Author Topic: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)  (Read 15923 times)

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Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« on: December 16, 2011, 11:24:32 AM »
The City of Marienburg
IC 2538, the 6th day of Vorhexen (last month of the year)
Bertrand van Haagen, Master of House van Haagen meets with Bertold van Haagen, his cousin.

“We are the favoured sons returned, are we not cousin?” said Bertrand van Haagen with a smile - admittedly the same, unchanging expression that had been fixed upon his face since Bertold stepped into the room. “Who would have thought that little Bert and Bertie would do so well?”

Bertold simply nodded, in no rush to speak. He stood calmly, almost dreamily, happy for the moment to listen to whatever Bertrand had to say, whilst allowing his habitually dialectical mind to play out the possibilities. Perhaps the flippantly friendly attitude was meant somehow to convey superiority? As both the head of House van Haagen and the new majority share-holder in the VMC, Bertrand was indeed his master twice over. It could not really be true amity for there was not one single occasion amongst the admittedly few times they had met in the past, when they had even approached anything that might be called friendship. In childhood Bertrand had ignored him, and as a young adult this progressed to complete unawareness of his presence.

Having waited a little less than others might do so for an answer, Bertrand continued.

“Of course, your excellent work in Cathay has brought great prosperity to our house and the VMC, perhaps even success to rival my own in the desert lands of the south? And now I see you it is abundantly clear that the no doubt spice filled air must have suited you very well, for you yourself have returned hale and hearty.”

“No less, good cousin, than you,” said Bertold, his dreamy demeanour dropping away. In such a game as was being played here it did not do to appear taciturn. “You seem hardly to have aged in the decade since I last set eyes upon you, no mean feat for a man who has surely been sand-blown and sun-scorched for years on end. Then to return not only rich but fortunate enough to find van Riekert willing to sell to you his shares in the VMC, well … you are indeed doubly favoured.”

Noting how Bertrand’s smile showed no sign of change, for better or worse, Bertold now took the opportunity to glance around the room.

It had changed little (if at all) since his the rule of his uncle, Gunther van Haagen, which made him wonder whether Bertrand used the room often. A hunting dog lay by the roaring fire in the stone hearth, and papers lay scattered (carelessly?) hither and thither. The two gnomes perusing a leather bound ledger had probably been here since even before Gunther, such was the length of their natural lives, but the Arabyan guards were certainly a new addition, contrasting so starkly as they did with the room’s Marienburg décor. Bertold could not recall uncle Gunther ever having any sort of guard in the room.

“I see you find my choice of guards interesting,” commented Bertrand. “It should not surprise you, cousin, considering ….”

“Considering I myself brought a company of Cathayan soldiers back with me,” interrupted Bertold.

“Yes, just that. It seems we are alike in more ways than simply our business successes in far flung lands.”

Inwardly, Bertold laughed. He and Bertrand had never been alike, beyond their similar names, nor would they ever be. Yes, he had brought the Cathayans back with him, but had done so because they had proved both stout-hearted and loyal, and could be relied upon for good and dutiful service. But he had not ‘gone native’ like Bertrand. He had not returned garbed in flowing, floor length robes and a striped chimney of a hat tottering upon his head. The cloth was no doubt the finest available, the yellow threads in the hat spun gold, and the whole ensemble very probably the height of fashion amongst men of power (or knowledge) in Araby, but to a Northerner’s eyes, even one who had been so long in the far-east, it seemed more than faintly ridiculous that such a man as the master of House van Haagen should sweep around the place dressed like some comedy villain in a street play. 

If Bertrand was perceptive enough to notice some flicker of his cousin’s disdain, he did not show it. He simply gestured with one hand that (at last) they should both sit, whilst with the other he weakly, almost imperceptibly lifted one finger to indicate that there was wine if his cousin wished to take it.

Once both seated, the conversation turned from banter to business. Of course, it was Bertrand who opened.

“You have shown yourself to be most able, cousin. My father never doubted your abilities, and nor in truth, in as much as I ever considered the matter, did I. But in Cathay you served papa and the company, not myself. I therefore have a proposition for you.”

Here Bertrand cocked his head to one side a little, in a manner disconcertingly like a bird of prey, a motion made more dramatic by the over-high hat, and set to studying his cousin. After a moment, he continued, “Our House and the VMC are now changed - I like to think for the better. They are more prosperous than ever before, and both are mine. I am keen to see you rise further, dear cousin, perhaps to become second only in rank to me. But if I am to place such trust in you, to put such power into your hands, I want proof of your loyalty to myself. I need to know you will serve me as well as you did my father and Antoniozoon van Riekert.”

Here another man might have objected, complaining that they had given no reason for their master to doubt them, quite the opposite in fact. Not so Bertold. He knew that Bertrand had not the tiniest reason to suspect him, even if it might suit his purpose to hint at such. So he simply listened.

“I have decided upon a new foreign enterprise for the VMC,” Bertrand began, “an expeditionary force to the northern realms of Kislev and the regions known as the Wastes. The possibilities for profitable trade are almost boundless, for the area is a truly awash with train oil, tar, hides, furs, tallow, wax, hemp and cordage, as well as myriad other commodities. Now each of these admittedly somewhat mundane and less than precious commodities, in lesser quantities, is clearly of little real worth. But in the great quantities those lands have to offer, entire ship-loads’ worth, convoy after convoy, and with the massive and widespread demand for such daily necessities across the length and breadth of the Empire, then there is every reason to suppose great profits could be had. If the VMC were to attain a monopoly of such trade then all the better, and if not, then even a solid share of what trade there is to be had would pour mountains of gold into our coffers.”

Bertrand paused, partly to take a breath (for his excitement had got the better of him and his little speech had poured forth almost in one go) and partly to gauge his cousin’s reaction.

“‘Mountains of gold’,” said Bertold, as if trying to take it all in. In reality, he already suspected such an expedition, though not that he would be asked, so soon after returning from Cathay, to lead it. Was Bertrand sending him away because he felt threatened by him? Or was he genuinely keen to have his best man on the job?

Bertrand clapped his hands together, visibly startling his cousin, and laughing to see it.

“Mountains indeed! Of course you wish to go. You cannot allow such an opportunity to pass, and you know have all the required skills and acumen, experience and courage to lead such an enterprise. And it will be no less than grand, I promise you. You shall have several full companies of House van Haagen’s own soldiery, including the best of my Arabyans, your own trusted Cathayans, the Tilean and Estalian caravan gaurds, and of course our home grown Marienburg marines. The Graf of Middenheim, who remains unsurprisingly an avid shareholder in the VMC, once again has promised a large number of his own soldiers, for it seems the old man cannot conceive of being part of such an enterprise without dispatching fighting men.”

“A force to be reckoned with, by the sound of it,” offered Bertold.

“And this is not all. You must use all your tried and tested knowledge of such expeditionary enterprises to inspect the gathered forces and to decide what more is needed. Adequate funds will be at your disposal to hire whatsoever additional mercenaries you think fit to bolster the army; to make it fit for purpose.”

Bertold nodded, but also frowned. “Yes, that will very likely be necessary. But surely we cannot intend to conquer such dangerous and, frankly, massive lands alone? Not even a portion of them. Trollkind, ogres, swarms of greenskins infest the place - do they not? And in the north the minions of chaos without doubt remain a constant and real threat. I saw in Cathay such vastness, such populousness as astounded me. Kislev is perhaps not as massive in size, but it is still a vast realm, bordered and penetrated by untameable, unyielding and implacable enemies …”

Holding his hand up, Bertrand cut his cousin short. “Here I must interrupt. Good cousin, I am wholly aware that we are not so powerful as to set about the military conquest of entire realms. Our concern is to promote trade, to establish factories and merchant routes, and ensure we have the pick of what the locality has to offer. But you know this - you yourself achieved all this in Cathay. No, what we need is to become part of a greater cause, just as the VMC operated as a member of the Order of the Golden Dragon in Cathay.”

“A cause such as …?” Bertold’s words petered out to form a question.

Bertrand brought his finger tips together as if to pray in a very delicate manner. “That is what we must discuss. What we must discover.”
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Offline VonOttenheim

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 11:43:04 AM »
I like it...alot    :biggriin:

...and your "collected works" with battle reports....and pics....

.....sweet....*heating up some mulled wine over the fire and sitting back to read*.   :::cheers:::

Ulrich von Ottenheim

Commander Black Griffon
Komtur Templar Knights of Taal
"...I want milk in my Khorne flakes..."

Offline Fandir Nightshade

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 04:39:32 PM »
A6....did I miss something?

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 05:09:09 PM »
A6....did I miss something?

It is just warming up, in the earliest of pre-campaign stages. Only one faction (as yet) announced. It begins January 2012.
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Offline Uryens de Crux

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 06:52:08 PM »
Their full trailer is online now
We go to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name.
The Free Company of Solland

The Barony of Wusterburg

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2011, 06:48:06 PM »
Bertold van Haagen’s private Journal
Extract from entry for IC 2538, 11th of Vorhexen

I have at last spoken with a servant who served him ten years ago, and though it took me some time (and coin) to convince the fellow to talk, he finally yielded. It was a most grievous injury, he said, caused by a gorger’s monstrous and diseased bite …

… the arm bit almost away, after which the gangrene set deep. I told him of the missive I read at the time - that the arm was taken clean off - but the fellow laughed and said that cannot have been true, it was nought but a fearful rumour that went around the camp. Then he asked impertinently if I had eyes to see, and that if so then the proof was plain every time I looked at Bertrand. So I demanded if the arm were ‘almost bit away’ then how could it be saved? He says that Al Hadok’s best chirurgeons attended to it with such skill and care that it was healed as new. But the fever, the rot, says I - it went deep? And he says aye, it did, and they carried him as if to his own grave, escorted in a coach, in a manner like unto a funeral …

… but that the fever broke before the walls of Lashiek and by the time the first assaults had begun he was on his feet and shouting orders once more.
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2011, 07:47:10 PM »
Ah!  The memories! :icon_biggrin: :icon_cool:
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 04:37:49 PM »
Note: Part of this may interest those of you who have wondered what exact form a condotta (contract for mercenaries) might be like. Having researched several real world tomes, I have constructed just such a thing in detail and incorporated it here into the story piece. Comments, including those dealing specifically with the legal aspects/connotations of the condotta, are welcome!

The City of Marienburg
IC 2538, the 27th day of Vorhexen

The courtyard of House Van Haagen’s mansion in the Goudberg ward

By eleven of the clock, the early morning’s frost had lifted though the ground was still hard and the air bore enough of the chill for the old to complain. In the courtyard a company of Bertold’s Cathayan guard, quite at home in the chill considering the freezing winters of their homeland, had formed themselves into two ranks lined from the gateway in readiness for the expected arrival of the mercenaries. An ensign bore their VMC colours, the same as they had carried for several years in Cathay, while two hornblowers wet their lips in anticipation of their duty.

They did not have to wait long, for at exactly the appointed time, the Condottiere Vincenzo Martelli, accompanied by a small guard of officers and staff, came swaggering into the courtyard, a brace of drums playing almost mournfully and the flag of the Compagnia del Sole unfurled above them.

Signalling rather dramatically with his bared blade, in a manner both befitting and expected of a Tilean mercenary lord, Vincenzo ordered his little entourage to halt. He was attired in hose in the Compagnia’s blue and red, though his expensive purple satin doublet was somewhat obscured by the heavy, grey woollen coat he had worn ever since he had arrived in these northern climes.

