of Viadaza: Inside

This was Father Agostino’s third visit today, all made to examine petitioners requesting an audience with the arch-lector. It seemed nearly everyone in Viadaza had an opinion regarding military or political matters, which meant his holiness’s second secretary was being kept rather busy. The first visit was to an official embassy from Urbimo requesting reinforcements for their own garrison in case the undead send a naval force from Miragliano to attack them, the second was a distant relative of the Duchess Maria offering written proof of his inheritance of the dukedom. This third visit involved a much more sinister group, being the leaders of the most substantial (and fanatical) faction of Morrite dedicates in the city.

Upon arrival he discovered they were somewhat more worrying than he had envisaged. He was himself unescorted as it had seemed an unnecessary waste of manpower in a city populated by none other than the arch-lector’s soldiers and professed followers of Morr, especially now that the only really rebellious element, the Campogrottan Ogres, had been destroyed. Logic told him that whichever soldiers might provide a guard were no more or less likely than every soldier in the city to be trustworthy. Now he regretted that decision, for he found himself escorted into an ancient chapel by hooded spearmen, and passing more guards on the way in. These men might garb themselves in the colours of Morrite clergy, but they did so in a fashion that nevertheless marked them out as both distinct and threatening. Agostino found himself wondering whether Morr would grant him a prayer-spell if it was to be used to harm those who also proclaimed themselves his loyal servants!

As he entered the chapel’s nave, the ironbound door clanged shut behind him, closed by one of another pair of guards standing upon either side. The two men escorting him came to a halt with a clunk of their spears on the stone floor and the dedicates there to meet him stood up from the tables they had been seated at and made the sign of Morr, which Agostino answered in kind.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/endseason7B1_zpscvsp5bdp.jpg)
The dedicates introduced themselves as the leaders of the Disciplinati di Morr. Azzo, who named the others, was a peculiar looking fellow, for instead of robes he wore only a mask-like hood and a small cloak over his ordinary clothes, which made him seem both slight and awkward amongst his comrades. Guido was a brutish sort, a big, bald fellow carrying an axe, but obviously not with wood-chopping in mind. Azzo named the others as Jaco, Cordill and Galeb, but too haphazardly for Agostino to know who was who, apart from the fact that the one with overgrown teeth was not Jaco.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/endseason7B2_zpsq45flwss.jpg)

Without any further formality, Azzo began speaking. “Father, my dreams are blessed with Morr’s wisdom. He has shown me what must be done. Last night I rode a horse upon a long journey and thought to let it lie down and rest a while, but this and that distracted me until my mount’s legs grew weak and it could not get up. The night before I baked a loaf and thought to save it for a special occasion, but I left it too long and it grew mouldy. A dreamt the wheat in the field was ready for harvesting …”

“I understand,” interrupted Agostino. “You fear we have stayed here too long. It is a common concern, and it must indeed weigh heavy upon many consciences. I am sure a whole host of sleepers dream of such things, but whether or not Morr has any part to play in those dreams I am not so sure. I can assure you his holiness also dreams …”

“I know when holy Morr speaks to me,” said Azzo angrily. “And even if he did not, it would yet be true that further delay will likely ruin our cause.”

Agostino raised a hand. “The army’s council of war believe that winter is not the season to be marching to war.”

“Do you think the undead care about the cold?” said the hulking Guido. “They have no need to scour for firewood, or find thicker blankets, or preserve the harvest. Snow and ice will hardly slow them at all.”

“I should think the frozen ground will make it harder to raise more dead,” countered Agostino.

“Morr’s blood!” cursed Guido. “Do you think, father, that the undead grow tired because the ground is harder to dig? Do you think they break from their labours when it falls dark?”

“It is plain to all that have eyes to see that we must march on, and now,” said Azzo. “We have stayed here all Autumn. If the arch-lector wishes to linger on, then he can, but that does not mean he can keep the rest of us with him. Morr watched over us at Pontremola, and will do so again. Viadaza was lost because of Lord Adolfo’s failings, but that would not happen again, for the arch-lector cannot be so tainted. So let the arch-lector and his guard provide a safe haven here, a place from which to send supplies and reinforcements, while the rest go now to finish our holy work. We shall complete what we began, with the arch-lector’s aid, with whatever forces he will grant. I am sure General d’Alessio would be pleased to command us, as he did before. There is no soldier more blessed in the eyes of Morr.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/endseason7B3_zpsmnmf7ziu.jpg)

Agostino was flabbergasted, but he did not show it. Instead he nodded as if in contemplation. Then, with no sign of displeasure in his voice, he said, “I will return to the arch-lector and put this to him. If it pleases him then he will wish to speak with you, I am sure.”

Guido sniffed. “And if it doesn’t please him?”

“Then he will pray for guidance.”

…..........

(An hour later in the outer yard of the Lector’s palace.)

It was already growing dark when Father Agostino arrived at the palace forecourt. There he met with the restored lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini, returning from his afternoon constitutional. The lector, recently made secular governor also by the orders of the arch-lector Calictus II, was accompanied by his gnomish clerk (who had no doubt been speaking with his master of both church and state matters). Even as the lector took exercise he was kept busy with such things. Father Biagino was with him too, having been appointed the lector’s adviser. 

Immediately upon spotting Father Agostini, the lector and his companions halted.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/endseason7B4_zps7wrpb6jl.jpg)

Agostino bowed, and the lector spoke, “Good father, you met with the Disciplinati?”

“I did, your excellency.”

“And is it as his holiness feared?”

“In some ways, yes, I am afraid so. He will be happy to hear that they gave no sign of being schismatic in their faith, but they do not accept the arch-lector’s military command. The spirit of the Viadazan crusade lives on in them. They would march northwards themselves this very hour, made brave by their devotion to Morr and their memory of the glory of Pontremola. They expect d’Alessio to lead them, as before, and believe the arch-lector will supply them with soldiers and supplies.”

The lector frowned. “When they marched before they did so with the arch-lector’s blessing, and mine, which to my shame I was late in giving for I was fooled by Lord Adolfo, may Morr curse him for what he did in life and what he is now. But they had not Lord Adolfo’s blessing and I think that necessarily rebellious deed, along with the victory which followed and Adolfo’s subsequent treachery, has made them irreverent of all worldly authority, even that of Morr’s holy church.”

“Yet they’ll fight?”

“They will fight,” said Father Biagino. “I know that. I know them. I marched with them; thought like them.  I was with them when they gained their victory. But we lost Viadaza. Faith alone is insufficient. It is an ace card, granted, but a full hand is needed to win this game. If they’re allowed to leave it will divide our strength, and the enemy might devour us piecemeal.”

“What you say is no doubt true, Father Biagino,” agreed the lector. “But how do we convince them to act as one with us?”

“We can’t,” said Biagino. “But with Morr’s blessing, his holiness might.”
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on May 16, 2016, 09:06:53 AM
Great stuff as usual. I love the color scheme and the style of your pics. Like, I've said - you could probably gather all that stuff in a single place. This is simply golden.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on May 24, 2016, 03:36:55 PM
Thank you once again, Xath. It's a nice feeling have a 'fan' :icon_redface:.
...
End of Season 7 (Autumn 2402) General Report, Part Two

The Once Mighty Monte Castello
Southern Tilea, on the western shore of the Bay of Wrecks
(This next co-written with Uryens de Crux, Valckenburgh’s player)

As his scouts gave their report, Lord General Jan Valckenburgh considered the maps they had provided and carefully assessed all they told him. They were good men, ritters from the Wasteland and seasoned scouts in good standing with the company, so he knew to trust their account.

"Lord General, the walls already have a number of breaches,” explained Thomel, who had drawn the map. “Even the gate tower is thrown down …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello6_zpsqw58vqoz.jpg)

… There is no sign of the engines that did the damage, but the remains of the goblin’s siege-works are still to be seen around the citadel." Thomel’s finger gestured to the lines on the sketched map as he explained. The castle walls themselves were drawn thick, while thinner marks traced a crescent-shaped circumvallation of earth forts on the outside. The scout now indicated the gaps in the walls. “The repairs to the breaches are mostly double-timbered walls, filled with rubble, and not all completed. They’re being worked on now, idly, and only by a few runtish looking goblins"

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello5_zpsuwljv5cy.jpg)

Captain Singel, the company’s captain of works, broke in, eager to give his help. "Sir, their works are quick and shoddy, nothing more than deal board and old timbers filled with rubble. It might repel an assault without any artillery, but it will burn very easily..."

Nodding, General Valckenburg pointed in turn to each of the breaches illustrated, then gestured to Thomel that he should continue the report.

