Author Topic: Tilea's Troubles, IC2401  (Read 113511 times)

Offline WallyTWest

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2013, 08:34:46 PM »
It’s all about Renaissance Punk.

Offline Falkenhyn

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2013, 07:02:07 AM »
Great job keep it up i very much enjoy reading these.

Offline spafe

  • Posts: 29
Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2013, 08:56:08 AM »
Mwoar, Mwoar!!! :-p

Great stuff. Looking forward to part 2

On the subject of getting it from the players point of view, could you possibly ask them to write small contributions, that way they can give additional views/perspectives on it, even if its only after the fact (such as a general basking in his triumph, or plotting his revenge after a defeat). Obvs if they arnt up for it then nvm but might be an interesting addition to the yarn you are spinning

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2013, 09:45:57 PM »
Thank you gentlemen for you kind words. At last, after 15 minutes here and 10 minutes there for the last 10 days, part 2 of the report is complete.

General Report, End of Summer IC 2401, Part 2

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

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

Thank you Ant for forwarding this broadside to me. Victory is indeed sweet, eh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praemonitus praemunitus (Forewarned, forearmed)

Note: Now I have all the (private) player end of season reports to write. Mind you, they don't have to include illustrated stories and such like, just facts and figures, and a smattering of rumours and reports.
Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline doowopapocalypse

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  • It's nothing, sir. Just a burn from a ray gun.
Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2013, 12:08:48 AM »

I may be the first to ask, but I'd really like a painting tutorial.

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2013, 08:17:52 PM »
The Little Waagh!

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

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

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

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

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

Booglebor snorted derisively. “Great speech, boss.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was nothing going to go his way today?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

The pike goblins were now beginning to receive casualties as the foe stopped shooting at pump wagons and wolf packs and turned their attention on the sluggardly brace of regiments in the midst of the otherwise shattered goblin line.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thank you to Ant (or 'Uryens' to those on this forum) the VMC player for bringing his army to the field. And thanks to his good wife for volunteering to command the goblins. I think she learned a lesson regarding just how useless gobs can be - even when we all forgot to apply animosity! Perhaps some failed animosity rolls might have hampered the goblins, but tbh, it is hard to see how they could have done any worse. After casualty recovery rules were applied, Ant lost merely one knight and 3 handgunners. Not bad. Some might indeed say 'glorious'!
Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Uryens de Crux

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2013, 11:33:55 AM »
I must point out in the name of fairness - it's part of a campaign and I had been able to select the ground I fought on and had about 750 more points than the gobbos.
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

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2013, 11:47:05 AM »
Yes, and those sort of games can be the best fun! It wasn't impossible for the goblins to weaken you.

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

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

You got the ground you wanted by adopting strategy - luring the goblins from the town with a feint, after choosing a good spot at which to deploy. Oh, and you got lucky, for there was a good spot to be had. If I had rolled higher numbers for the NPC force's cleverness of response, they might have come up with some good strategies too. Goblins can be snaky and cunning - even if this lot weren't. Remember that they did not come at first (laziness on their part) and you could have moved away and thus fought in the open, but you stuck to your plan and it paid off.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 06:56:04 PM by Padre »
Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Uryens de Crux

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2013, 07:24:28 PM »
I am brilliant after all  :icon_biggrin:
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

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2013, 10:52:34 PM »
yes, you're brilliant. If you wanna write a piece for this thread that would be brilliant too!
Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2013, 10:08:19 AM »
(They don't all need pictures, do they?)

Miracolo a Viadazza

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

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

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

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

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

“That is all that remains of her army?”

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

“Where is she now?”

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

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

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

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

“Lead the crusade?”

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

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

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

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

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

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


The next day

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

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

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

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

“We have the duchess to thank for that.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not in those words,” countered Gonzalvo.

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

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

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

Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2014, 12:07:27 AM »
Bad Timing, Bad Intelligence and Bad Behaviour.


Upon the Eastern Coast of Tilea

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Watcha think yer doin’?” he demanded.

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

“Me neevor,” said Stenchel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline errantgamer

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #37 on: January 09, 2014, 02:39:09 AM »
Marvellous stuff, Padre! This is the kind of campaign that makes you want to start one yourself, if you hadn't already. It's really neat to see how the interplay between all the different factions and mercenaries makes a great story. The Tilean focus -- something you don't normally see! -- is just the icing on the cake.