After brief greetings and the minimum of formal pleasantries, Bertold van Haagen himself led the Condottiere into the mansion’s main hall, where one of the House’s gnomes - a specialist in contract law - awaited them, clad in a servant’s blue jerkin and clutching both the condotta to be sworn to and a leather volume of Marienburg guild legal instruction concerning mercenary contracts.

At the gnome’s command all parties remained standing (an obscure and ancient tradition for agreements such as this, thought perhaps to have originated from the need to ensure that all involved remained awake during the entirety of the proceedings). Although the contract had already been debated, modified and re-written accordingly over the last three days during meetings involving van Haagen and VMC representatives and Vincenzo and his chancellor, today it would be formally accepted by the Condottiere.

The gnome then opened proceedings with a short speech, his high pitched voice seeming strange to the mercenary Tileans for most had assumed a gnome would sound gruff like that of a dwarf.

''Here we are gathered to make a lawfully binding agreement. May the god Haendryk, son of Manaan, and all those gods that those here present hold dear, bear witness to it, so that it be both binding in heavenly and earthly law.''

The little gnome unrolled the condotta, gave the sort of cough that one makes when wanting attention rather than out of physiological necessity, and began to read ….


This is the contractual agreement between the Condottiere Vincenzo Martelli, commander (recognised hereafter as ‘colonel’) of the Compagnia del Sole in its entirety, and His Excellency Bertold van Haagen, General and Governor in Chief in over all Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie (VMC) expeditionary forces, business and possessions in the northern realms of Kislev and the Wastes.

1. Colonel Vincenzo Martelli is to provide foot soldiers consisting of no less than five Fähnlein: 50 well-drilled and armoured pikemen, 40 trained crossbowmen, 40 strong marksmen armed with Bretonnian longbows (all previous equipped with light armour), 80 veteran soldiers armed with corselet, morion and equipped with good halberds, sturdy polearms or longswords, and 60 stout and true Dwarven warriors.

Horse soldiers consisting of no less than a score of mounted men at arms, very well armoured and riding sturdy destriers of Bretonnian origin; a dozen good and valiant light horsemen well mounted with crossbows, and a dozen light horsemen upon fast mounts with bows.

Artillery consisting of no less than two great cannons, three mortars and a ribaudequin, each fully crewed with skilled gunners and able matrosses and commanded by an experienced practitioner of the art of gunnery.

A retinue of officers consisting the necessary number of Hauptmanns to command the companies, as well as lieutenants and Fähnriche and other aides as required by the colonel. Other ranks to include a major of the court-martial and an officer or officer responsible for camp followers.

2. Duration: The duration of the contractual period shall be divided into a ‘ferma’, which is to be 18 months of full, active and obedient service, followed immediately by an ‘ad beneplacitum’, also of 18 months, in which Colonel Vincenzo Martelli and his company must serve His Excellency Bertold van Haagen just as fully as during the ferma if he is given notice by His Excellency of the wish to continue employment no less than eight weeks before the termination of the ferma.

3. Pay: A prestanza (advance payment) will be paid consisting of one sixth of the total pay due to the full size company for the ferma period. Colonel Vincenzo Martelli shall receive upon the last day of each month a sum totalling the agreed standard rates of pay for the currently active number of soldiers in the Compagnia as determined by His Excellency Bertold van Haagen’s appointed commissary during an inspection parade one week before the end of each month. Up to one quarter of the Compagnia may consist of suitably armed and equipped Doppelsöldner and their double pay will be accounted for in the total monthly sum. One third of this monthly sum will be deducted until the prestanza (advance payment) is paid off.

4. Prisoners: All prisoners taken either in battle or upon manoeuvres are the sole property of Colonel Vincenzo Martelli, except for enemy princes, barons, greater gentlemen and their families, as well as any and all rebellious or absconded employees (contracted or otherwise) of the VMC or House van Haagen, all of whom are to be delivered, unharmed, to His Excellency Bertold van Haagen who will pay an appropriate recompense according to the prisoners’ ranks.

5. Booty: Colonel Vincenzo Martelli and his soldiers are entitled to moveable goods captured from the enemy during the military campaign, paying one tenth of their value to His Excellency Bertold van Haagen. All fortifications and buildings are to become the sole possession of the VMC.

6. Tolls and Taxes: Whilst encamped upon land or in factories, fortresses or ports owned and controlled by the VMC or House van Haagen all officers and soldiers of the Compagnia del Sole are exempt from all tolls and taxes except for one twentieth of their pay that shall be withheld in order to maintain the warrior wizards and priests accompanying the army in His Excellency Bertold van Haagen’s service.

7. Colonel Vincenzo Martelli and his appointed officers have complete authority over all Compagnia del Sole soldiers except in the case of criminal harm committed against employees (contracted or otherwise) of the VMC or House van Haagen.

8. Lodging and Provisions: Whilst encamped upon land or in factories, fortresses or ports owned and controlled by the VMC the soldiers of the Compagnia del Sole shall neither be charged for billets, firewood nor straw, and provision of meat and drink shall be at fair and equitable prices no more than those current in the common market in the region (as determined by a joint committee of VMC and Compagnia del Sole officers).

9. At all times and in all places the officers and soldiers of the Compagnia del Sole shall grant all VMC and/or House van Haagen factors, merchants and employees safe passage to go about their business without let or hindrance, and must do what they can reasonably do to assist and protect said factors and merchants as requested by the same even if not previously ordered to do so, in so far as they can still satisfactorily continue their allotted duties and carry out their current orders.

10. Rewards: Those officers and soldiers of the Compagnia del Sole who successfully storm a defended enemy city or fortress shall receive an additional month’s pay. Those companies who face in battle and defeat no less than an army of fiends, devils and/or monstrous enemies shall likewise receive an additional month’s pay.

11. By swearing the oath required of them in the presence of witnesses appointed by His Excellency Bertold van Haagen, Colonel Vincenzo Martelli and his officers agree to abide by all the customary control and employment of mercenary regulations of both the VMC and the sovereign city of Marienburg, including paying the penalties for any deficiencies in the specified company strengths.

12. As stated in clause 2 above, His Excellency Bertold van Haagen may extend the employment of the Compagnia del Sole by 18 months beyond the ferma period by notification before the due date. If no such future employment has been demanded once that date has passed then Colonel Vincenzo Martelli may freely send his chancellors wheresoever he wishes for the purpose of negotiations with foreign powers for future employment. 

The following oath is to be taken by all officers in the Compagnia del Sol of the rank of corporal and above.

Here the gnome fumbled in his pocket for a small paper upon which the oath had been transcribed in a manner clearly comprehensible to the Tilean condottiere, and handed to him.

''I Vincenzo Martelli hereby promise by the gods Haendryk and Manaan, as well as all the lawful gods, that both I and the Compagnia del Sole will remain loyal and faithful to His Excellency Bertold van Haagen and the VMC and to obey all clauses in this contract during the full duration of the contracted employment in this service. Furthermore, I will always ensure that the soldiers under my command attend the agreed rendezvous for the purpose of inspection by His Excellency’s appointed commissary unless permission to the contrary has expressly been given either by His Excellency or his appointed commissary.''

Here he placed the paper upon the table, raised his blade, and spoke the last part a little louder.

''And should I, my officers or my soldiers break this oath in the least tittle may the Stromfellian wrath of Manaan and all the gods we hold dear, as well as the greatest plagues and damnation, seize us here and hereafter.''
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Online Padre

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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2012, 11:15:41 AM »
Two Letters:

This to the honourable Captain Johann De Wynter of Marienburg.
29th Day of Vorhexen.

I pray to the gods that this letter finds you both healthy and prosperous. It gave me great pleasure to know that such a house as De Wynter has purchased considerable shares in the VMC. Your participation in the newly proposed enterprise will vastly improve the prospects for profit, not only in your master’s capacity as a voting shareholder and a merchant of true renown, nor also in that House De Wynter has a proud and noble military tradition, serving none other than our fellow VMC shareholder his most noble lord the Graf of Middenheim, but that you personally have proved yourself an able, brave and talented officer, both at sea and on land. 

Your agent has informed me that House De Wynter has begun recruiting a force of Middenlanders for the forthcoming expedition, not only from your family’s own lands and estates in the region, but also hiring mercenaries from the wider realm of Middenland. I have come to understand that the Graf has gracefully given you all the necessary permissions to undertake such mustering of soldiers. Having received a similar concession from the Graf, granting myself the right to hire whichsoever Middenland mercenaries are free and willing to join me, including those state troops surplus to the Graf’s requirements (which he intends to disband otherwise), I must thus enquire of you exactly which regions House De Wynter intends to recruit from, for I would not wish to trespass upon your own ‘harvest’, nor even to glean what I can afterwards, but would rather look to fresh fields.

Soon we will be able to field an army of professional soldiers, a brave, stout and disciplined force, marching under the colours of Middenland and the VMC. Of course we must meet, if it please you, for I would discuss with you the mutual assistance we might provide when it comes the armies’ supplies and victualling, transport and arming, as well as the myriad other ways in which we might improve and maintain the strength of the VMC expeditionary force.

Please be assured of my loyalty and friendship, and know that I shall endeavour, to the best of my abilities, to assist you in the expedition; and I pray that you also, for the sake of the VMC and the vast profits that lie ahead of us, as well as for the friendship between our two Houses, will look to give such aid in return to House van Haagen and the other members of the VMC.

May the gods Haendryk and Manaan smile upon us in this enterprise, to bring us both victory and financial success.

His Excellency Bertold van Haagen, General and Governor in Chief in over all Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie expeditionary forces, business and possessions in the northern realms of Kislev and the Wastes.


This to Karel van Rensselaer, Gildeheer of the RKEG, presently in Erengrad
The second day of Nachexen, IC 2539

I hope and pray, old friend, that this missive finds you in good health, and that your business is thriving. I fondly remember the many times in our youth that I drank with you, of our shared ambitions to see something of the world, to follow in the footsteps of our famed and honourable ancestors and to make our mark. I myself am now fortunate enough to have been appointed agent in the Vereenigde Marienburg Compagny's expeditionary force to the northern realms of Kislev and the Wastes. You will no doubt have been informed that House van Haagen has gained possession of a controlling portion of shares in the VMC, and it is cousin Bertrand's wish (and my responsibility) to aid in the pacification and defence of the northernmost regions in such a way as to create safe, sound, permanent and -most importantly - profitable opportunities for trade.

Thus it is that I approach you, and offer not only my continuing friendship and respect, but also an opportunity for you to share in the enterprise. You have an understanding of the region few Marienburgers can surpass, and I know you are also experienced in the raising of fighting men to serve not only in war but also as guards for factories, caravans and convoys. It would please us if you could combine these talents, so that local Kislevites might be raised, being accustomed to the climate, knowledgeable of the geography, and thus best suited for travelling and scouting in those parts. If you are happy to consider this employment, and have already in place the means to speedily bring such business about, I will arrange to meet with you upon my arrival in that realm, and I am certain we can come to an arrangement which is satisfactory on both sides.

May the gods Haendryk and Manaan smile upon you and grant you success in all your business.