"While they do not seem to have artillery pieces,” the scout went on, “there are bolt throwers on at least three of the towers and a stone thrower oddly positioned forward of the gate. Most are crewed by goblins but we saw some larger orcs too.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello4_zpspzgoavjo.jpg)

“How strong is the garrison?” asked Valckenburgh.

“It looks not overly large, Lord General, but who knows what else lies hidden? Gobbos can be sneaky like that."

The Marienberger general was still running his fingertip over the map, mentally placing the forces at his disposal. Assuming the greenskins had no proper artillery his guns could pound the walls with impunity. The great siege piece would certainly make short work of any defences, no matter how well made, and should very quickly smash through a patch-work of rubble-filled planks, although this did not mean it would necessarily be an easy or quick fight, especially if the goblins could defend the re-breached sections in strength. He knew from experience that fighting over defended piles of rubble was often a brutal and drawn-out affair. The year had turned, and he could not afford a protracted siege. Captain Singel had earlier suggested that only the insane would venture to sea in a supply-laden ship in the autumn storms that lashed the Black Gulf. The problem was that greenskins were not known for their sanity, and Valckenburgh currently had no means to blockade the sea lanes.

The men around him were waiting in silence while he deliberated. He approached the decision something like his brother might have weighed up the pros and cons of an investment, balancing his long term plans, the available options and both the factors that he could and could not control. Finally, he addressed the scouts.

"Well done. Take your troop and range out. Make sure there are no hidden bands of goblin scum hiding hereabout. I want eyes on the castle too, just in case they are concealed within in strength. If you hear battle, fall back to the reserve position.” Then he turned to his officers. “Captain Singel, move your train into range of our largest pieces. If you use the abandoned works – for they should be very well placed to target the repaired breaches - then first ensure they are safe, then make all necessary improvements with gabions and works. I doubt the greenskins did a good job. Colonel Van Hal, order your men to invest the castle and Captain van Rooyen, prepare your rodelaros for the attack. You will follow the ogres in as soon as a suitable breach is made. The firelocks will provide cover."

The company snapped to attention, the officers giving stiff bows. This was not as sign of naïve eagerness, however, for all of them were professionals, and they knew their trade well.

……………………………………………………………..……….

Hunched behind some rocks, the three of them had a good view of what remained of the castle gate, or at least they would have done if they had the eyes of hawks. Luckily Thomel had a spy glass to compensate for this need. He scrutinised, while Rutiger and Halmut squinted.

“Definitely some coming out now – carrying pikes,” Thomel said. “They’re marching, and being neat and tidy about it.”

“So they’re not goblins then?” asked Halmut.

“O’course they are,” said Rutiger. “What else would march out of there?”

Thomel shifted himself, and wiped the end of the spy glass with his linen kerchief. “They’re goblins alright. Lots of them. Came out in a column of twos on account of the timber hoarding making the gate so narrow, but now they’re doubling their front. Like I said, neat and tidy. We’ve seen it before, at Pavezzano and Capelli.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello8_zpstwka85br.jpg)

“At Pavezzano they just walked into our guns. They weren’t so tidy then,” laughed Halmut.

“Guns’ll do that,” said Rutiger.

“Wait!” blurted Thomel, surprising the other two men. Halmut stiffened, Rutiger got part way through drawing his blade. “They’ve stopped,” Thomel added.

“And so did my heart there for a moment,” complained Halmut. “Why not save your sudden shouts for the moments that matter.”

“What are they doing now?” asked Rutiger.

“They’ve divided into two columns, each turning to face the flanks, and then stepped forwards doubling from the rear to form one rank upon either side of the road. Someone’s been teaching them how to look like real soldiers. ”

“You’re like a living drill manual today – it’s very educational,” said Halmut.

“I think the general’s recent praise has gone to his head,” added Rutiger.

Thomel ignored them. “One of them has split off - he’s the one shouting orders. They’ve about-faced to line the road upon either side.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello9_zpsfaqxw8cf.jpg)

“I can see that much myself,” said Thomel. “They must be planning on a parade.”

Rutiger laughed. “You’re not far wrong. I reckon they’re doing this for our benefit. They’re showing strength – numbers and discipline – as well as how unperturbed they are by our presence. You have to admit, it’s impressive for goblins.”

“Anything beyond farting is impressive for goblins,” said Halmut with a snort. Then his brow furrowed. “Why? Why don’t they just man the walls and wait for us to make a move? That’s what we’d do.”

“I see why,” announced Thomel. “Come on, follow me. Let’s get us a closer look.”

“Makes sense,” said Thomel sarcastically. “Three men should do well against an army!”

“They’re not sending an army out. They’re coming out to talk.”



On lower ground, the three of them could get a much closer and still remain concealed. A little band of banner bearers and horn-blowers had emerged, led by several meaner-than-average looking goblins.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello2_zps3tw67udc.jpg)

“This wasn’t the best idea you’ve had Thomel,” complained Halmut. “They could be at the head of an army, and if they have wolf riders amongst them then I reckon we won’t be having supper tonight.”

Once again Thomel was playing his eyeglass upon the scene. “No,” he said thoughtfully. “There’s no army behind them. There’s just what you see – a bunch of bloody banners and bosses. I knew it! They’re coming out to parley.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello1_zpsz9bi7ivt.jpg)

Thomel could make out leering, green faces peeking over every wall and tower, watching the party as it processed between the arrayed pike soldiers.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello3_zpsdgf4lwgj.jpg)

“Best be off to warn the general then?” suggested Halmut. “He’ll want to give them a suitable reception.”

Thomel raised his hand to signal that they should wait a moment. He wanted a better look, and focused the spy glass upon the lead goblin. “Now he IS ugly,” he muttered.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/MonteCastello7_zpsrcn1zkaa.jpg)

The great goblin in question sported a ridiculous grin, his teeth widely spaced as if he had plucked every second one out. A spiked helm, too small for his bulbous head, had been thrust down onto his chain-mail hood. His mail, extending down to his waist, was also insufficiently sized. It could not be unfastened, so that his belly burst from the gap, which made the wearing of mail a somewhat pointless exercise (unless what he really feared was being stabbed from behind). As he lumbered along, he clutched at both the hilt and scabbard of his sword, it’s black blade just visible, as if he was ready to draw it on the shortest of notice.

Next up: The last section of part 2, currently also being co-written by myself and Uryens.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on May 24, 2016, 06:04:41 PM
Wow, more great stuff with that scenery! :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Zygmund on May 25, 2016, 12:37:13 PM
Thanks for the story & pics.  :::cheers:::

-Z
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on May 30, 2016, 08:01:39 AM
As usual, your stuff is what makes me paint and assemble (should be other way around!) my minis. Thanks man. :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on June 02, 2016, 02:45:38 PM
(You're welcome Xath. And yes, always, get painting!)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
End of Season 7 (Autumn 2402) General Report, Part Two Continued

The Once Mighty Monte Castello
Southern Tilea, on the western shore of the Bay of Wrecks
(This piece co-written with Uryens de Crux, General Valckenburgh’s player and commander of the VMC)

Several of the VMC’s officers had gathered to await the goblins’ arrival. All those within easy distance of General Valckenburgh had been sent for, the exceptions being those busied with their military responsibilities in preparing for the siege. Captain Singel, for example, was wholly occupied with siting the siege pieces, and most of the other field-captains were with their own companies, directly commanding them. But most of the general staff were present.

General Valckenburgh was fully armoured, apart from a helmet, wearing instead the dark skull cap he most often favoured. Over his armour was an orange surcoat, which along with blue was the VMC’s usual livery, and in his right hand he clutched the baton de commandement. Closest to him was Luccia la Fanciulla, carrying her blessed, Myrmidian standard. She too was armoured from the neck down and wore a liveried surcoat. There was enough of a breeze to reveal that the holy standard bore an image of the goddess’s shield and spear.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet5_zps8v75hjew.jpg)

Upon the general’s other side stood the scholarly linguister Pieter Schout, looking nervous as he clutched and unclutched the hilt of his sword. More at ease moving in courtly circles, and conversing in Arabyan or Elvish, it was hardly a surprise that he might feel a little discombobulated at the prospect of an interaction with goblins from beyond the Black Gulf. He was praying to Myrmidia that they might speak at least some Old Worlder, which was likely if at least some of the commanders had served in the Border Princes. There it was not uncommon to employ even greenskins as mercenary soldiers. Next to him was the long-bearded Johannes Deeter, looking somewhat incongruent in his long black cloak, curl-toed shoes and clutching a set of brass scales to allow the channelling of a subtle spell he claimed could help the parley proceed smoothly.