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


Offline fauthsie

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2014, 07:27:53 PM »
Just caught up on this! Great stuff!
A new Campaigning home....



Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2014, 08:41:23 PM »
Miserere Mei, Morr

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

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

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

Lector Bernado began by delivering a long sermon in which he praised the god Morr and those who served him in almost every conceivable way. He referred liberally to the two proclamations (the very same he had earlier been so quiet about), and argued convincingly as to why this Viadazan army was filled with exactly the sort of men who Morr would favour in battle. It was not as rousing a speech as those Father Gonzalvo had delivered in several city squares, but the soldiers cheered anyway, and in all the right places. Finally the Lector has reached the part where the soldiers were to swear their oath. A young lad stepped from the ranks and beat a peel on his drum to signal in a satisfactorily military manner that the moment had come, while one of the Lector’s acolytes stood before him with an open book in hand, holding it so that he could glance at the page to read the words.

First he read the oath in its entirety: “You shall swear by the blessed god Morr and all the lawful gods, and by all you hold dear in this world, that you will serve as soldiers in this righteous army upon this holy quest, obeying all civil command, respecting authority both military and priestly, fighting boldly, shirking no duties, and furthermore that you shall not desist from the execution thereof until the chief commanders shall give you leave.”

The acolyte then stepped away and another Morrite priest began to shout the oath in manageable chunks so that the gathered soldiers could repeat the words …

“I swear by the blessed god Morr …”

The assembled soldiers roared their repetition.

“And by all the gods …”


Biagino had studied the army as it assembled. This particular gathering consisted only of Viadazans. It did not include the regiment of Arrabiatti horsemen or the large company of condottieri crossbowmen, paid for by the voluntary contributions that had poured in from the vast throng unfit for service due to age, sex or infirmity, yet who wanted to show their commitment to Morr’s cause. Of course there was also the very valid fear concerning the possibility that their home might be city conquered and destroyed by the nightmarish legion under the vampire duke’s command.

The crusaders had regimented themselves into several bodies, each formed into ranks and files as best they could, some doing so much better than others. They were arrayed around an ancient, refurbished carroccio, which already carried holy, Morrite relics intended to imbue the crusading soldiers with religiously inspired courage, and indeed there seemed to be a tangible aura all about the wagon, like that which pervades the mystical environs of holy shrines at twilight – a crepuscular and magical sensation.

Officers of the city’s militia had discovered an old clause in the regulations which allowed them to provide for the defence of their city if the ruler was incapacitated and no deputy duly appointed. In a bold move, the priests declared that Lord Adolfo was indeed incapacitated by his immersion in other affairs, and so a good portion of the militia had dared to muster – mostly those bold enough to go along with such a dangerous political move. Biagino saw this as no bad thing, for it was the boldest men he wanted in the army. Luckily, Lord Adolfo had not responded to the audacious legal usurpation of his command over these part-time soldiers, perhaps because he himself did not think them fit for purpose, having his own professional guards aplenty, or perhaps because he did not want to push such a large and armed mob of citizens into outright civil unrest, even rebellion. Either way, when they left the city to face the foe, he would not longer be troubled by them.

The militia, armed with pikes, made a colourful sight. Some upon the front rank and the flanking files even sported a smattering of armour.

A large band of dockworkers and seafarers had also joined the cause. Bristling with a wide array of weapons, from curved blades to pistols, blunderbusses to axes, even throwing knives, they certainly looked like they could deliver a torrent of stinging blows. Biagino did not think they were much like soldiers, but he convinced himself this was of no importance, at least not if they proved to be brave, loyal and good scrappers.

The noblest volunteers were a small body of knights, each a son of one of the ever dwindling noble Tilean families of Viadaza. Encased in plate armour, they sported their own heraldic devices, with the Crusade’s Morrite emblem upon their banner.

There was a second body of militia – at least, militia of a sort. Insufficient pikes or halberds had yet been acquired to equip them, and the majority had very little in the way of experience, having drilled only for a short time, gaining a proficiency sufficient to march in relative order into the square and take their place, but to do little else. In an attempt to bolster their spirits, and make them feel as if they were just as much a part of the army as the rest, several of the lesser priests of Morr had taken to drilling and marching with them. One such priest, Father Antonello, had taken on his new military duties with gusto, and Biagino raised his eyebrows when he saw that even as the oath was being read the ‘fighting father’ (as he had become known) had raised his blade aloft as if the enemy were there before them at this very instant.