His Excellency Bertold van Haagen, General and Governor in Chief in over all Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie expeditionary forces, business and possessions in the northern realms of Kislev and the Wastes.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2012, 11:16:24 AM »
The Presentation

Bertold took a moment to study the man before him. In so many ways, apart from his lowly birth, the fellow was like himself. He too had come good for the company in far-flung lands, gathering opportunities, sewing factories and reaping profits, overcoming every obstacle strewn along the way. Yet in truth, Captain Adriaen Rijp had achieved much more, for Bertold was a van Haagen, first cousin to the new master of the house, and had thus begun his career already some way up the ladder; while the captain had been nothing more than a labouring seaman when the company pressed him into service from some gods forsaken slum. Not that Captain Rijp was in any way humbled by his origins, nor made nervous by an audience with Bertold. He seemed completely unperturbed. More than that - he was at ease, as if he were a gentleman born and bred.

There were other similarities too. Captain Rijp had returned to Marienburg at the same time as Bertold, joining the same convoy, and had also brought back a substantial guard of native soldiers (in his case warriors from Ind, no less exotic than the Cathayans who served Bertold). Perhaps he too had understood how such men would be much more likely to remain obedient, being so far from their homes and utterly reliant upon their master? Though it could well be that the men of Ind felt true loyalty, a likely possibility indeed the Captain’s character. He had a quiet confidence about him, a calmness bordering on the serene like a salty, old sea dog who had seen it all, been there and done it, and come out the other side enlightened, unflappable.

Or was it just that Bertold wanted the Captain to be such a man? As his Cathayan advisor often reminded him, men can only look upon the world through their own eyes.

Deciding he would simply have to wait and see, yet unable (unwilling) to shake off the gratitude that such a man was to travel north with him, Bertold finally spoke.

“Forgive me, Captain, I was lost in thought.”

Captain Rijp did not seem in any way troubled by the delay, yet nor did he seem surprised by Bertold’s words. Could it be that he too had been assessing Bertold in like manner? The two of them had previously spent little time in each other’s company, apart from a supper given on Bertold’s flag ship when the Captain’s three fluyts had joined his convoy, and a handful of subsequent occasions on the long journey when consultations were necessary.

“I asked you here,” continued Bertold, “to tell me how the presentation went, and what you think of our new recruits.”

“They are well armed, and well drilled, governor,” answered the Captain. “ I take it they are veterans?”

“Oh yes,” said Bertold. “Nearly to a man they have served several seasons as soldiers for Middenland. Just as the Graf promised we would, we raised the best.”

“And now they will happily march under the company’s flag?”

Bertold laughed. “That’s really what I wanted you to tell me. As you no doubt saw, they are to retain their own colours, not just their blue and white livery. We want them to march, to fight, not merely as mercenaries, but as the Graf’s loyal subjects. His investment in the VMC means that they can carry both flags.”

“Which comes first, Middenland or the Company?” asked the captain.

“I hardly think it matters. They are Middenlanders in the employ of the company. We pay them, and yet they still serve the Graf. They are ours and his at one and the same time, for he is one of us. They should serve as well as any soldiers sent by their master to fight abroad.”

The Captain was nodding. “Middenlanders served us well enough in Araby and Cathay. There is, as far as I can see, no reason to expect any different from these men. They swore their oath boldly enough, in the names of both Ulric and Manaan. Such men would not take such an oath lightly.”

“Still, we must take care to watch them, don’t you agree Captain? And to foster their loyalty in every way we can. Pay well, command well, hang well. Yes?”

The captain grinned. “If we pay them well enough I think they would march into hell!”


One hour earlier

The courtyard, being enclosed all around in stone, seemed to shake to the sound of the drums. Eight drummers beat a lively rhythm in practised synchronicity, while one piper wove a jaunty little tune amongst the clamour.

Lining the courtyard were several many companies of Middenland soldiers - handgunners, halberdiers, swordsmen - their sergeants, officers and ensigns placed before them, each and every man sporting the blue and white of their home province. All stood in silence, though had any of them spoken none would have known because of the raucous noise of the drums.

The reason for this parade now arrived - three ensigns, three officers and a small guard of heavily armoured men at arms. The drummers rolled their din into a crescendo, then with a final flourish, brought the beat to an end. As the echo that accompanied them died away it was replaced by the metallic clatter of the advancing party.

The new colours, the almost orange and somewhat blue of the VMC, had arrived, their silken forms fluttering in the light wind. Every man in the courtyard was to swear allegiance to the VMC, to promise to defend these colours with their lives, to rally to them whenever called upon, and to fight bravely beneath them. These were colours they had contracted themselves to - the colours that meant they would be fed and paid, the colours of their new masters.

The colour party halted and there was a moment of silence. Even the men aboard the ships docked upon the wharf behind the courtyard stopped their labours and ceased their shouts. Then, as the flags were lifted aloft in presentation, blades were drawn, Halberds dipped and handguns brought to port.

The swearing was to begin.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2012, 11:17:59 AM »
Turn One:
How do you like your ale in the morning?

Middenland Brigade Quarter, House Van Haagen army of the VMC 
Somewhere in the North

To every aching head, at this early hour in the day, even those of the drummers themselves, the drums seemed louder than any other time. Nine musicians made up the reveille party, led by the brigade standard bearer bearing a Middenland ensign bordered with the orange of the VMC, as were some of the drums being beaten behind.

The brigade had been in this wild and barren land only three days, yet to these northern men of the Empire it did not seem too strange. The mud was little different from that churned up wherever an army marched in their homeland, and the cold morning air had the same power to clear the sleepiness quickly from their skulls. If anything, the strangest aspect of their current situation was the nature of the other brigades and regiments in the army: not only was there a massive brigade of Tilean mercenaries, but there were even men hailing from the far side of the world - the incomprehensible, inscrutable Cathayan regiment forming the commander’s bodyguard.

Although the Middenlanders could not beat their fellow Tileans in the art of fortified camp construction, they could at least (they reckoned) outdo the southerners in swagger and drill. Perhaps this was the reason the drums were beat so loud, the reveille so early, so that the neighbouring Compania del Sole soldiers might know full well that after a day’s marching and a nights drinking, the soldiers of Middenland were still up and at it at first light, and needed no such things as earthworks and palisades to protect them while they slumbered.

As the musicians made their thunderous progress through the little streets formed by the hastily built mud huts and the more carefully constructed tents, the soldiery were busy all around with their morning chores: a draught of morning ale being carried here, a bucket filled with the night’s waste being tipped out there; sacks of grain for the mules and horses hefted onto shoulders while other men simply gathered together their war gear in preparation for the days duties, the more conscientious amongst them scouring off any rust that had accrued in the damp night.


Bernt and Ernust, two sergeants sporting feathers of VMC blue and orange from their bright helms, walked with blades bared through the camp, supposedly inspecting for any sign of laxness or trouble. Yet they knew what the common soldiery did not - that the army would not spend another night camped here but was to march that same day, which in a wild land as this could very well mean battle before nightfall. So it was that their attention was not really on the task, for the army had not been here long enough for pestilence to set in, or boredom to drive the men into real mischief. Neither man cared to meddle in the soldiers’ particular business, overlooking any and all minor infractions they spotted. Both had agreed that the men would be ready when necessary, and in such a satisfactory state as to make a sight indeed when they marched. Why hassle them now?

Bernt wore a morion of the Estalian style, and sported a cloak of fine wool hanging daintily from one shoulder. His black beard was neatly trimmed and his leather bucket top boots turned over at exactly the right height for a fashionable officer in Middenheim itself.  Ernust looked rather different. Taller than his friend, his sleeves and breeches were fashioned from a profusion of cloth, be-slitted and puckered so as to form oversized encasings for every limb. To many eyes he may have seemed the more ridiculous of the pair, yet it was he who best conformed to the Middenland soldiers’ usual mode of dress. For now, the entire Middenland brigade was brightly attired in their provincial blue and white, though no doubt as they went about travelling, labouring and fighting in this land they would become more ragged and dirty.

Bernt had been pondering aloud their exact situation.

“So, tell me if I’ve got this straight - we are here in the army of Bertold van Haagen, one of two brigades and several smaller units in said army, which is itself one of three armies in the service of the VMC, while the VMC is in turn only one part of the Sigmarite Crusade, a vast collection of armies hailing from more places than you care to mention in light of the fact that you said your head was spinning.”

Ernust nodded, which immediately made Bernt wonder whether his friend's spinning sensation had ceased, for surely the combination of nodding and spinning would be overwhelming to a mortal frame?

“The spinning has stopped then?” he asked.

Ernust looked confused.

“No matter,” said Bernt quickly. “I want to pin this down before it all gets muddled again, and I am part way there.”

“Go on,” encouraged Ernust, “continue.” And Bernt did exactly that.

“Major General Karlmann commands our brigade directly, the Condottiere Vincenzo Martelli commands the Tileans, and Van Haagen commands the entire army as its captain general, but is also the governor of the VMC and thus on paper commands the other VMC armies even though in practise and in the field they are ruled by their own officers, while he himself is commanded by Sir Gottfried von Lenzfeld, the Supreme General of the Crusade.”

“You have it, at last,” said Ernust. “I told you it is not so hard. I would have tackled the whole structure of command from the top, working downwards, like a boulder rolling unstoppable upon a steep slope, but I see you have evidenced your loyalty to the Major General by beginning with him and working in quite the opposite direction, as if building a tower out of responsibilities.”

Bernt frowned and let out a groan. “Now you see that’s exactly the sort of talk that got me confused in the first place. Towers of responsibility and unstoppable boulders? What in the good gods’ names do you mean?”

“Erm …” began Ernust.

Bernt cut him very short. “The question was hypothetical”

Ernust smiled.


Leonhardt had stood guard outside the Major General’s tent since the third hour of the morning, his bastard sword at the ready catching the moonlight on its well-oiled blade. Now in the first hour of dawn, as the drummers moved further away and their raucous clatter diminished, he could hear sound from the tent - a belch, a fart and then the sound of water splashing in a pot.

“You up then, Major General?” he asked, his voice a little coarse for he had not spoken in many hours.

“Aye, Leonhardt,” came the answer from the tent. “That I am.”

A moment’s silence, then came exactly what Leonhardt expected - his master’s voice speaking quietly, privately: “May the gods bless us all this day and watch over us.”

Leonhardt silently mouthed “May it be so.”

“Now my faithful friend,” the major general said, “Open the awning and let me see what sort of day it is.”

Leonhardt did what he was commanded, pulling at ropes upon either side of the door to lift the flaps, then took up his post once more.

The major general appeared at the doorway, bare from the waist up, scratching at his neck. “Grey and damp,” he announced. “What a surprise!” Then he turned back into the tent.

“Has any word come this morning from the governor, Leonhardt?”

“No, Major General, nothing since the messenger delivered the paper last night.”

“Then the order stands, and we must prepare. We leave before ten of the clock. Is there anything else to report, Leonhardt?”

“Nothing of import, only that the governor’s Cathayan adviser strayed into our camp after midnight, though what his purpose was none could ascertain.”

Major General Karlmann laughed. “I doubt there is anyone in this entire army apart from the governor who would claim to understand the words or actions of that man, and that includes the governor’s Cathayan guardsmen. He’s more mysterious than an elven mage, madder than a sun addled halfling, and more tortuous in his use of Old Worlder than our good captain Ernust. Let us hope that it is sense and reason he speaks when he talks in his native tongue to the governor.”

It was not really Leonhardt’s place to offer his opinion on the matter, which was a good thing for he would not know what to say. Instead he felt the weight of the blade in his hands and decided here was a thing uncomplicated, yet of unmeasurable importance to him if he was to do his duty in this land, and survive. Let the commanders wrestle with plans and strategies, let the merchant governor tally this and reckon that, and let Cathayan philosopher conjure complexity in thoughts and words.