Several little companies of soldiers were present too, all the better to ensure the goblins could not play any murderous tricks, but not so many as to make the goblins unwilling to even approach. The scouts had already counted the enemy party, and so it was easy to judge what would be exactly sufficient for safety. On one side a single rank of Captain van Luyden’s handgunners stood with loaded pieces at port …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet3_zpsfewfm5vb.jpg)

… while on the other Pieter Schout’s pistolier guard were also made ready with weapons drawn.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet4_zpsftpokr5h.jpg)

A little way behind, guarding the rear even though it was hard to see how the goblins might scramble over the rocks there, was another file of handgunners (mercenary Estalians), a dozen Marienburger pikemen from the Meagre Company, and in between them two sergeants guarding the bearer of the VMC’s company colours. There were no army scouts present, however, for the general had ordered every one of them to scour the army’s entire periphery and beyond to forestall any attempted surprise. Valckenburgh knew of many supposedly honourable men who would not baulk at using the distraction of a parley to launch an attack, and so certainly would not be so foolish as to trust goblins.

The wizard Deeter broke the silence, his curt question unadorned by social niceties such as using the general’s proper title. “What could the creatures possible want to discuss? They must know what we’ve done to their kin, and what we will inevitably do to them. Why waste time coming out to babble their inanities at us?”

“They know full well what we have done,” said General Valckenburgh. “Which is why they come to talk with us. They’ll bluster, no doubt, and threaten, and their wilful stupidity will be painfully evident, but in truth they’re hoping to save their skins. Perhaps they hope to spin out time, or believe they will learn something of our disposition and strength.”

The general scanned the distant outline of the castle’s towers, and what he could sea of the waters of the gulf to the south of it.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet15_zpspgkshekj.jpg)

“Most likely they have no means of escape; no ships and no allies to come to their aid. We shall see. It should not prove too difficult to guess what truth is masked by their attempts at deceit.”

The flags flapped and snapped in the wind, while the VMC’s welcoming party fell silent as they waited.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet1_zpsrnqns3yb.jpg)

After a little while a knot of greenskins appeared through a gap in the rough ground ahead. They too had standards, ragged and dull-hued flags hanging from yard-like supports and adorned with beasts’ skulls. One standard appeared to be a ship’s wheel which had the skulls but no rag. Somewhere amongst them a goblin was playing bladder-pipes, sounding a high-pitched tumble of notes accompanied by a wheezing drone.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet7_zpsplhatcbn.jpg)

“Not the most imposing of parties are they?” quipped Deeter.

“My lord general, surely it would sully the honour of Myrmidia to let such base creatures approach her holy standard unchallenged,” said Luccia.

“On the contrary,” said the general. “The goddess teaches wisdom in war - strategic prowess and tactical cunning over brute force and wild rage.”

“I have seen them try to fight,” said Luccia. “Tactical cunning is not necessary to beat them, just numbers and a little discipline.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet6_zpsg45fh7bm.jpg)

The general glanced at her, reminding himself how young she was and that all she had seen of war was the battles at Pavezzano and Capelli. “They are now behind walls, and I do not have time to waste. I want this fight over and done with as soon as possible. I want this land made safe, and productive. There are greater threats to the north, and we have spent too long already chasing goblins hither and thither. If I can gain victory one single day sooner by listening to what these foul creatures have to say, then I am happy to do so. Here I risk wasting one hour, against a potential gain of days if not weeks.”

“If these are their leaders,” suggested Deeter, “then I say let us kill them now. Would that not almost certainly mean the rest either flee in disorganised panic, and if not that, then set upon each other, squabbling over who should command? Either is a more likely outcome than hoping a talk will make them simply lay down their arms and hand us the castle.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet2_zpsbuswjzmo.jpg)

“I never said we shall not do just that,” said the general. “Only that I would hear them speak before deciding upon a course of action. We got the name Big Boss Grutlad easily enough out of the petty goblin we caught yesterday, and a veritable volume of sordid stories concerning who lopped bits off whom. I want to see what we can get out of Grutlad himself.”

The greenskins had halted whilst the general spoke. A horn sounded a pretty trill of notes from the hills behind the VMC soldiers. General Vlackenburgh knew this signalled the all clear, that there was no sign of goblins approaching from elsewhere.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet9_zps0ir0s828.jpg)

“Well,” he declared, “unless each of them conceals a grenado, it looks like they are indeed here to talk. We could yet fight this battle with words and have them surrender without the loss of one of our men. Despite the honourable Luccia’s misgivings, I might even have a use for them.”

“My lord general, you cannot mean that?” asked Luccia.

“I do, brave and honourable girl. If I can convince one enemy to fight another enemy then I shall have a lot fewer enemies as a result, and yet as many men to defeat them with when it finally becomes necessary.”

The goblins had been halted for some time now, and could be seen to be engaged in their own conversation.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet8_zpszwxle7s1.jpg)

Then three of the goblins began to approach, leaving the tatty banner-bearers and musicians behind. Captain van Luyden’s handgunners stepped forwards too, closing the gap between them and the goblins so that any shots they fired could not fail to meet their mark.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet10_zpslpkzndi4.jpg) 

The large goblin at the front, presumably the leader, was obviously the one Thomel the scout had described earlier. He gripped his sword hilt in a manner the general recognised from historical etiquette – neither quite drawn nor left to rest, symbolic of an undecided outcome. This seemed to be a good sign, for he had not expected etiquette of any kind. If the goblin thought there were rules to this game, then there was indeed a game to play. The other two consisted of a similarly paunchy goblin with a blood-stained sword resting over his shoulder like a soldier might carry a handgun or pike, while the second clutched an axe (and had a grin) almost as big as himself.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet13_zpsqisuv6hc.jpg)

The goblin leader spoke first. “I’m big boss here. This castle’s mine, this army’s mine and you can get lost.”

“We’re not leaving,” said the general. “But you know that, because you’re here to talk.”

“If you’re staying it’ll be long wait for ya, ‘cos I got lots of gobs, and you ain’t getting in. Might as well bugger off now than sit here hungry while we eat salt-fish and man-flesh a-plenty inside. We ain’t intending to share, and if you tries to take what we have, then we’ll salt you up nice and tasty too.”

General Valckenburgh laughed. “You took the castle. What makes you think we cannot? We have bigger guns and better powder than you had, and you’ve got a wall patched with wooden planks instead of unbroken stone. However long it took you to get in, we shall do it ten times more quickly. You’ll be dead long before you’ve even made a dent in your stock of food.”

“If you try, then men’ll die, lots an’ lots. Smash up the timbers if you like. You still has to get over the mess you make, and then you’ll pay dearly for every inch, ‘cos I’ve got plenty o’ gobs who don’t mind sticking spears into men as they scrabble and scramble over rubble and splinters. Why put yerself to so much trouble and lose so much to gain this broken castle?”

“We know your true strength is nothing compared to what Khurnag’s commanded. We batted that army aside without breaking a sweat. Warlord Khurnag had not even ordered the advance when he took a four-pound roundshot to his belly in our first volley. And that came from one of our smallest pieces.”

The goblin glanced over at the one on his left, who nodded briefly as if to confirm Valckenburgh’s words. That one was obviously there that day, thought the general. That’s why they’ve come out – they know full well how badly it has gone for them so far.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet14_zpssvmorzkw.jpg)

Big Boss Grutlad sniffed in a horrible gurgling manner, and Valckenburgh spied glistening beads of sweat forming on his brow. When he spoke, however, it was with the same apparent confident disdain.

“Place is ruined anyway. We squeezed all we can from it. ‘Taint much use to us now. Might be we could sell it to you, then you don’t have to suffer in the taking of it. If you’ve got enough of the shiny stuff then I reckon you’d save yourself a lot of nastiness.”

General Valckenburgh smiled, thinking that they had now reached where the goblin always intended to go. It was not far enough for him, however.

“We both know who will really suffer in the taking of the castle. And you know that our attack will be the end of your command, one way or another. I didn’t drag all this artillery here just to turn around and go back. I killed Khurnag and now I’m sweeping up the mess he made. You think the latter task will be more difficult than the former? I’ve done the hard work, now I’m just tidying up the loose ends. I have already defeated my enemies, all that’s left is to kill them too.”

Grutlad’s eyes narrowing and lips twisting as it all sunk in. The goblin’s bluster had turned to fluster. Both his companions stared at his back, as if they did not know what to make of his silence.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet12_zpsr7offi0z.jpg)

“See now,” said Grutlad, “I would’ve sold cheap, but I’m willing to let you have the pile for nothing more than letting us go. We never wanted to stay here, not since Khurnag copped it, and was just waiting for ships to take us. You give us yer word that we can leave without bother and you’re welcome to the place.”

General Valckenburgh said nothing, but just stared at Grutlad.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/VMCMeet11_zpsxekte6qy.jpg)

The big boss twitched, an involuntary motion he attempted to turn into a shrug. “It don’t even ‘ave to be all of us. I don’t care what you do the rest of them, just let us lot and a few others go. Bugger the rest. I’ll take only what’ll fit in a ship.” He leaned forward conspiratorially. “Between you an’ me, I can get the rest to come out so it’s easy fer ya.”

“No,” said Valckenburgh, revelling a moment in the obvious fear now writ upon the goblin’s face. “That’s not what I want. You can keep your mob, but not the castle. And you can buy your lives, all your lives, by serving me as mercenaries. That’s the deal: You die, all of you … or you serve me, all of you.”

The grinning goblin with the axe surprised the general by somehow widening his already impossibly large grin, while the other companion looked at him as if taking the measure of him – which was equally surprising. Grutlad slid his sword fully back into his hilt, and said, simply: “You’s got some more soldiers, then.”

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Uryens de Crux on June 02, 2016, 03:22:15 PM
You know what Padre, that's professional quality writing and imagery in my opinion
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Von Kurst on June 02, 2016, 05:52:14 PM
Top notch and no mistake  :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on June 03, 2016, 08:01:08 AM
You know what Padre, that's professional quality writing and imagery in my opinion

That's true. I hope you have all that text and photo backed up somewhere. I'd hate to see them lost in the depths of the internet.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on June 16, 2016, 09:38:51 AM
End of Season 7 (Autumn 2402) General Report, Part Three

A Letter to Lord Lucca Vescucci of Verezzo

This to my most noble lord, from your loyal servant Antonio Mugello. I pray this missive finds you blessed by all the gods, and that the realm of Verezzo lies both happy and secure. I hereby and in all modesty present that which I have discovered this Autumn, having made every effort to ascertain what is true from the chaff of tittle tattle and rumour. If I have been misled then I humbly assure you it is due to the mortal limitations I share with all men rather than any idleness or carelessness on my part.

First I must explain that my movements have become curtailed by force of circumstance, as I have been trapped in Pavona for over a month due to Razger Boulderguts’ double-army of ogres ravaging all around Duke Guidobaldo’s city. Anyone foolish enough to venture out from the security of the stones would certainly suffer a terrible fate. In the face of this dire threat, when one might expect the Pavonans’ martial aspirations to shine, instead they have dimmed, for rather than making a stand to fight for what is theirs by right of conquest, they have retreated at every opportunity. They have even gone so far as to raze their own lands, thus hoping to disappoint the ogres’ expectations of loot, as well as starve them of subsistence, and thus encourage the brutes to cease their encroachment and look elsewhere for satisfaction.

As I travelled upon the Via Aurelia I encountered many poor folk fleeing from Trantio, and so learned how the duke’s garrison soldiers had stripped the city itself and the villages and farmsteads of Preto of every moveable of value. Indeed, as they departed, they fired the city so as to deny even its roofs to the ogres. Boulderguts might be responsible for Scorcio’s destruction, but the Pavonans chose to deny the rest of the Trantine principality to him by themselves destroying it first. Many a poor Trantian curses the Pavonan duke’s name, and swears that Prince Girenzo, for all his pride and youthful ambition, would never have turned upon his own realm in such a way. The Pavonans bashed their way into Trantio, then burned their way out, and their rule was as short as it was cruel.

At Astiano it was plain to me that the walls could not possibly withstand a sustained attack by an army of brutes. Only last year the Pavonans had captured the city quickly and with a relatively modest force, battering the walls in doing so. Now those weakened walls faced a much greater threat, bigger in every meaning of the word, and would surely fall within days of the tyrant Boulderguts’ arrival. Consequently, I decided to continue onwards to Pavona itself, being the place in which I could best serve you by learning of Duke Guidobaldo’s plans. So it was that I found myself passing through the ruins of Venafro, destroyed by the Compagnia del Sole during the War of the Princes, and then through Casoli, which was being stripped by the Pavonan soldiery of all goods and stocks in a manner exactly like Trantio. It seems Duke grown so timorous as to order the dismantling and destruction of his very own hereditary estates! Some said it was a sign of his strength that sentimentality and mercy did not stand in the way of his calculated strategy, yet to mine own eyes it appeared most strange to see the mighty army of Pavona become little more than a band of armed bailiffs collecting goods and chattels, while the people of Casoli wept and pleaded as if they too were a conquered people like the Trantians.

It became common knowledge, advertised by heralds in Pavona’s main piazzas, that the Duke had dispatched letters to all Tilean principalities to the south and west - the boy king Ferronso, Lord Alessio Falconi, Conte Gabriele Mastroianni and your noble self. You, my lord, will of course know the truth of this, and indeed the actual contents of the letter. All I know is what was announced: that these princes had been asked to provide military aid in the war against Boulderguts, before the heart of Tilea was burned and the ashes consumed. I was surprised to hear nothing said in the declarations concerning any alliance betwixt Boulderguts and the vampire-duchess, for this remains a commonly held belief, especially in Pavona. It is said to explain why even in this hour of dire need the duke has not recalled his son and his ‘old army’ from the arch-lector’s holy war - if the ogres and undead are indeed allies, then Lord Silvano is already engaged in the fight for Pavona. 

And yet it is rumoured throughout the city that in truth Lord Silvano has not fought for many months, instead being forced to bide his time in Viadaza, due to need to transport Gedik Mamidous’ mercenary army, the Sons of the Desert, over the swollen River Trantino. When this was finally done, arch-lector Calictus is said to have ordered the formation of a garrison from his now massively swollen forces, to remain in defence of the city, while declaring that he himself, Lord Silvano and the newly arrived arabyans, would soon march northwards to face the vampires.

Whether it is giddy fear brought on by Boulderguts’ threatening circumambulation of Pavona, or the schismatic Morrite tendencies rooted here, or simply their old bravado, I know not,  but I have heard it said often (and I report this only so that you will understand the depth of the people’s impudence) that a priest like Calictus is not fit to lead an army, for it takes nothing but the thought of the winter’s wind to make him huddle by the fire in Viadaza, nursing hot, spiced wine and prayerfully contemplating how he might, when it is warmer, perhaps, should the rain cease and the winds diminish, possibly consider engaging the foe. Letters sent home by Lord Silvano’s soldiers reveal that there is considerable faction and strife in Viadaza concerning the best course of action. Fanatics preach either caution or action, but mostly action, and the soldiers grow frustrated that they are being employed as mere labourers, repairing walls rather than bringing the war to a swift conclusion.

I fear the vampire duchess does not share such a tendency for tardiness, and her forces are unlikely to suffer such divisions. The arch-lector’s delay allows her to grow even stronger, when she was already strong. Having been forced by my confinement into close quarters with all and sundry, I discovered more than just native Pavonans in the city, and by chance spoke on several occasions with a Viadazan who was present when Lord Adolfo’s curse was revealed, and his murdered-and-raised army began their terrible slaughter. This man escaped death first by hiding and then by fleeing. Being of a sombre and sober disposition, and not one for fanciful talk or ill-thought assertions, he told me how the vampire duchess marched from Viadaza with a much greater force than that which remained with Lord Adolfo. While Adolfo corrupted his living soldiers to forge his foul horde, he also desecrated every Morrite shrine and gateway, allowing the vampire duchess to reap all the graveyards had to offer, harvesting corpses by the thousand. In the Cerverozzi necropolis north of Busalla, and many other graveyards and burial pits, she unquieted long dead legates, luring them from the dry earth. These then issued their own commands, adding potency to the magic she channelled through them, calling upon their centurions and signifera to attend them, who in turn demanded their cornicines and drummers …

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndSeason7D2_zpsjgkwg12v.jpg)

… whose eerie reveille woke the rank and file, until lines of long-dead legionaries snaked along the funerary paths. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/EndSeason7D1_zps7kq863xi.jpg)



Only a day after I had passed by Astiano, I learned of the cruel fate of the main body of Trantian refugees. I doubt there is a Tilean alive who has not heard the tale, for it must have spread like wildfire, but it is possible that because I was so close to the source, the account I heard might well be nearer to the truth than the jumbled stories that pass between travellers, and which might be all that has so far reached your own ears. Put plain, the Pavonan soldiers and even their artillery pieces managed to enter the city gates to safety, given precedence by the garrison who held back the Trantian crowd to ensure said passage, but then, because Razger’s brutes were so close, the garrison commander ordered the gates shut before the refugees and their wagons could themselves enter. Some say that one Pavonan wizard even conjured a fire to hold back the mob, although others say there was a fire-mage amongst the foe. The Pavonans do not speak of this event with sadness or disgust, rather they more commonly describe it as a clever ruse, adding ‘More fool the Trantians for not moving quicker’. It is claimed that many an ogre perished from the withering hail of missiles launched from the walls, so keen were they to drag off the wagons and people of Trantio, the first to add to their ill-gotten plunder and the second to feast upon. I cannot believe such a deed has bettered Duke Guidobaldo’s already bruised reputation, for he first conquered the Trantians, only then to allow this horrible fate to befall them. But of all the complaints muttered against the duke’s decisions in the streets of Pavona, this deed is not included.