He would settle for wielding his blade when the time was right.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2012, 06:45:46 AM »
Meanwhile, in the Alehouse

The settlement had only one modest sized alehouse, and although it was structurally sound (being apparently little more than a few years old) it was not exactly welcoming or comfortable. This had changed in the space of three days, as the VMC’s ship’s carpenters had set about improving it upon Bertold van Haagen’s orders. The floor (which had initially been dirt hardened by bull’s blood) was now made of almost gleaming timber, and the walls were freshly whitewashed. It was unlikely that the governor had ordered such merely as a comfort or gift to his soldiers, and probably the building was intended eventually for some other purpose, but for now it remained an alehouse - which the company’s soldiers were glad of.

Just after dawn the place was almost empty - it was the quietest part of the day - except for two VMC mercenaries of the Compagnia del Sole and a handful of drunken labourers who were probably late for their shift.

Gaspare and Frediano’s watch had ended at dawn and both had decided to breakfast on ale and biscuits, call it supper and then go to their beds. Gaspare had waxed lyrical about the tales he had heard about this land, and the horrifying stories of chaos monstrosities from the north, and now although he had not slackened his pace, he had at least changed the topic to something more mundane. Perhaps it was the daylight which had lightened his mood and washed away some of his dark fears.

“Pleasant enough this all maybe, and perhaps unexpected, but none of us should expect to be staying here long. The marching we have done so far is as nothing, I tell you, nothing compared to that which will be asked of us. This land is vast, great wide sweeping plains with little more than rocks and windswept trees, mountains so high that no mortal man has ever climbed them, and plenty of wild things inhabiting every nook and cranny - and that’s not counting what wicked creatures might slither and crawl from the hellish realm to the north.”

Frediano began to wonder if his friend’s thoughts might now turn dark again, a prospect he could not face. After a deep draught of grog …

… he spoke.

“Gass, friend, if you want to sleep then put such thoughts out of your mind. I would ask you about the Middenlanders, for it seems to me that they swagger well enough, and have bravado to spare, but that I cannot yet say whether they will fight. It is all well and good putting on a show of it with drill parades and such, but can they perform on the field of battle? If I am to stand by their side against the foe, I want to know my flank is safe.”

Gaspare also drank deep, wiping his mouth on the orange sleeves of his shirt. When he spoke his mood seemed to have changed.

“I care not, and nor should you worry. Let them do what they may, it matters not to the likes of us. Did you see how we marched today?” he asked.

“Did you see how our brave comrades, even those who had arrived so sick from the sea journey, neither stumbled nor complained, nor even put a foot wrong during the march? How every halberd was free of rust? …

… How well armoured our men at arms were, and proud to wear their armour even on a long march? …

… All that puts those blue and whites to shame.”

Frediano liked this mood of his friends better. He took Gaspare’s now empty goblet from his hand, and slammed both that and his own onto the bar.

“Fill them again, landlord, for we have a toast to make.”

The filling done, the two friends lifted their drinks into the air, neither caring how much beer spilled in the act. Together, and startling the labourers nearby, they shouted:

Aut spoliis laetemur opimis, aut mortem gloriosa. Compagnia del Sole!
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2012, 12:34:08 AM »
An Important Visitor

Bertold had begun to think that this land was entirely barren and lifeless, certainly when it came to people. He had always known it was a wild place, only recently released for the terrible and tortured grip of chaos, but even so he had not expected to march for leagues and see literally no-one - no settlements but ruins, no fields of crops or grazing animals, just untamed forest and great swathes of rocky grass and lichen. Apart from the few little hovels and the single inn here in this almost abandoned village (three old women, one old man and a clutch of orphaned children does not a populace make) he had not seen any dwelling that did not look temporary. In this realm the quartermasters did not commandeer inns and dwellings and assign soldier to this one and officers to that one. Here the army had to make their own dwelling places.

This was the third fortified camp the House van Haagen army had built, and Bertold had to admit he was beginning to like them. Each one was basically the same as the previous, just in a new place: the same pavilions and tents, huts thrown up in the same manner, reassuringly stout looking earthworks in exactly the same design (only altered a little according to the lie of the land). Each one was divided into two major sections for the army’s two component parts - the Middenlanders and the Compagnia del Sol, as well as some peripheral, lesser quarters for the army’s other elements, from the House Van Haagen militia to Bertold’s Cathayan Guard. The VMC Captain Johann had twice now encamped his own forces within the same fortified boundary, his soldiers very much at home carousing with their fellow Middenlanders in the House van Haagen army. Bertold himself had been generously assigned the Compagnia del Sol’s own command pavilion, mainly due to the sorry fact that his servants had not thought that such a thing was necessary, believing their master would be quartered in suitable houses, while he himself had not given the matter any thought at all.

Now, at last, it seemed the army had made contact with natives of consequence, and not mere bedraggled vagrants, beggars and peasants. Word had come only a quarter of an hour ago that a princess (no less!) had disembarked from a norse ship nearby and  requested to speak to the army commander. The messenger, a lithe young woman who at first seemed more elf than human, but on closer inspection was very much human, with hair braided in the norse manner and bright red cheeks, had run into the camp to announce that her mistress approached accompanied by her Amazon guard.

Needless to say, word spread like wild-fire through the camp - a warrior princess and her female guard was not something one sees every day! And what with nothing much having been seen at all until now, it was all the more exciting. Bertold hurried to put on his red cassack, and sent the order for a company of his Cathayans and a company of Tileans to attend his tent. Once they arrived, he requested the officers to array the soldiers suitably and he took up his place outside the tent in eager anticipation.

He did not wait long. His first glimpse was of the banner the visitors carried - a little thing not much bigger than a horse soldier’s cornet - of green bordered with orange. A runic letter was embroidered in gold upon it, as well as an eye. He had seen nothing like it before. Then the party came into view …

... and Bertold saw that yes indeed they were all women. Such a thing might be common amongst the (uncommon) sylvan elves, but not exactly common to the human peoples of the Old World.

The soldiers all around were staring. Two sword bearers flanked the princess, and they were indeed like valkyries, clad in some armour, one even baring her legs unto the thigh! Behind came the ensign and another guard, this pair sporting long chainmail, kite-shields and stout helmets, yet their womanly curves were still very discernable to the soldier’s somewhat starved eyes.

But it was the princess who drew the most attention, for she was a sight to behold. Her hair was folded upon her head in an elaborate fashion, and her armour (what little there was) was the most revealing of all. She carried a long baton of carved wood, perhaps a badge of office, and a great chain of gold hung about her neck, fastened at her waist to a plate fashioned of the same precious metal.

Yes indeed, she was something.

Bertold took a moment to collect his thoughts, then spoke …..

(To see the princess in all her regal glory, you’ll have to wait for the Saint’s Herald newsletter for turn 2. I will put the piece here when it comes out.)
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2012, 06:40:59 PM »
News-sheet Article:

A Royal visit to the brave warriors of the Crusade!

Only yesterday the soldiers of the Army of House van Haagen, in the service of the VMC and the great Sigmarite Crusade, were honoured to receive an unexpected visit from a person of royal blood, in the form of a norse princess, genuine and bona fide, bedecked in the regal splendour of heavy gold chains.

Having disembarked from her ship to perambulate at her regal leisure, accompanied by a splendid guard of amazon warriors, she was pleased to meet with His Excellency Bertold van Haagen, General and Governor in Chief in over all Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie expeditionary forces, business and possessions in the northern realms of Kislev and the Wastes.

A woman of real presence, and a sight to behold for the brave soldiers, she spoke at some length to the governor, both parties arriving at a satisfactory conclusion. Here, no doubt, a new and worthy alliance is about to be born, one of benefit (and profit) to all concerned. Let all lawful people in the north know that the valiant warriors of the Crusade are here to drive chaos from their home, and bring the benefits of civilisation and trade.

Here is the princess, flanked by her sword bearers, her tribal ensign fluttering in the breeze behind. She is elegantly attired in a wool cloak of orange, a blouse of finest red linen, her hair dressed elaborately upon her head, and enough gold about to buy a small ship.

Now that’s what I call a princess!
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2012, 11:56:04 PM »
Bertold van Haagen’s tent, camp of the VMC army of House van Haagen

“How did you fare with the Crusaders?” asked the governor’s trusted companion.

“Not well, Teacher,” answered Bertold, removing the yellow feathered hat from his head. “Not well. It seems to me they often look for fault in my words, that they believe most of what I propose is for profit alone. ”

The old Cathayan stood with his hands clasped in his usual manner when attending to his master in serious conversation.

Even with his own bowl like yellow hat still firmly attached to his head he stood nearly a full head shorter than Bertold, which was not unusual for a Cathayan, though was short compared to the governor’s Cathayan guard (two of which flanked the tent’s door).

“Is it not profit you seek?” asked the Cathayan.

“No …” here Bertold hesitated. “Well, yes, but that does not mean I will not serve them and their cause well as a consequence. They want to defeat chaos, which we must also do if we are to make a profit. So yes we are here for profit, but that makes us no less keen to fight than they are. ”

“Who is it that distrusts you?”

“In truth, it is not that they distrust me, but that they must constantly work to overcome their natural disdain for merchants. They think all men of trade to be middlemen, neither sturdy labourers nor nobles, and they struggle to understand our vital role in this world; if not to understand it then to accept it as a fit profession for a man of worth. Labourers and nobles make form good soldiers and commanders in their eyes, but a merchant - they cannot see where he fits in. From the greatest to the least they look at me askance, as if they are surprised at the VMC’s presence here. I have brought an army of the best soldiers I could buy, and yet they still think me a shopkeeper.”

“Who amongst them worries you the most?”

Bertold did not need long to think. “I suppose of all of them, the only one who might truly make trouble for us is the commander, Sir Gottfried.”

“The bastard from Wissenland?”

“Aye. He suspected me of underhand dealings with the Royal Expeditionary Force, and although he now seems satisfied concerning my innocence upon that matter, he remains somewhat vexed. Perhaps he also harbours the fear that the very mercantile nature of the VMC somehow dilutes the Crusade, weakens it, whether that be in Sigmar’s eyes or those of mortal men.”
“Perhaps he wants a good horse yet will not allow it to eat hay?”

Bertold was used to his teacher’s obtuse way of speaking, and had long since learned how to interpret them. He thought for a while, then smiled. “No, no – I do not think that is it. He knows full well that without merchants and labourers he would have less supplies, and an army cannot fight without meat and drink. He knows that without thriving settlements this land will remain weak and so will all the sooner, all the more easily, succumb to chaos again. It is my own self he is suspicious of.”
“Over a long distance, one learns the strength of one’s horse; over a long time, one understands what's in a person's heart.”
“I should wait then,” asked Bertold rhetorically, “and he will come to trust me?”
“What of the others?” the teacher inquired. “I have observed those I can, but they are hard to comprehend through my eyes. The ways of the west are strange, and their language is at times unfathomable.”
“Ha! Soldier’s talk has you confused!” laughed Bertold. “It is not only your eyes that struggle to know them. They are a disparate bunch - that much is certain. Take Sir Edmund and his fanatical knightly followers, little more than a company of horse in the vanguard, and yet so much involved in our councils. I have not learned why he is here in the north, though I suspect he is driven by some matter of honour - some perceived slight has left him with a score to settle or a quest to fulfil so he can prove his worth. That’s the way of these Bretonnians, they live their lives as if they are a character in a chivalric romance. Still, it is plain to all meet him that he is a man of courage and worth."