Boulderguts’ army proved true to its reputation and set about ravaging the land for sport as much as food and plunder, then, as if perhaps they suddenly remembered why they were there, they assaulted and captured Astiano just as quickly as I had feared they would. Much to the surprise of his own people, Duke Guidobaldo chose not to march to Astiano’s aid, despite the army he had at his command. I suspected this was due to his lack of knowledge concerning the whereabouts of Bouldergut’s hired allies, the mercenaries from the Border Princes known as Mangler’s Band. If they had been close to Razger’s force, the Duke may have found himself greatly outnumbered in the field, and if instead they were hidden among the Trantine Hills to the north, then the duke’s departure would leave Pavona itself insufficiently defended to withstand their attack. So the duke chose to stay behind the city walls, and turned his entire army into a garrison.

Astiano was, of course, brutally sacked by Boulderguts’ army, and the small Pavonan force guarding it was lost entirely. Thus began Pavona’s time of waiting, which continues even now. Each and every report received has been bad news. First came word of sightings of petty-goblins near Casoli, and even within sight of the city walls, being the sort of slippery little creatures who often serve as scouts for ogres. No-one knew whether they belonged to Boulderguts or Mangler, but the question proved academic when word came that both tyrants had rejoined their forces and now marched as one through Casoli. The only source of solace in the city was that Casoli had been stripped completely bare - even crops only a week from harvesting had been burned. The brutes would find little sustenance. Yet even this source of reassurance was tempered by the fact that the brutes’ hunger might drive them on more violently.

Most recently, it was reported that both enemy armies had swept around the city to the north, heading eastwards. This came as a surprise as many had presumed they had left off an immediate attack upon Pavona in order to take the less-solidly walled town of Scozzese. I cannot know the truth, and have heard conflicting accounts concerning this turn of events. Some claim that the bridge at Casoli has been destroyed thus preventing the ogres’ passage, others that the Duke has fortified it to achieve the same end. Some claim that the ogres are afraid to put themselves on the southern side of the river in winter, so far from Campogrotta, while others laugh at that idea and suggest the ogres are simply saving Scozzese until last. Montorio tower fell quickly, it’s garrison butchered to a man, and yet still the duke ordered no sally from the walls.

At the end of Autumn, even though the ogres threatened the routes to the north, Morrite priests delivered a letter from the arch-lector himself, sent to all Tilean lords, both clerical and secular, and ordered to be read aloud in every Morrite temple and church. I cannot know if you, my lord, received exactly the same, so I will include a transcript here for your perusal and comparison.


This to be read to all the faithful servants of Morr and the lawful gods. His Holiness Calictus II wishes it to be known that the city of Viadaza has been rescued from the vile clutches of vampires and their unholy servants. Morr’s holy army has driven them northwards, beyond even the River Tarano, and has already completed the work of cleansing the city of all corruption. I have ordered a strong garrison formed to defend the city from further attacks, so that even while our most holy war continues, the city of Viadaza need never again suffer the horror that once befell it.

Lord Adolfo, who ruled Viadaza in life, and who now serves the wicked vampire Duchess Maria in unlife, left no living heirs, and so it is that I have declared the city and all the lands appertaining to it to be a protectorate of Remas. The Reman church of Morr will hereafter provide safe sanctuary to all Morr-respecting and law-abiding souls who wish to return and settle therein. As long as empty dwellings remain they will be made available to those who desire them. All skilled labourers and artisans who present themselves, and prove their worth and skill, will be allowed to freely practise their trade for the betterment of both themselves and the city, without redemption demanded of them. All taxes will be fair and equitable, and all appointed officers and magistrates will be required to exercise the laws in a just and decent manner. Hourly prayers will be sung in temple and church to the glory of Morr, and to beg his protection from all evil.

Come all ye who wish to prosper.

Sing hymns of thanks and praise, for Morr is good and his church likewise. Let Viadaza thrive and share a happiness and prosperity ne’er known before to its denizens.



Despite my confinement here in Pavona, I have learned what I can of the rest of Tilea. Due to the restricted nature of my sources, I suggest, my lord, you take this information with a grain of salt, but I offer it nevertheless so that you can balance it with that which you have learned from elsewhere.
 
Over the summer several merchants had reported that the dwarfs of Karak Borgo were growing unhappy, disgruntled by the failure of their previously profitable trade with Tilea. The wizard Lord Nicolo Bentiglovio’s tyrannical rule in Campogrotta, the city through which both the Iron Road and the River Astipo access all other Principalities, has effectively closed the gate by executing, imprisoning or levying exorbitant fines upon the city merchants, then requiring ever greater taxes and tolls from anyone left attempting to carry out the dwindling trade. This account quickly transformed in the taverns of Pavona, inevitably infected by the Pavonans’ own prejudices, intertwining with another rumour concerning the dwarfs. As soon as the first reports of Boulderguts’ attacks came in, it was quickly put about that the Pavonan dwarfs exiled by ducal decree were behind the ogre tyrant’s choice of target! This was revenge for that which was done to them. Some few have pointed out that the Pavonan dwarfs would thus be allying with the enemies of their mountain cousins, the ogres, yet this argument was rebutted by the claim that the Pavonan dwarfs have used their urge for revenge to draw away the ogres’ main strength from Campogrotta, probably in preparation for an attack by a force from Karak Borgo. If this were true then it would be a false alliance made with one enemy to gain revenge against another, and lead them both into ruin in the end. I myself doubt this theory, for I have visited the mountain mines and found them a mostly empty place, worked by only a few stubborn dwarfs and surely not enough to muster a force of any size. And it seems to me the exiled dwarfs are also too weak, too scattered and insignificant, to achieve such influence. Furthermore, if the Pavonan dwarfs had a hand in advancing Boulderguts’ power, then this would by default mean they were allying with the vampires (if, as is still generally supposed, the ogres and the vampires do have an unholy agreement). Make of these rumours what you will, my lord.
 
In the far south it seems the VMC is very close to finally ridding Tilea of the last remnants of Khurnag’s Waagh, and is even now marching against Monte Castello to drive out any greenskins remaining there. I also heard a tale concerning the ratto huomo in the far north, concerning how they have mustered a force in the Blighted Marshes and intend to press an attack on their ancient enemy Miragliano now that the Vampires are distracted. If this were true, then it would provide an unlikely (if temporary) ally for the arch-lector in the war against the undead. Yet, what with the Reman church of Morr’s clouded history of dealings with the rat men - arch-lector Frederigo Ordini’s supposedly ‘false’ Holy War and secret alliance with the rat-men causing the ruination of the north half a century ago - this could prove a harmful political complication for the current arch-lector. Again, I do not claim to speak the truth here, but simply impart what people are saying.

I eagerly await your further instructions and remain your obedient servant.

Post script: I will attach to this missive a short report concerning what I have learned from the soldiery of Pavona.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on June 16, 2016, 10:33:46 AM
Uh oh, where's that music from Jaws when ya really need it!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on June 17, 2016, 07:59:01 AM
Uh oh, where's that music from Jaws when ya really need it!

Too right! :biggriin: Another great read, thanks Padre. :smile2:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on June 24, 2016, 02:58:09 PM
A Second Letter to Lord Lucca Vescucci of Verezzo

Further from your servant, Antonio Mugello.

This is to impart to you, my lord, something of Duke Guidobaldo’s army, concerning the common soldiery rather than the plans and purposes of the duke himself, or his captains. I present this to reveal unto you something of the nature of the force at the duke’s disposal, and also because I cannot access the Duke’s mind, being myself neither ambassador nor emissary, unable to visit lordly palaces, but instead having eyes upon the streets, so to speak.

I have spoken with several soldiers, acting the part of an amenable drinking companion, being generous with my gold and agreeably attentive to their opinions. Among those I befriended is a sergeant named Antabio, a veteran of many years’ service, a born and bred Pavonan. He is a gruff fellow, heavy browed, who often wears the hint of a pained scowl much, which only occasionally blossoms into its full form. 

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PavonaEndSeason7a_zpsxkbottdn.jpg)

To understand much of what he says requires careful consideration, for his words must be untangled and weighed, and much that he has not said needs be ascertained from what he has said. Having no guile in him, nor being loath to reveal his inner thoughts, I was able to learn that he held Morr to be the God of gods, having been taught as much from his youth. For him the world is divided not between good and evil, nor between chaos and law, but between those ‘enlightened’ souls who accept Morr as supreme, and all those who do not. The latter, even including the Reman Morrite clergy, are his enemies: when he fought against the Astianans he fought against sinners; when he marched against Prince Girenzo’s forces, he faced wicked heretics. He holds no doubt concerning this, nor questions whether Duke Guidobaldo is in full agreement with these beliefs. He speaks in awe of the duke, even praising his lord for sacrificing his own son in the taking of Trantio; and he curses all who voice fears or doubts concerning the duke’s actions. He even described the fall of Trantio to the ogres as a final cleansing brought about by Morr’s will! When I asked why Morr’s will had not then stopped the Ogres razing Astiano and was now allowing their close approach to Pavona, he said simply that they were being drawn in for the kill. I thus learned that the expression he so often wears belies his simple satisfaction that nothing at all is wrong, and that Pavona cannot fall. One might take one look at his face and think him a man tortured by doubt, but no, it is disgust for the rest of the world that pains him, driven by conviction not doubt. I suppose even now, as he stands at his post in the defensive earthworks that ring the entirety of the city walls (making a double layer of defences), he expects the brutes’ bodies will simply pile up before the Pavonan guns and his great sword.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PavonaEndSeason7b_zpsytw8swpl.jpg)

I do not claim that many Pavonans have Antabio’s child-like conviction that the duke cannot fail, but those born in the city do for the most part share his complete devotion to the one god, Morr, and believe only the priests and rulers of Pavona truly know Morr’s will. Until recently, however, Pavona was a growing Empire, and many of the more recent recruits to its army are not natives of the city, but hail from one of the newly conquered states. On the whole I would describe these soldiers as the worst sort of men, base rogues who have been lifted from deserved misery in their own homelands to become swaggering and proud in their livery of blue and white. Some were released from gaols, others being brigands who sought to enrich themselves from their own countrymen by serving their conquerors. Their conceit is made all the more hateful by the fact that their own homelands have been destroyed either by the brutes or by Pavonan soldiers attempting to deny the brutes the pleasure of doing so, and yet they still serve their new masters and count themselves among the best of the Duke’s men.

One such fellow is a young Astianan called Goldoni. He serves with the most recently formed company of handgunners and yet to hear him speak you would think him a member of one of the oldest and most famed military institutions in Tilea. Upon first encounter, he appears to be the very model of a soldier, deporting himself with the confidence of a disciplined fighter, and careful to ensure his clothes and trappings are kept pristine and in good working order. But as soon as a degree of familiarity has been established, his course wit begins to manifest, brought into play to decorate his malice and embellish the litany of tales he tells about his cruel actions.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PavonaEndSeason7e_zpsjb9kqarz.jpg)

There is no religion in him, and it might seem that nothing more than brutality fuels his fastidious service as a soldier, but when one probes a little deeper it is plain that his new but steadfast loyalty to the Pavonan cause arises at least partially from his fear concerning what fate would have in store for him if he were to leave his current profession. His cruelty, although entirely sufficient in itself to make him do what he has done, conjoins with his desire for self-preservation and the fear it instills, to produce the vile creature he is.

Much work has been done to circumvallate the already strong city walls with earthwork defences, each bastion bristling with stormpoles and many containing very modern, low, stone-built gun platforms. Most of the Pavonan handgunners have been stationed there, and drill daily to prepare themselves for what is considered the inevitable (if delayed) assault by Bouldergut’s huge army.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PavonaEndSeason7f_zpsdzlhqzfo.jpg)

Perhaps Boulderguts already knows of these formidable double-defences, and this is what delays him? Or perhaps he is happy to plunder everything else that the city state of Pavona has to offer, satisfied that Duke Guidobaldo’s army is afraid to move away from said defences?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PavonaEndSeason7d_zpscypctcyf.jpg)

Pavona’s army thus remains a mighty force, perhaps being greater than ever before? Yet although at the height of its military strength, still the entirety of its newly conquered possessions have been razed to the ground, and its own homeland is even now being destroyed in a piecemeal fashion. Despite the soldiers' pride, conviction and determination, they are but men. None can tell me why their previously undefeated lord has become so timorous that he refuses to order his vast army to battle, yet none complain either, for what sane-man rushes to face a horde of brutes?

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PavonaEndSeason7c_zpsh8r3p5dh.jpg)

Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Von Kurst on June 24, 2016, 05:30:17 PM
Good to see another layer of the story.  :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on June 24, 2016, 07:02:19 PM
This era of Pavonans must think it is wise to build fortresses in depth with that redoubt and cannon in front of the city walls.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on June 25, 2016, 07:28:29 AM
If the ogres do assault Pavona it'll be player vs player (so far this has been a rarity - players have commanded forces against each other, but not often their own forces) and a battle for the very existence of one player's realm, so I want it to be a challenge. The double defences will have a play effect - the attacker will have to start 24" away from the outer layer of defences (as long as they are defended by troops) thus being further away from the stone wall, inner defences, and thus subject to even more missile attacks for even longer. The attacker will really have to earn a victory - which is appropriate if this is the capital city of a very militaristic state, and could mean the defending player gets knocked out of the campaign!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on June 27, 2016, 07:17:10 AM
Good to see another layer of the story.  :::cheers:::

I second that! :smile2:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Inarticulate on July 11, 2016, 08:10:10 PM
I have a LOT of catching up to do on this thread! This looks great Padre!
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 25, 2016, 10:06:55 AM
Thanks Inart - I hope it is worth the effort to read. Now back to it (with some possible revelations about past actions)...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Sub Sigillo Confessionis
(‘Under the seal of confession’, therefore to be kept secret.)
Near the city of Viadaza, in the rear gardens of the Palazzo Sebardi, at the close of Autumn 2402

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Confession2_zpstwxvbnfd.jpg)

Lector Bernado could see that Lector Erkhart was ill at ease, stilted by the need to suppress some species of twitch afflicting his arms and head. It made him appear furtive, although upon closer inspection his eyes revealed it was more a consequence of fear. Unlike Lector Bernado, who wore the traditional vermillion robes of his office, Erkhart was dressed very humbly in the course woollen cassock of the lowest orders of priesthood. Bernado had not asked him why, assuming it was because Erkhart had lost his see when the city of Trantio fell, and so thought it either improper or unreasonable to don his robes. Each to his own, thought Bernado, musing on the fact that when he had lost Viadaza if never occurred to him to alter his own wardrobe.

There was little colour in the palatial gardens, it being so late in Autumn, but a lay-brother was busy tidying one of the circular beds of herbs and flowers. Bernado was pleased to see that another part of Viadaza was rid of the stench of corruption, the lingering sense of horror, to recover a sense of normality and peace. Apart from the two Lectors, the only others present were two armoured guards (Bernado was accompanied wherever he went), his secretary Father Piero and one of his little staff of gnomish clerks.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Confession1_zpsmffrenky.jpg)

Erkhart, like so many others, had begun by asking when the arch-lector would order the army to march again, which, again like so many, quickly turned to begging Bernado to encourage the arch-lector to delay no longer. This surprised him, for he had expected the ruined lector to ask that a force be sent to recapture Trantio. He knew Erkhart had been in conversation with the Disciplinati di Morr and the spiritual leaders of the several flagellant-dedicate congregations, so it was possible he had been won over by their fervour. But then, Erkhart’s exaggeratedly nervous state suggested something more was going on.

Perhaps if Erkhart had joined the dedicates in their self-administered scourging then that would explain his tortured twitches? The truth came to light when he spoke further, describing the flight from Trantio before it’s fall, his own weakness in the face of the Ogres’ advance, and the impossible dilemma of choosing whether to go north with the few or south with the many. Having chosen the north, for that was where the arch lector was, he was then wracked by guilt when he heard what the terrible fate of those who did go south. Here Erkhart’s speech faltered, and he spoke more quietly.

“I know now going north was another part of my penance. I should never have left Trantio at all, and only added insult to injury by doing so.”

Bernado could not think what Erkhart meant by this last comment: ‘Insult to injury’ implied two faults, that his leaving of Trantio was not his only sin.

“But surely you see that without sufficient forces to defend the city it would have been madness to stay?” he said. “How can you accept blame for what was a necessary action brought about by forces beyond your control? If you will not blame the ogres – and I cannot see why you will not lay this evil deed upon their shoulders – then perhaps the blame lies upon Duke Guidobaldo for not providing sufficient forces to defend that which he had himself so violently taken? He was victorious and took his prize - with that came the responsibility too.”