"There is also the Rittmeister von Pfofeld," Bertold went on, now decided he would make a list, "who is happy to offer his opinion often enough, but leaves me befuddled with his manner of speaking. There is rarely a word that passes his lips without its meaning twisted by being dressed it up all fancy.”
“Jade must be chiselled before it can be considered a gem," said the old Cathayan.
“Ah …. Oh … Then you think he may become more comprehensible in time? I think this trait runs too deep in him, but we shall see.”
The teacher neither nodded nor spoke, and his expression failed even to flicker. Bertold, as he always did, took that as a yes, then he continued. “Then there is the arch-priest, Mathi. He surprises me as I wholly expected him to dislike me, to dismiss the VMC as unworthy of the Crusade. But he does not. I think it is not that he has seen some good in us, or that our motives suit his view of the world, but that he is so filled with righteous hatred for chaos and love for his god, he cares not what qualities those around him have, how much faith and belief they share. He simply wants to fight, and praise Sigmar in so doing. But I complain too much, for he is perhaps warming to us, even mentioned fighting under the new banner of the VMC on crusade.”
Bertold paused to reckon up who had already mentioned. “Van Dwi remains an enigma, in turns brooding, in turns jesting. He carries a heavy burden, something obvious to those who met him as a youth. I have heard rumours about his past, about foul treachery and wicked deeds done by and against his closest family, but what the truth is, I cannot fathom, nor perhaps do I want to know.”
This elicited yet another of the teacher’s cornucopia of sayings: “The error of but one moment can become the sorrow of a whole life.”
“Well, he at least seems to know what I truly intend, and as such is not so irked by me as the others. I do not think he is here merely to serve Sigmar, but because something drives him towards destruction.”
“Water can not only float a boat, it can sink it also.”

“Hmm.” Bertold was beginning to wonder whether the teacher was playing a game with him. “And there is the Templar Valencia. Now he really is vocal in his dislike of the VMC. Many an angry word has passed his lips complaining at our suggestions and actions. He hates the dwarfs who burned his town, so much so that it seems the fire is still within him. I do not believe he is here to fight chaos, not first and foremost, but to settle old wrongs, and he cares not what grand plans and strategies he upsets in so doing.”

“One mouse dropping ruins the whole pot of rice porridge.”

This comment stopped Bertold. At first he furrowed his brow. “Mouse droppings?” Then he saw the tiniest flicker in his teacher’s serene eyes. “A joke? Yes, I will have to tell the fierce Valencia how you think of him as a mouse dropping, eh?”

The teacher let his fingers dance playfully for a moment, as if five little pairs of hands were clapping in delight!

“But on to other matters. You have watched as we searched this barren and forlorn land for ways to profit. Van Renssalaer has his new mine, and we should soon have the means to carry the goods away safely. Even now the good Captain Johann has found another possible source of profit, if he can persuade the strange inhabitants of this realm that it will benefit them as well as us. And I too intend to dispatch my agent looking to revive a trade long since abandoned but which could profit us greatly if we could revivify it. It seems the Princess Leijonhufvud may be of more use to us than a potential ally against chaos, for I have learned from one of the dwarves that her tribe dwells in the land where the forgotten trade once flourished. Hopefully my agent can gain her agreement to a trade deal - she seemed unperturbed, perhaps even encouraged, by our presence here when she visited the camp. If he cannot persuade her satisfactorily then I will go myself. What wisdom do you have concerning this?”

The teacher proceeded to tell a story: “A bear was picking corn cobs in the field, and stuck one in his armpit. As he put the next cob into his armpit, opening his arm, he dropped the one he already had.”

Bertold laughed loud this time. “Bear’s armpits!” he chuckled. “In this, good teacher, we shall have to agree to differ. The VMC is entirely capable, with so many agents and officers, resources and procedures, labourers and seamen, even several armies, to juggle many cobs of corn. We have done it before - you saw it yourself in your homeland - and we will do it again. Trade and prosperity are unstoppable forces when wielded in our nimble hands. Once this land is cleansed, then you shall see us pile up a very mountain of corncobs. Trade is my arena, my accomplishment, my skill, and although your wisdom is welcome upon any matter, even when you couch it in terms of armpits, I know what’s for the best when it comes to trade.”

The old teacher smiled. “If you have money you can make the ghosts and devils turn your grind stone.”

“Ah yes, teacher. Now that is true.”

Suddenly a messenger arrived at the tent, one of the army’s outriders, his face grave. For a moment Bertold felt a rush of excitement, rather than fear - something was finally happening. Perhaps the war had just turned into the sort of fight he believed it would be from the off? What the messenger had to say, however, did not concern the sound of drums, the glistening of spear tips of serried ranks or flags or the thunderous din of horses’ hooves. Instead he spoke of a rather more insidious threat.

“My Lord Governor, I bring grave news concerning General Valencia and his force ...”
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 08:51:26 AM by Padre »
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2012, 08:48:41 AM »
Several frantic days passed as messages were past between the Crusades commanders. The forces of the Templar Valencia, the Defender of Eichenburg, were put in quarantine and none were allowed to pass in or out of his disease ridden camp. Ever more stern orders were issued (and Bertold was not exception) as the nature of the malady became better known.

Quote from: Bertold van Haagen
I hereby order all officers and men, labourers and other employees of the expeditionary forces of the VMC to shun all camps and travellings parties of the forces of Vance Valencia at all times, and to bar the same from entering any of our own camps or dwelling places, not allow them access to our wells and supplies.

His Excellency Bertold van Haagen, General and Governor in Chief in over all Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie expeditionary forces, business and possessions in the northern realms of Kislev and the Wastes.

Quote from: Mathi Alfblut
Hereby I instruct all parts of the Stirland Volunteer corp to shun all contact with the forces of Vance Valentia due to possible nurgle related infection. The quarantine is to be absolute and upheld until new orders lift it.
At each regimental sermon prayers should be held asking for the salvation of Vance Valentia and those under his command. May Sigmar deliver them.

Mathi Alfblut - Chaplain of the Crusade

Quote from: Bjorkovski Mathison
The foul beast Nurgle has sent a plague of some sort on one of our allies. I Niggrot Foehammer the crusader with acknowledgement of count Gustav hereby orders any contacts with Vance Valentia's forces by any Member of the Berental army or the Niggrot's Crusaders to cease. Anyone who gets in contact with something should stay away from others and go talk to Rahtep or any close by skeleton commanders and wait for purge, quarantine or cure.

The great Sir Niggrot "the green" Foehammer the Crusader and his honor count Gustav Mathison.

But then suddenly unexpected, strange but no less welcome news spread like wildfire around the Crusade. In one moment the army was cured, by the blessed intervention of Sigmar the mighty through the presence of his First Saint. So sudden in fact, that some even doubted what they had heard could be true. These few would come to regret their lack of faith and vow not to dismiss the holy nature of this Crusade again.

Bertold did not know what to make of it. And for once, neither did his teacher. They sat in each other's presence for an hour and yet said nothing. Both were deep in thought.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2012, 09:56:10 PM »
(Agent Fluff for Turn 3)

An Investment: Supplies and Labour. (The VMC at the NRMC)

Four days it had taken, when Willibrord and his escort riders had expected a journey of half that duration. They knew the route, having travelled it once already, but what they had not reckoned with was the nature of the mules. Now they had learned the hard way that the old saying was not fanciful - these beasts were indeed stubborn. Of course the muleteers and labourers knew full well how difficult the animals would be, but they did not know the distance and terrain involved. As a result, with both parties knowing a different but equally insufficient half of the facts, neither was in a particularly good mood when they arrived at the new mining concern, the mules bucking and straining as they had the whole journey. 

Willibrord Stoof, Bertold van Haagen’s chief agent and as such an important officer in the VMC, rode at the head of the column with his two mounted guards. So it was he who first saw the little party of dwarfs awaiting them at the main cluster of buildings. The mines delved deep into the grey mountainous rock, spacious enough to form dwelling places for many of the working dwarfs, but there were also stone houses and timber huts above ground too, something most of the men were glad of from the off. Hardly a man amongst them relished the idea of sleeping underground as well as working there!

The dwarfs had very likely spotted the approaching party while they were some distance away, for central amongst the buildings was a sturdy stone tower, squat by human standards, yet satisfactorily tall enough to offer a good view of the approaches to the mine. Built of the same local stone as the other structures, the tower was obviously fashioned to be stronghold, or more accurately a form of vault. It was always guarded by at least two dwarfen handgunners, their powder weapons as much to allow them to raise the alarm as to shoot attackers. It niggled Willibrord that the dwarfs thought it best to store the most precious of their extracted minerals above ground when they had such an apparently secure mine, and it had made him wonder whether the mine really was safe. The fact that the dwarf miners always seemed to be armed for a fight as well as for their labours gave credence to this concern. Then again, it might well just be the fashion to be always armed in such a wild land as this, and a sensible fashion at that.

The mine’s secondary overseer, a brown bearded dwarf named Baddig Wyrmonger, stood at the fore of the 'welcoming' party, his facial hair neatly braided and an iron pot helmet shoved tight onto his noddle.

“You’ve brought plenty with you then?” he asked.

Willibrord thought this a pointless question, considering everyone there had eyes to see. He chose not to answer, and instead when ahead with exactly what he had planned to say.

“Overseer Baddig, good morrow to thee. I hope all is well here.”

“Well enough,” answered Baddig.

One of the dwarf’s behind him added, “And was so both before and after your interference.” This last was said gruffly but quietly enough not to be heard by any of the men.

Willibrord, dressed in the Marienburg colours of blue, white and orange, and carrying his pistol openly in the manner of a caravan guard, grinned.

“Good, good,” he said, thinking by doing so he might exert an air of authority. “Then if all is prepared for our arrival, we shall lose no time.” He turned in the saddle and began barking orders. “You men, unburden the beasts, store the supplies, then pen the mules. Our dwarfen friends here will show you what to put where. Make haste, so that it can all be done before dark. Tonight you will all eat well, tomorrow the real work begins for you.”

He turned back to face Baddig. “Is that not so, overseer?”

Baddig laughed. “Aye, ye shall all eat fleshmeat and drink strong ale. Then tomorrow we shall see how human muscles compare to iron sinews of a dwarf!”
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2012, 12:37:45 PM »
The Princess and the Governor
(Main Character fluff for Turn 3)

Bertold had not expected a city, of course, but the squalid scattering of low roofed stone hovels was still considerably more meagre than he had ever imagined. Unless his scouts had been deceived and there were other villages hidden away, this was the most substantial settlement, where (presumably) the princess dwelt. In size it was little larger than a collection outhouses on the periphery of his trading house’s compound in Marienburg.

The norse certainly were a hardy, primitive folk. This manner of living suited them. There was no glass in the windows, and most hovels did not even sport a chimney rather a hole for the smoke to choke. And there were signs that they were a somewhat nomadic people, for several buildings looked as if they had been ruins for some time, recently temporarily repaired for use, but no doubt without any real thought of laying down permanent roots. Perhaps in a land so subject to turmoil and upheaval, raids and war, no-one looked at any particular site as their permanent home?
This time the princess was waiting for him, which was as it should be considering several armies of the VMC expeditionary force were at Bertold’s back, and their sudden arrival was very much the action of a fighting force. It had to be, for there were reports of enemy armies in the area, and a gentler approach could only have led to defeat. His soldiers had fought several parties of greenskins, and secured what they could with a mind to defending this area from further assaults and raids. Bertold was therefore here for more than mere pleasantries - he had to explain his army’s actions to the princess, to convince her that with evil armies advancing the only option was such a heavy-handed occupation. The alternative was the destruction of all her people had at the hands of orcs and chaos tainted men.
Princess Leijonhufvud’s female guard must have been about some other errand, for there were few present here. Bertold could see three of the valkyries off to one side, including two two-sword wielding blonde creature who had caught his eye before. What agony and ecstasy, he thought, would it be to share her bed?