“No, I cannot blame the duke,” answered Erkhart. “For I bear the burden of sin. I should have accepted my punishment, and stayed regardless of the threat. My advice, if you will take it from such as I, who promised so much to so little effect, is this: Do not leave Viadaza. You lost it once and it has been returned to you. Be not so careless, nor regardless of Morr’s will.”

Bernado nodded. “I myself want to stay, and have petitioned his holiness to allow me to do so. But I do not think my wish will be granted for the arch-lector has left Remas to pursue Morr’s will, and so why should we not also be expected to go wherever we are needed?
  (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Confession4b_zpsk7ynnvjo.jpg)

“Still, I do not see why you blame yourself,” he added. “This talk of punishment and multiple sins. We all make mistakes, for which we ought to be penitent, but to heap such blame upon yourself for acting as you thought best at the time, this I do not understand. I myself delayed giving support for the Viadazan crusade, and although I did finally march with them, fighting upon the field at Pontremola, when I heard the city was lost to the armies of the undead, I did not return. It was not fear that prevented me, although I was afraid, but rather the knowledge that the city was already lost and that my immediate return could not change that. Surely it was just the same with you? What great fault do you believe you bear?”

Lector Erkhart fixed Bernado with an intent gaze, then his eyes unfocused as if to look upon some imagined object.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Confession4_zpsgo3wwuca.jpg)

“Might we take leave of the others, to talk privately?” Erkhart asked.

Bernado nodded his consent, gesturing to the guards and servants to wait. The two lectors then turned towards the grassy gap between the hedged enclosures, leading towards a statue of Myrmidia in the centre of the gardens.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Confession3_zpsjemp5sza.jpg)

They walked in silence until they reached the foot of the statue. No-one could hear them now.

“I take it you are not offended by the statue?” asked Bernado, wondering if a man promoted to lectorship by Duke Guidobaldo might share the schismatic Pavonan Morrite monotheism. Capolicchio, lector of Pavona itself, was very much a schismatic, and indeed the highest authority behind the sect.

Erkhart shook his head in a manner that mirrored the twitches he had exhibited earlier. “That is not my sin. I have never had Sagrannalian leanings, nor ever gave the impression I did – not even to gain Duke Guidobaldo’s favour. No, I gained his favour by other means.”

He fell silent, and Bernado knew he was preparing to give his confession.

“Go on,” said Bernado, making the sign of Morr’s blessing. “Sub sigillo confessionis.”

Erkhart’s hands twisted together before his waist, as if each was trying to restrain the other. “My sin was not schism. Nor was it leaving Trantio - that was merely my failure to accept my penance. I should have stayed to be butchered by the brutes.” Here, momentarily, he faltered again.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Confession5_zpsst7phucp.jpg)

Then, fixing Bernado with his gaze, perhaps to make it clear that he was hiding nothing, that this was a full and frank confession, he continued. “I was sent to correct Duke Giudobaldo, to deliver the edict for peace between all princes, to directly order him to cease his vainglorious war at a time when greater Tilea was in need of defence against the true enemy. I personally swore to the arch-lector that I would apply myself body and soul to that task, yet I was lured from that straight and true path by offer of the gift of lectorship of the cruelly conquered city of Trantio. I grasped the tainted office with both hands, and even wrote to the arch-lector to inform him how all that was done, by both the duke and myself, was good, proper and for the greater glory of Morr. I told his holiness the duke was a righteous lord, who had sacrificed his son for the good of the people of Trantio, and by removing the tyrant Girenzo could now set about protecting them from the undead threat.”

“I saw the letter,” said Bernado, remembering how at the time he had wondered if there was something more to the story, something that had not been said. He spoke sternly, “Continue.”

“From that time the knowledge that it was not truly so, that I had succumbed to greed and a lust for power, gnawed at me. And still my own greed was so great that I lied to the arch-lector.”

“How so? Confess fully or not at all, for a partial account is tantamount is merely another lie.”

“I told the arch-lector that I arrived after the fall of the city, and so Duke Guidobaldo knew nothing of the holy edict ordering peace among the living until after the war against the vampires was won. That was my greatest lie, for I had arrived at Trantio two days before the assault. The Duke promised me the reward of high office to buy my silence. More than that, I was to mislead the arch-lector so that it would appear the duke had completed his war before the inconvenient edict was shown to him.”

This is the sin that makes him ashamed to wear his robes of office, thought Bernado. When he looked at Erkhart, however, he could see there was yet more to know. He decided not to press his penitant further, for the man’s agony was plain enough, and it was merely a matter of waiting. 

“Even as I took up residence in the palace it became plain that my sin had spawned more evil in its wake. When I asked what had become of Lector Silvestro, I was met first by silence, then later by the story of a mob who burst into the palace to murder him for being the friend of, and counsellor to, Prince Girenzo. But although there were plentiful signs of disturbance in the palace, and all of worth had been taken, I never found any of Silvestro’s servants who had been present that day to witness the event. I cannot say what was done, but I wondered just who had goaded the mysterious mob to murder a priest of Morr, when all would surely know they were damned for doing so.

“Then, just as I began to wonder if the duke would allow the Sharlian Riders who had accompanied me from Remas to return there, knowing as they did that we had arrived before the final battle, I learned that their service had conveniently been bought. They were promised increased pay to enter Pavonan service. I spoke to Captain Presrae and he seemed blissfully unaware of the whole affair, either because he cared nothing for such things, or
cared too little to question the matter. He knew I was carrying the edict, but not its full nature, nor what I had written in return.

“But worse, much worse, was yet to come. I had suspicion enough to be concerned, and yet I did nothing to prevent it. My sins were multiplying and I was becoming crushed under the weight of them. Although I had allowed my silence to be bought, another priest-emissary, Father Franco de Pistoni, was of course carrying the edict to Prince Girenzo of Trantio: the arch-lector had sent priests with letters to every Tilean prince and ruler. Father Franco, of course, had been unable to enter the city because of the besieging Pavonan army, and he also knew, of course, that I had arrived before Duke Guidobaldo ordered the assault. I was afraid he might return to the arch-lector to reveal the truth, and in my weakness, I expressed this fear to the duke.”

Bernado was beginning to comprehend the full horror of what had been done, and yet he still hoped that it might not be true. “I heard that Father Franco was killed by brigands, a party of Compagnia del Sole soldiers fleeing from the Battle of the Princes, who were later killed by Pavonan soldiers for their crime.”

“Yes, the murderers were killed, and without trial,” said Erkhart, “three days after I spoke to the duke of my concerns.”

“Do you know whether the murderers were in fact Compagnia men?” asked Bernado.

“Most likely. But whoever they were, none could now reveal what really happened. Were they made to do it? Ordered? Tricked? And if they were not Compagnia men, who were they? Why did they so conveniently kill that particular priest, when there’s no sane Tilean alive who would not baulk at committing such a heinous crime?”

“But you have no certain proof of Pavonan wrongdoing,” pondered Bernado. “Unless … Did you speak to Duke Guidobaldo about this?

“No, I confess I dare not do so. He would have thought it an implied accusation, and I was clinging to the hope that some greater good might result from my sins and the duke’s transgressions. Now that Trantio has fallen I know that nothing good came of it, only righteous punishment.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/Confession6_zpsafltq34l.jpg)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: GamesPoet on July 25, 2016, 10:10:22 AM
 :icon_cool: :::cheers:::
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on July 25, 2016, 10:19:26 AM
Been waiting for this! Glad you're still doing them. :)
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on July 25, 2016, 10:42:13 AM
I am indeed still doing them. What delayed me between the previous post and this is writing 6 individual player reports (for their eyes only), painting loads more new figures, new scenery projects, and then getting orders from all 6 players, which involves e-mails, phonecalls, meetings, Q/A and reviews as other issues arise. So I can be hyper-busy with it (and loving it all) even when stuff doesn't appear here for a while. I've got more stories planned, and should begin 'movement' of army banners etc before the weekend, which hopefully will generate battles as well as more stories.
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Xathrodox86 on July 25, 2016, 11:19:13 AM
I can't wait for more of these. Awesome read. :biggriin:
Title: Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
Post by: Padre on August 23, 2016, 09:58:45 PM
Prequel: The Battle for Ebino
Winter IC 2402-3. A short distance south of Ebino

It was less than half an hour since first light and already the burgeoning camp was a hive of activity. Many within had laboured through the night, attempting to satisfy the arch-lector’s demand that the earthwork circumvallation be completed within two days. Considering the proximity of the vampire-ruled city of Ebino, there were very few who begrudged this hurried deadline and even less who yearned for sleep. What mortal man would relish the prospect of being unconscious and undefended as a force of unliving monsters sallied out from the deathly quiet walls?

Having finally shrugged off the queasy terror gifted by yet another night-long torrent of nightmares, partly achieved by the ritual of his morning prayers and partly with a practised effort of will, Father Biagino decided he ought to take the air and stretch his legs. He was keen to see how the camp’s defences were coming along, not least because of the future horrors suggested by his nightmares. The dreams he remembered, despite his urge to forget, had revealed to him a grand yet grisly army much greater and more terrible than that he had faced at Pontremola. He told himself that it could not be so – only yesterday the scouts had confidently reported a weak force garrisoning Ebino – and yet there it was. Before the dream army, and quite unable to escape due to some mysterious thickening of the air, he became as a mouse before a bull - an old, diseased mouse with legs stuck in glue-like mud before the snorting, red-eyed king of all demonic bulls. As the mighty foe came on relentlessly, he turned in desperation to see what safety his comrades could provide, only to discover that they too were living-dead, their eyes empty of all life apart from hateful hunger. The enemy was on all sides. He had not a friend in the world. When he threw his hands up to block out the sight, which was all he could think to do, pain seared into his palms. Tearing them away again, he saw blood pouring from ragged holes. From there, the nightmare took a turn for the worse, becoming the part he could not bring himself even to think about.

He was accompanied by the guard who had been placed as his tent sometime after he retired for the night, a veteran Reman crossbowman called Fazzio who proved to be a talkative fellow. It was a quality Biagino much appreciated for the distraction it gave, and therefore one he was happy to encourage.

“Quite a difference already,” said the crossbowman. “I saw this gate just after dark and it was little more than a few marker posts.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar5_zpsptinkplj.jpg)

Biagino stopped a moment to look the earthworks over. Without a doubt much work had been done, for it was no small feat to enclose a camped army as large as this Holy Army of Morr, but it was still far from a reassuring sight. Small sections of earthwork were in place, but most were little more than low piles of earth, the traced beginnings of a defence achieving little more than marking out where the completed circumvallation would sit. He pointed at a finished section by the gate and asked, “Will they make the whole circuit as high?”

“I should think so, father,” said Fazzio. “As per the general’s orders: an outer ditch with an earthen bank no less than four feet high, parapeted throughout, with gabions at the gates. O’course, if we stay any longer than a few days, it’ll grow much bigger than that. This is just for starters.”

They had stopped at the spot where the elaborate volley gun had been emplaced. It had been taken from maestro Angelo’s steam engine, and thus had no wheeled carriage.  Just as Biagino pondered the consequences of this, Fazzio spoke.

“Well that’s not going anywhere soon,” he declared. “If it comes to battle here at the camp, I hope this is the spot it’s needed. Seems to me to be a distinct lack of artillery in this army, considering what we’re up against and where they’re at.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar1_zpskumljazt.jpg)

Biagino simply nodded. He had passed the maestro’s steam engine as he made his way to his tent last night. The entire upper platform had been torn away, thus removing all its guns, big and small, so that in its stead a huge ramp could be fabricated upon its back. This was the result of one of the maestro’s suggestions concerning how to assault the city, what with both walls and a moat stubbornly obstructing the army’s passage. He had made the idea sound so simple: remove the gun-platform and in its place mount a flat bridge of roughly-hewn boards obliquely rising from a little way above the ground at the rear, while extending out beyond the front until reaching the same height as the crenellations. Then, using the engine’s proven strength, roll on up to the wall until close enough to allow soldiers to run up onto the battlements. Of course, the maestro had added, if the enemy were living Tileans the enterprise would be severely compromised by artillery fire from the towers, but in this case, it could be assumed there would be no such danger. Biagino had marvelled how the maestro could make the prospect of fighting the living dead sound like an advantage.

Several soldiers were attending to the multi-barrelled piece, while others were filling the gabion beside it with rocks.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar7_zpsykkgj6am.jpg)

A large, rubble filled wagon filled stood nearby, with a sweating soldier aloft hurling the contents to the ground …
  (http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar3_zps8cjkhmvp.jpg)

… whereupon two labourers wielding pick axes broke the stones into manageable chunks.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar4_zps72uchxxx.jpg)

If this was the effort required simply to place an engine of war in some earthen defence-works, thought Biagino, then surely the maestro’s breezy description of what was required to make an entirely novel, massive and mobile military amalgamation of bridge and ramp had been somewhat rash? 

Biagino turned to his companion and asked, “Do you think the maestro’s plan to mount the walls will work?”

Fazzio grinned, making himself look a tad foolish in the process, and answered, “Why not? As long as the engine moves, and the bridge upon it is long enough, and strong enough, and the enemy does nothing to impede its progress, then yes, it should successfully deliver our lads into the arms of the foe.”

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar6_zpsksknfy8u.jpg)
 
“Besides,” he added, “if it doesn’t work, then there’s the petard. Maybe all the maestro’s engine really has to do is draw the enemy’s attention away from the petard?”

Biagino said nothing, but he had been even less convinced by the maestro’s (second) proposition to construct the ‘biggest petard Tilea has ever known’. The proposed components were lying next to the area where engine was being converted, little more than a rusty, old cannon barrel brought from Viadaza and a battered, spare boiler for the engine, to be fastened together somehow and mounted upon a carriage so that the whole could trundle right up to be placed against the gate, there to blow it apart. Biagino’s doubts were not the of the usual kind regarding petards, which tended to concern the difficulty in finding a petardier, a volunteer mad enough to attempt the placing of it. There really was no difficulty there, what with scores of fanatical flagellants and dedicates committed to sacrificing themselves for Morr in any way necessary, perhaps the messier the better? Rather, he worried about how the petardier could possibly hope to reach its destination without deadly interference from the enemy. The undead might not have missiles to shoot, but they could surely hurl rocks, even just tip them over the parapet? And worse, in his dreams he had watched ghastly spirits swarming through stone and wood as if there were nothing there at all, which meant they could sally out without even opening the gate. 

Looking back at the volley gun, Biagino watched a matross ramming home an iron ball into one of the nine barrels, while yet another rock was tumbled into the wicker-weaved gabion beside him.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar2_zpstadra2pu.jpg)

The two of them then left the soldiers to their labours and walked a little further to a stretch of earthen barricade heaped so low it allowed easy access back into the camp’s interior. Biagino led and Fazzio followed as they headed towards the very heart of the camp, where a second, much smaller ring of earthworks had been quickly thrown up, the beginnings of an inner defensive circuit to surround the army’s carroccio. This time, however, the work had apparently already halted. No-one laboured here, as if the pathetically low mound was already considered sufficient for purpose. Instead, a congregation of clergy and dedicates had gathered within, completely surrounding the holy wagon, being joined in ominous chanting, part prayer and part summonation of Morr’s divine presence.

Biagino heard Fazzio gasp at his side.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar17_zpsbqy7kbxv.jpg)

The physical cause of Fazzio’s audible surprise was nothing more than the barest rippling of a breeze rolling out from the enclosure, but it was laced with a hair-raising and gut-wrenching sensation of powerful intent, like one might suppose a god’s breath would feel as it washed over you.  Biagino had sensed it too, perhaps more forcefully than the crossbowman, because for him it evoked memories of rituals and rites, of prayers he himself had employed to conjure curses and blessings in battle, and especially the terrors inhabiting his dreams. He did not gasp, but for a mad moment he yearned to throw his head back and scream, allowing the spiritual potency to penetrate his being and set his soul alight. He held the compulsion in check, for he knew if he were to give in to it, he would surely and immediately slide into a new kind of madness - the same divinely gifted ecstasy that coursed through the bodies and souls of flagellants as the pain of their scourging reached an unbearable peak.

The congregation had arrayed itself in a ring around the large wagon, consisting of both ordained priests and avowed lay brothers, as well as fanatical cultists and dedicates. A flagellant prophet stood by the carroccio, waving a holy book in one hand and a heavy, studded club in the other.

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar14_zpswoks8cmr.jpg)

Upon the wagon-shrine’s lower level a cleric spoke prayers over the gilded tabernacle containing a carefully selected collection of holy Reman relics brought by order of the arch-lector. Upon the upper platform two priests, somewhat incongruously framed by brass-barrelled swivel guns, gestured with raised hands to lead the prayerful chanting of those gathered around. Fluttering above their heads was the cross-keyed standard of the Reman Church of Morr, showing both the gold and silver keys to Morr’s garden

(http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i49/padrissimus/TileanCampaignContinued/PrequelHolyWar12_zpsvhtal8tp.jpg)

Biagino had to look twice before he realised that one of the officiating priests was none the less than Erkhart, the lector of Trantio, the very same man who only weeks before had arrived wretched and broken at Viadaza, assailed by doubts and the guilt of having abandoned his city. Now, dressed in a humble woollen cassock, he had the steely glint of