This time there was a another champion present, upon the princess’s left, and he was much more what a southerner would expect of a northern hero. He was garbed in scale mail and wielding a heavy bladed thing that was neither axe nor spear but some admixture of the two. A heavy fur cloak hung behind him, and as a crest to his full helm of iron he sported the tribe’s symbol as if he were himself a standard for the princess’s warriors.

Bertold knew who it must be for he had learned what he could of the princess as he travelled to see her. This was Oxenstierna, champion to the Princess, the largest, strongest, and bravest Norse of her tribe. Although his armour hid the evidence, he was deeply scarred by the rituals he had undergone, and apparently he had sworn the Vak'thuss. Bertold had no idea what this meant, but no doubt it was some do or die promise to serve his princess, her people and their gods.

A little way off, standing alone, was a shifty looking fellow with no armour and (apparently) no weapon. He seemed different from the rest of the tribe, a small man by comparison, probably an outsider. Bertold suddenly realised he must be Ridderstolpe the trader, a man he had been informed had travelling with the Norse for some time.

Throughout the conversation that followed with the princess, Bertold sensed that Ridderstolpe’s unease seemed to stem from impatience. Either he was disinterested in what was said or wanted an audience with Bertold himself, or both. His scouts had told him that the trader had many goods stockpiled, and this had intrigued Bertold. What was the nature of these goods, and how were they come by?

Bertold, however, was here to speak publicly to the princess and her tribe. His own guard accomanied him, as well as a strong company of Middenland mercenaries. His Cathayan ‘teacher’ was by his side, and one of his blue-clad gnomish clerks stood ready to record the words spoken.

So he began.

“Most noble and royal princess, I bring you respectful greetings from the warriors of the great Sigmarite Crusade, and from the famed and prosperous Vereenigde Marienburg Compagnie of which I have the honour to command. We have come to your land in arms, this we openly and proudly admit. We have come here to wage war. But let this not dismay you, for our purpose is to drive all wickedness from this realm, and so free it of every taint of chaos. We wish by our courage and actions to allow this, your land to thrive. We hope in years to come that everything you call your own will indeed be yours again, and will be so without the need of our armies’ presence, without the ever-threat of evil encroachment. And that it will be so in health and prosperity.

“I would liken our efforts in your realm unto a troublesome labour from which a child will issue, born out of turmoil and misery, yet a child who will in time bring joy to all, who will gift health and happiness to the land. Your people, like all those who serve the lawful gods, deserve prosperity and security. Wealth brings many good things.

“Let your tribe and our great company be mother and father to this child. Let us nurture this bright future by first driving off all those who threaten it, and then by planting the seeds of future wealth.”

Bertold stepped forwards and knelt before the princess.

“In all humility, I ask of you princess to trust us a while longer, that we might prove our worth to you, and that we might serve the great god Sigmar here in your land as we have been called to do. I humbly beg your pardon for any offence my soldiers may have caused in their desire to cleanse this realm of vileness, and beg of you, truly, to believe that we covet not your land nor your title, nor anything you call your own, only your friendship and trust as we face the great foe of all mankind.”

The princess, a woman who was not inclined to verbosity of a kind that Bertold had shown, glanced from the man kneeling before her to look once again at the honour guard behind him. Perhaps she was considering not only whether to trust these men, but whether they might live up to their bold promises in the field of battle?

Bertold took the opportunity to steal a hidden glance towards the trader Ridderstolpe, which he hoped would indicate clearly enough that he would be happy, soon, to speak.

Ridderstolpe gave the tiniest nod. He understood.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2012, 11:47:43 PM »
Battle for Sundur Forest

Huzzah! At long last I got a game in. Notes taken. Photos done. Bat Rep in the making. But first, some preliminaries ...


Josef had grown so accustomed to the emptiness of these northern lands, that when his eyes finally alighted upon an enemy, he did not at first realise it. Instead he assumed he and Paulus must have come full circle and that the warriors just visible through the trees must be men from his own army, the VMC army of House van Haagen. He may well have been an experienced woodsman and scout, and so ought not to have become lost, but who was to say that the trees here were not beyond playing a few tricks of their own? Not long since this land was corrupted by chaos - perhaps some of that taint still lingered deep in the tangled gnarl of roots and thick bark, enough to make a tree or three mischievously shift hither and thither?

So he was not alarmed when he first caught a glimpse of pike armed warriors up ahead.

But then it occurred to him that not one regiment in the army of House van Haagen was liveried in green, and yet the moonlight filtering through the canopy clearly picked out a green sleeves. No, not sleeves. Arms. Arms of green flesh! 
Josef froze, then he slowly reached back to pluck a quarrel from his quiver, whilst flicking his head around to look at his companion.

“Paulus,” he whispered, “Have a care!”

Paulus turned to look where Josef had been looking, and when he too saw the goblins, he very carefully rubbed the well-oiled hammer of his pistol against the tough leather coat at his shoulder, cocking it quietly and gently.

His sword he kept low, lest the gleam of reflected moonlight on its blade might draw the greenskins’ eyes. Then, as he saw the numbers marching by, crashing noisily through the undergrowth, the futility of cocking his pistol dawned on him. They were not going to fight their way either into or out of this one.

As if reading Paulus’ mind, Josef was already backing away, crouching as he did so and stealing quick glances backwards to ensure safe footing.

Moments later, and now certain they could not be seen or heard, the two broke into a run.

The army camp.

Less than a quarter of an hour later the two scouts approached the army camp’s southern gate. Admittedly somewhat flustered and distracted, both knew how dangerous it was to approach suddenly from the darkness, and so both men slowed to a walking pace.

Two large gabions flanked the gate, little more than a break in the palisaded earthwork the soldiers had thrown up the previous evening, between which stood a clutch of soldiers, illuminated by the lantern carried by one armoured fellow. As soon as Josef and Paulus appeared, the halberds were lowered, and muzzles aimed.

“You there, halt,” came a cry, “Halt if ye know what’s good for thee. What’s the word?”

“The Saint and her Miracle,” intoned the two scouts in unison.

“That’ll be it,” came the officer’s voice again. “Come a little closer, let us see you.”

The scouts obeyed. The officer, wearing a Compagnia del Sole surcoat of blue and red, reached out his hand to signal that they should slow it some more.  “Far enough,” he said. “Now, you two I think I know, Josef and his mate - yes? But this ain’t the gate you left from, nor the one you're supposed to report to. So what brings you back in such a rush?”

Josef had had enough of all the caution and commands. There were greenskins not much more than half a mile away and so no time to pass word from one officer to another. What he and Paulus had to say needed to be said once, quickly, and to the right man.

“Let us pass, we must speak with the Governor General.”

The officer heard the seriousness in Josef’s tone, and saw the look in his eye. Silently, he stepped aside, as did the men with him.

Running through together, it was Paulus who spoke: “Oh, and ye’d better rouse the army, all arm, and do it silently. It ain’t for me to command, I know it, but I'd stake my life this is the order to come. And the sooner it's done the better.”
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2012, 09:39:24 AM »

Just as Paulus’ predicted, the order to ‘All arm’ went out within moments of the report being delivered, and thanks to the scouts timely warning to the officer at the gate, several regiments were marching forth a good few minutes before they might otherwise have been.

The only debate in the Governor General’s tent had been a short one:

They may well merely be a raiding party looking for plunder,” offered Colonel Vincenzo Martelli, the veteran condottieri commander of the mercenary Compagnia del Sole.

Governor General Bertold van Haagen nodded. “Goblins, not even orcs - perhaps nothing more than scouts themselves? Did they see you two,” he asked Josef and Paulus. Both men shook their heads.

Then, a thought occurred to Vincenzo and he too turned his attention back to Josef.

Scout, what were they armed with, these goblins?

Josef pictured once more what he had seen, and remembered also the clattering amongst the branches he had heard.

Pikes, colonel,” he said. “They had pikes on their shoulders.

Vincenzo tutted. “Shouldered pikes in a forest! Only goblins would be so stupid and careless.”

Bertold knew full well that the condottieri had more to offer than a comment on the lazy drill of goblins, and gestured for the colonel to go on.

Vincenzo obliged. “General, this proves it is an army. No scouts, no raiders, no brigands arm themselves with pikes. These goblins were part of a line regiment, and a line regiment means an army.

So gods’ damned close!” cursed Bertold. “Manaan and the Saint preserve us.

And that was when the order went out. The entire Compagnia del Sole would march from the camp, take the three paths through the little clutch of hills to the south, and then form immediately into line of battle

The horse soldiers, mercenary knights from the Border Princes and Bretonnia, as well as Tilean mounted crossbowmen, took the middle path, and as the first rays of the dawn light reached over the hills, they made a fine sight indeed.

Brightly caparisoned in every colour known to heraldry across the Old World, they rode boldly in column of threes, their lances raised, flags and pennants fluttering above their heads, as if they were the finest chivalry of Bretonnia riding forth for their king (and not landless gentry serving a Marienburg merchant house for pay).
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2012, 09:38:44 PM »
The Battle Brews

The hurried departure from the camp by regiments only just roused from their beds did not make for the most orderly arrival at the field of battle. (Game note: We used the ‘Dawn Attack’ scenario with its restrictive deployment rules.) Colonel Vincenzo had ordered a particular battle array, which looked very pretty on paper but here on the field in the morning mist, as the regiments sallied out of the three passes in the hills, the line only vaguely approximated what the colonel had in mind.

The battle would take place across a wide stream (Game note: River rules as per the BRB), at a lonely spot occupied by one thatched house. Some ancient temple ruins lay out on Vincenzo’s right flank, as well as scattered copses and large piles of pock-marked boulders. The far left of the field sported similar terrain.

(Note: Actually, now I look at the picture, the rocks on the far side of this picture are bigger then they were for the game. I realise now that my little three year old secretly piled some extra ones on top to build a ‘house’ while I was preparing to take the terrain shots.).

At the head of his Halberdier guard regiment, Vincenzo cast his gaze all around him, assessing the army’s exact order as quickly as he could. The enemy were already massed ahead, though whether they too had been thrown into mild confusion by the terrain and the early hour he knew not. He had successfully made efforts to ensure his pike regiment was not left out on an open flank where they themselves might be flanked (Game note: Using his 'Tactician' skill I could swap two regiments' starting positions), and was glad to see now that a large mass of rocks would keep the enemy from advancing that way.

Compagnia del Sole [2497 pts Empire of Wolves List]
Condottiere Colonel Vincenzo Martelli (Army General)
Full plate, Sword (axe!) of Strife, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone, Potion of Strength
Command Skill: Tactician
Captain Branzino (Battle Standard)
Cuirass of Perfect Safety
Captain Vurgil (Mercenary Knights)
Warhorse, barding, heavy armour, horseman's mace, shield. Charmed shield
Artillery Captain
Full plate. Skill: Artillerist
Father Gettle, Warrior-Priest of Sigmar
Heavy armour, Great Weapon
Alladrig Bittleboge, Battle Wizard (Level 2)
Graf Martin’s Finger-bone. Dispel Scroll

18 Knights             
Full Command. Heavy armour, warhorse, shields, barding, lances
40 Halberdiers
Full Command Light armour, halberd. Banner of Reckless Spite   
40 Heavy Pike      
Full Command. Heavy armour, pike
31 Men-at-arms
Full Command. Full plate armour, great weapons
10 Border Horsemen   
Light armour, warhorse, light crossbow
2 Mortars    
18 Tilean Marksmen (RETINUE)
Full Command. Light armor, crossbow.

His mounted crossbowmen had moved (as always) to protect the army’s extreme right, but somehow Father Gettle the warrior priest had got himself and the best of Vincenzo’s foot, the men at arms, separated from the main body of the force (Note: Bloomin’ Dawn Attack deployment rolls!)

The halberds, knights and pike were at least together in the centre, although Vincenzo would never have advanced his knights in between the two foot regiments deliberately.

Very annoyingly his superb Tilean crossbowmen were out on the left flank, tangled in the woods there, with the ruined temple and the rocks both ruining any chance of a line of fire on the foe, thus entirely unable to loose their deadly volleys as the colonel had hoped. They would be forced to form instead into a fighting formation, move forwards as best they could and see if they might at least chase off the enemy’s war machine crews. There was nothing else they could really do.

Colonel Vincenzo, his fighting axe held by his side and his shield emblazoned with the Compagnia’s ancient emblem …

… now looked forwards at the foe, and as a breeze gently thinned the morning mist, he could see just what his army was to face. Most of the foe’s regiments were clustered upon the far side of the little house. If anything, it seemed that they had pressed in too close together and were now struggling to untangle themselves. A body of crossbow wielding orcs had even been forced forwards into the river itself, where they were now splashing about in soggy attempts to span their weapons.

2514 Greenskin Raiders list
(Old ‘Treachery and Greed’ Campaign list)

Orc Warboss (Bagluk the Naughty)
Giant Boar, Bartuck’s Heaviest Armour, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Endurance, Sharp Choppas, shield
Hill Goblin Warboss (Iddly the Snotster)   
‘irty Fightin’,  Kaptin’s Cutlass
Orc Big Boss, with Battle Standard
Banner of Mork - ignore first failed animosity 
Orc Great Shaman Lvl 3
Knowledge of Mork
Goblin Shaman, Lvl 2
Da Boss ‘at

40 Orc Boyz
Additional choppa, full command    
10 Bolter Boyz
Crossbows, musician & champion     
40 Hill Goblins
Goblin pikes, full command
25 Hill Goblins
Additional hand weapons, full command
13 Boar Boyz
Spears, Full command
30 Common Goblins
Short bows

2 Spear Chukkas
2 Goblin Rock Lobbers
5 Orc Boar Boyz  Big Uns
With command

Hill Goblin Cannon

The Greenskins centre was truly a heaving mess of warriors (Note: Once again thanks to terrain combined with the 'Dawn Attack' scenario rules). A large regiment of boar boyz was stuck behind the bigger company of riders, who themselves were debating whether they could get their boars to leap the wooden fence surrounding the little house’s yard. A regiment of goblins malingered behind the massive regiment of orc boyz, happy for now that it was not their lot to push their way to the front. More goblins, the pike carrying ones that Vincenzo’s scouts had spotted in the woods only an hour or so before, were stuck behind the orc crossbows wading waist-deep in the stream.

On the left flank a large body of goblin archers wondered if anyone else from the army was going to join them, whilst nervously watching the two enemy regiments directly in front of them advancing to cross the river.

The far right flank of the Greenskin position was where their artillery had positioned itself. They had all been being pulled along together, and when the cry of Waagh! went up the crews simply stopped and set up where they stood. Not the little cannon, however, as it’s crew (perhaps showing off their 'novel' ways to the other goblins) dragged the gun across the stream and placed themselves behind a large rock, angled obliquely across what should be the centre of the battlefield.

They fully intended to tear some very large holes in whatever enemy marched into view beyond the rock, and every one of the crew goblins was grinning inanely at the prospect of some bloody sport.

As Colonel Vincenzo’s Compagnia del Sole stood still for a moment, the officers and sergeants making it their business to see all the men were straight in their ranks and files, it was the Greenskins who made the first move. A horn blew long and loud, it’s blaring hoot emerging from the largest of the boar riders …

… who had decided they cared not about the danger of trying to squeeze through a gate too small and spurred their thick-skinned porcine war mounts onwards into the yard and towards the foe.

The Battle of Sundur Forest was really about to begin.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2012, 09:19:09 PM »
(Now a little break from the battle to see what is going on elsewhere ...)

A spot of fishing?

“So we brought ‘em here, as ordered,” said Big Balligat the Southlander. “Now what?”

It was the Estalian Jualito who answered. “Now we wait, for there’s always a reason. Just have to be patient. We’ll be told what they want us to do.”

They were on the beach of the bay only half a mile west of Wrecker’s Retreat. About one hundred men scattered across the beach and the nigh upon thirty ship’s boats, pinnaces and caravels they had brought here. Most of them were veteran VMC sailors, and of them a good half were Marienburgers, but there was a tiny handful of native norse-men only recently signed up. These last were crucial, for this coast was treacherous to those who were not familiar with it, and the norsemen were needed to pilot the fleet of boats.

“You suppose we’re going to pick up the soldiers?” asked the boy Martell, his blade bared and laid across his shoulders as if he did not even trust the stones in this wild land. “Then take them back to the ships?”

“No lad, the soldiers are busy elsewhere,” said Jualito. “I can’t see them going home just yet. This war’s barely begun. I reckon we have other work to do. The company do not intend to have us made idle.”

Balligat laughed. “If they had no way to profit from our continued employment, then we’d have no more employment. They won’t waste a brass penny. I reckon they’re going to set us to work building again, like they did in Wrecker’s Retreat. It’ll be a fort, I reckon, for ain’t this just the place for it?”

“Not likely,” said Jualito, “we brought more far boats here then we needed just to carry us. Think on it. The few men we brought could have travelled on a quarter of the boats we have. No, we’re here to row and sail, no doubt. We’re here to work as sailors.”


They did not have to wait long before two men picked their way over the rocks to address them. Both were dressed as merchants, though one had clothes cut in the military style (if not armour) and a belted sword hanging at a garish angle from his waist.

“You men, listen up!” shouted the smaller of the pair, a white capped fellow in a green tunic lined with fur. “You will eat and rest in a moment, arrangements have been made. But first you will listen to your orders. You are to become fishermen in the new VMC Scarpa fishing fleet. More men, local men and dwarfs, will join you tomorrow, to make up the numbers and to guide you in your efforts. More boats will come too, as well as the necessary nests and baskets, but what you have brought will form the core of the fleet. This afternoon you are to make all necessary repairs, and our appointed officers will assess which boats can be put to immediate use, which need careening or otherwise repaired…”

He was suddenly interrupted by the booming voice of Balligat, “We didn’t sign up to be fishermen!”

The little man in green held his hand up in a placatory fashion. “You signed as employees of the VMC, and all of you have yet to reach the end of your contracts. You signed as sailors, labourers at sea, and that you remain. Still, we want you to do well and so there will be bonuses for every man in a boat that brings in more than its allotted haul. You were promised lodgings and your daily ration of meat and drink. These you will have. But we offer you now the chance, through honest toil and good seamanship, to earn more than your contracted pay.”

There was silence as the sailors weighed up what had been said. Then the merchant spoke once more:

“What say you, then?”

A chorus of ‘Ayes’ went up as each man decided they liked the chance of extra pay on top of what they had been promised, and time spent fishing was rather more welcome than the terrifying prospect of fighting the monstrous spawn of chaos (something all had feared was a distinct possibility this far north).

Thus it was that the VMC Scarpa fishing fleet was born. Within days, the first hauls of fish would be brought in.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2012, 10:37:04 AM »
Battle Continued, Turns 1 & 2

The five orc Big Uns and their massive boars burst through the gate and then wheeled sharply in the yard to face the bend in the stream. It was a great spot from which to threaten the foe, for if the men were now to advance forwards their flank would be offered to the orcs - well worth the considerable risk of charging across the stream.

But they were the only Greenskins to advance, because vicious squabbling broke out amongst the warlord’s larger unit of boar riders in the rear, distracting them and leaving the forward riders to move off on their own. The huge regiment of Orc Boyz were unwilling to place themselves in the unsteady footing of the rushing stream, and so also stayed put, most of them idly watching the argument amongst the riders off to their left.

Thus it was that the entire Greenskin army, bar the battle hungry Big Uns, failed to move. Still, they had their shamans and their war machines, who now did what they could to make things hard for the foe. At first their efforts were more than a little disappointing - the Foot of Gork was dispelled by the human wizard using a prepared scroll, while both stone throwers failed to work properly and the ten crossbow orcs sent their first volley right over the enemy’s heads! But then the cannon fired and tore three halberdiers apart, while a bolt hurtled from a spear chukka to pierce through three of the mercenary knights, killing them instantly (well, more accurately, one slightly after the other).

If this was just a taste of what was to come, then well and good, but if this was as good as it was to get, then the warlord Bagluk the Naughty would no doubt set about punishing the crews most cruelly for their ineptitude. This was the frightening thought at the forefront of the goblins’ minds as they wound up the stone throwers and spanned the spear chukkas, a thought which naturally led most of them to thinking who they might point a finger at in blame.

Now the drums began amongst the massed rank and file of men …

… and the advance began. Unable even to see the foe, and knowing that any line of fire they could hope for diagonally across the field would be blocked by their own advancing regiments, the crossbowmen formed into a fighting block and began to move through the woods on the far left, their ensign bravely waving the yellow banner at their head.

On the right flank the men at arms and mounted crossbow crossed the stream carefully, both slowed by the slippery rocks and gushing water ….

… while in the centre the pikemen, heavy horse and halberdiers moved forwards, all painfully aware of the massed battery of war machines to the left, the snorting Big Un Boar Riders to the right, as well as the very great danger of being caught by the foe whilst their formations were disrupted by the stream.

Few amongst the veteran mercenaries were pleased at how this battle was shaping up! Magic spluttered and fizzled, while the mounted crossbow felled a lone goblin with a ranging shot. Then the two mortars landed deadly grenadoes right on top of the pikegoblins in the Greenskins’ rear and tore twenty six of the little fellows to pieces, as well as a single orc who was standing a little too close. This was more like it, yet it did not really reduce the fighting regiment’s fears. From where they stood, things still looked bad.

The Big Un Boar Riders (Note: Failed animosity leading to a forced charge), perhaps dismayed at the rest of the army’s reluctance to advance, suddenly decided they would show their comrades what they were made of, and charged right across the stream (without a loss to the treacherous terrain) and smashed right into the front of the halberdiers.

The surviving pikegoblins now set about an argument of their own, probably concerning who got what stuff from the bloodied corpses of their fallen mates …

… while the other goblins turned and moved off to see if they could prevent the foe from coming around the left flank. The two main fighting regiments, Boar Riders and Orc Boyz, simply edged a little towards the foe, just to show that they were willing to fight, but not in the water.

The shaman’s summoning of the Foot of Gork killed a knight this time, then the crossbow orcs did the same. A cannon ball came straight at the mercenary knight captain on his green-barded horse, but somehow he and his mount survived it’s impact - the crude iron roundshot skidded across his shield and landed harmlessly in the dirt. Perhaps the goblins understanding of how to mix powder was lacking? The bolt throwers both missed, as did one of the stone throwers, though the other sent a jagged rock into the pikemen and killed half a dozen of them. If this was all the Greenskin artillery could do, perhaps the men of the Compagnia del Sole need not worry? The goblin crewmen, however, were starting to tremble with fear, for their warlord was obviously holding back his charge, which may well be because he thought they could weaken the foe first. If that was his intention, he must be fuming now, for the Greenskin artillery had done naught but tickle the foe so far!

In the fight against the Bigs Uns, Colonel Vincenzo personally challenged the orc champion and brought him down bloodily, while one more Big Un fell to the rank and file. Four halberdiers were trampled and killed, but this was not enough for the Big Uns to stand against the massed ranks of the mercenary regiment. (Game note: Orcs lose combat by one, and fail LD - general and standard too far away to allow better LD or re-roll). A moment’s hesitation turned to attempted flight, and the last three Big Uns were cut down as they tried to turn away.

The halberdiers surged forwards and find themselves sliding down into in the stream with the massed ranks of orcs right before them - exactly where they did not want to be!

But these veteran soldiers were well drilled, and even in the face of the foe they simply moved to the side and re-ordered their ranks and files so that they were all upon firm ground again, while their comrades moved up on their left to support them. Now the Compagnia del Sole was ready to receive whatever the Greenskins might throw at them.

On the right the mounted crossbow moved further forwards and the men at arms struggled to get across the stream …

… while on the far left the crossbows also moved forwards, catching their first glimpse of the goblins black powder piece behind the rock.

Now the true test was to come, for someone had to charge someone. Surely?

(Note: End of turn 2)
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2012, 09:22:06 PM »
Turns 3 and 4

The goblin archers far out on the Greenskin left suddenly got it into their heads to charge the mounted Tilean crossbowmen (Note: failed animosity), but they failed to reach the foe before their attack ran out of steam. The only other regiment in the entire army to move was the goblin warriors in the rear, who made their way even further towards the flank.

The Greenskins magic proved utterly ineffective, but not so their shooting. The orc crossbowmen slew three of the mercenary knights in very unexpectedly deadly volley, then the cannon killed another. One pikemen fell to a bolt from a spear chukka, but the rest of the engines disappointed once again.

Now desperate to close with the foe before all their own number were killed, the knights chose to deliver a charge against the Crossbow orcs, hoping to push through them and into the goblins in the rear, perhaps killing the two shamans also.

It was a dangerous move, because it put the massive Orc Boyz regiment on the knights’ flank, and it meant entering the stream but they thought it was worth the risk. Surely they could push through the orc crossbows? The countershot volley unleashed by the orcs brought down yet another knight, while another was killed when his horse stumbled on the slippery rocks of the stream, but eight of the original nineteen finally reached the enemy.

As the knights charged, the pike and halberdiers manoeuvred a little to make sure they were well placed to attack any orcs who did cross the stream - hitting the Orc Boyz in the flank while they were in the stream would be a great opportunity!

Meanwhile the foot crossbowmen moved ever closer to the enemy down the left flank - if the enemy war machines ignored them, then they could charge the goblin cannon and put an end to it’s threat.

And on the right the mounted crossbowmen moved much closer to the foe ready to unleash a volley at the Boar Riders (Note: Campaign list rules - light crossbows can move and shoot, but they are Str 3, armour piercing and 20” range) Their shot, however, had no effect. Even further to the right the men at arms finally extracted themselves from the stream.

Magic gave the pikemen the added protection of the Glittering Robe, while a mortar dished out a more harmful effect - its grenado now killed eight more pikegoblins, but the last remaining little green warriors refused to run.

The knights killed three orcs with only one of their own number falling, but the Greenskins stood their ground, and the knights hopes of pushing through were dashed. (Note: Orcs rolled 4 needing 5 to pass the Break Test due to Warlord being close.)

Of course the Orc Boyz now saw their chance - if they could smash into the side of (and through) the last knights, then they could perhaps get past the pike without having to receive a charge in their flank (Note: I told the player I reckoned a bus unit like his would have to go some distance to manage that!)

The goblins, perhaps not wanting to be outdone by their bigger cousins, also charged - but their target, the mounted crossbowmen, fled away as fast cavalry like to do! The Tileans thus escaped the goblin’s clutches, but they did lose two men to the stream as they crossed!

The Boar Riders now picked their way cautiously into the yard in front of them, readying themselves to support their foot-slogging mates in the fight. The orc shaman in the crossbow orc unit now cast the magical boon of ‘Ere We Go’ on the Orc Boyz (Note: rolls of 26 to 25 - aaargh, so close!) The cannon loosed another ball at the pike, again only killing one, while the two bolt throwers tried their chances at the crossbowmen creeping up towards them but both missed. Not so the stone throwers, however - one of them dropped a rock right onto the Tilean footmen and killed seven of their number. This was too much and the unit fled the field, leaving the battle for good.

In the centre of the field the magically boosted Orc Boyz tore forcefully and very bloodily into the knights, their banners flying dramatically over their thick-boned heads as their choppas swung back and forth.

The result was six dead knights, so that only the mercenary captain remained alive.

The knights had at least killed a few more of the foe before they fell - slaughtering the orc shaman, killing the crossbow orcs’ champion and wounding the goblin shaman. The captain’s situation was utterly hopeless and he knew it …

… so he turned and fled. The pikemen would have loved the Orc Boyz to pursue but they did not, they held their ground knowing that to show their flank to the foe whilst the pikemen were on open ground would be crazy ….

… and the Boyz allowed the white clad crossbow orcs do the chasing instead. Not that they reached - a mounted knight could move much faster than them.

The pikemen, however, chose not to charge. It made no difference to them whether they were charged or did the charging - their pike heads would hit home first either way. But of they charged now they would be in the enemy’s flank, and also in the stream which would utterly ruin their formation (Game Note: The campaign rules for pikes strip all special effects away if the unit is in anything but open ground - ‘twould be madness, I tell you, for me to have charged them. Madness!) So it was that they and the halberdiers simply turned to present their fronts to the foe, hoping that the both the Boyz and the Boar Riders would be foolish enough to charge at them right over the stream Game note: The Boar Riders would be taking a lot of dangerous terrain tests, then have the river effects ruining their rank bonus too).

At that moment two mortar grenades landed onto the Orc Boyz, between them tearing seventeen of the Greenskins to pieces. It was a good sign - Myrmidia was smiling on the soldiers of the Crusade, or was it Sigmar, whose cause they served?

The mounted crossbowmen rallied and returned towards the foe, while the men at arms moved onwards, taunting the foe (for they knew goblins could not possibly defeat them).

Just as the lone captain slowed to a halt and bravely considered what he might do next, magical Glittering Robes once again formed on the pikemen.

Things seemed to be going the Compagnia del Sole’s way.

End of turn 4.
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Re: Padre's A6 Fluff (Bertold van Haagen & the VMC)
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2012, 01:08:35 PM »
Turns 5 and 6

Now the goblins who had been marching around in the rear finally had their chance, and (due to failed animosity) unable to restrain themselves, and certainly without their boss’s command, they charged the men at arms.

So too the Boar Riders with Warboss Bagluk the Naughty decided they had had enough of manoeuvres and (also failed animosity) they too charged right across the stream at the Halberdiers. Only one of their fifteen succumbed to the slippery rocks of the stream, the boar and rider washing off downriver, splashing, snorting and screaming. The others failed to notice.

Not to be outdone by their mounted counterparts, what remained of the foot Boyz also charged across the stream and onto the pikes (another failed animosity!)

The goblin shaman’s last act in this life was to cast Sneaky Stabbing on the Orc Boyz, as the effort of doing so involved so much magical energy that several shards sloughed off and coursed through his body, killing him instantly. The crossbows orcs with the shaman failed even to notice his death. (Why would orcs take notice of such a thing? Besides they were too busy arguing over why their volley of bolts had not even scratched the green clad captain up ahead.) Suddenly they were surprised to witness a cannon ball plough into the ground before them, having grazed the captain during its bounce and wounded him. But still he lived! The rest of the goblin crews decided they would ‘sort him out’, but their subsequent attempts to do so were dismal. With the horse’s barded arse right in front of them, the spear chukka crew misfired, while one rock lobber destroyed itself attempting to shoot and the other one missed entirely. The mercenary captain could not believe his luck, and began to wonder if he ought to seek shelter, for the gods obviously wanted him to live, and only a fool would go against divine will.

The men at arms killed the goblin boss and half a dozen of his warriors, losing only one of their own heavily armoured number. Now goblins really don’t like this sort of punishment, and unsurprisingly they fled. The men at arms pursued, but slowed by their weighty cuirasses they could not catch the little greenskins.

Colonel Vincenzo (forgetting yet again that he carried a potion of strength) and his halberdiers now began a vicious fight against the Boar Riders. Bagluk the Naughty tore the head off the Tilean champion’s shoulders in a challenge, sending it arcing through the air to splash in the waters of the stream (+4 overkill!). Although the halberdiers slew three boar riders and lost none of their number, the warlord’s deed had so inspired those who remained that the thought of flight was far from their minds (draw!)

To the immediate left the pikemen with the army standard killed five orcs, while eight of their own number perished. The orcs were not only wielding choppas (in the way they do) but had magic to boost them. The pikemen felt hard pressed by this surprisingly brutal assault by a regiment that had started the combat with their rear rank waist-deep in stream (lose combat by 1) but they stood their ground and fought on.

The men at arms, led by the warrior priest, now chased the goblins even further across the field, while a mortar grenado killed another four of the goblin pike. Perhaps they were simply stunned, but the last remaining pair just stood there.

The real battle was now taking place entirely in the centre of the field, halberd versus choppa and tusk, pike against choppa and choppa. Colonel Vincenzo wounded the orc warlord severely (having finally remembered to drink his potion of strength), himself also wounded but not too badly. The halberdiers, although now failing to harm any boar riders, still had numbers and ranks on their side and the fight went on.

The pikemen brought down three Orc Boyz while two of their own perished, and still the fight went on.

Advertisment: Now I want to present the ale of the battle, and a nice ale it was too. Badger’s Brewery ‘Fursty Ferret’. Yum.

On went the bloody conflict in the centre, Colonel Vincenzo now being further wounded and beginning to lose confidence. A boar rider fell and two halberdiers, but still the boars refused to flee. Losing two more of their own the pikmen killed six more orcs, but spurred by the brave stand of the warlord and his riders next to them, the orcs still stood their ground.

The men at arms now chased the goblins right off the field …

… while a fireball from the wizard felled two more of the crossbow orcs. As a mortar grenado finished off the last of the pike goblins, the mounted Tilean crossbowmen rode up to the fenced yard to see how things fared in the centre.

Suddenly events took an unexpected turn - the Orc Boyz finally broke the pikemen and chased them away (capturing the army standard and unit standard as they did so).

And so it was that the battle came down to the fight between generals and their units. More boar Riders died (three in number) and more halberdiers, but the fight went on …

… perhaps weight of numbers would tell in the end? Though the orc warlord’s giant boar and his tough skinned warriors seemed (somehow) to be holding their own.

End of Turn 6

Result: BRB standard rules - Mercenaries score 1270, Orcs score 799 = Draw (or as we like to call it, a ‘winning draw’ to the mercenaries).
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