Bravo, thought Biagino, smiling. That’s the spirit. Then the smile left his face as he imagined Father Antonello, with his sandaled feet and his grey, woollen habit, facing the animated horror of the living dead. Perhaps, he worried silently, ‘spirit’ isn’t enough? Perhaps the wickedness of Vampires is too strong for an army of labourers and citizens to defeat?

He did not allow this sudden darkening of his thoughts to show upon his face, for he had been fighting such doubts for some time and was well practised in their concealment. The most obvious thing the crusaders lacked was Lord Adolfo’s professional soldiers: his numerous men-at-arms, his famed marines with their long barrelled muskets; his hulking ogres who spent peacetime guarding warehouses and palazzos; his train of artillery, commanded by some of the most experienced gunners in Tilea. Some elements of Lord Adolfo’s forces would not be missed, such as the foul half-orcs who crewed half a dozen of his fighting galleys, or the privateer greenskins he had hired on several occasions in the past to prey upon the shipping of rival city states. Notwithstanding these latter elements, the former would have vastly improved the punching power of the crusading army, not just through numbers alone, but because experienced soldiers and marines were much more likely to stand their ground against the horrors the Duke had under his command.

As Biagino and Gonzalvo had finally come to accept during their miserable audience with the Duchess Maria, Lord Adolfo really was entirely uninterested in supporting them. He had not formally protested against the crusaders’ cause, nor put overt legal or financial obstacles in their way, for to do so would place him in direct opposition to the Arch-Lector of Morr’s proclamations (if not, at the time, those of the Lector of Viadaza). But he had no made active effort at all to assist the mustering crusaders, indeed he had hindered at least some of the first gatherings as if they were nothing more than illegal assemblies by the dregs of the city. He had contributed not one spoonful of powder, not one pike head, not one horse’s shoe nor a single nail. The militia regiment of pikemen was paid for with the religiously inspired contributions of rich merchants and respectable citizens, who had also encouraged their sons, servants and neighbours to muster despite no order from Lord Adolfo. Even the silk for the flags was gifted by a Cathayan merchant based in the city. Lord Adolfo’s utter lack of support, along with his public comments and rumoured slanders at court, had made it clear that he, commander of the ‘true’ army of Viadaza in defence of the city, believed he had no use at all for a rabble of loutish labourers and citizen zealots.

Thoughts of the meeting with Lord Adolfo and the duchess stirred Biagino’s memory of a nightmare that had tormented him in the darkest hour of the previous night. In the dream he was once again petitioning the duchess, though this time her demeanour was somewhat disturbing. She scrutinised him with cold malice in her eyes, every trace of the gentle respect born of her nobility gone. When he spoke, she smirked cruelly. When he pleaded, she laughed mockingly. Lord Adolfo sat gazing at her all the while, quite ignoring Biagino. It was obvious he wanted her, perhaps as a wife, perhaps merely to satisfy his base lusts? The more Lord Adolfo stared, the more his face took on the semblance of an orc – his teeth becoming crooked and overlarge, his eyes reddening in the shadow of a bulging, misshapen brow. As Biagino’s faltering attempts at persuasion grew more feeble, Lord Adolfo, saliva dripping from his cracked and curled bottom lip, simply stared and stared some more. Then, when Biagino’s words finally dried up, just like they had in the waking world meeting, the duchess did not thank him for his concern and dismiss him politely – as she had done in the real meeting - instead she launched into a tirade of abuse, listing his sins (both old and recent), his many faults and frequent mistakes, even his most private failings, to show that he was unworthy, too sinful to serve a god, too weak to command men, to foolish to survive the onslaught of Miragliano. As her voice turned into a shriek, unpleasantly counter-pointed by Lord Adolfo’s grunts and groans, Biagino had fallen from the dream to arrive sweating and shivering in his bed.

He shook his head, breathed deep, then joined in the last words of the oath,

“… until the chief commanders shall give you leave.”

« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 09:38:54 PM by Padre »
Photobucket has now re-destroyed my pictures, so the first half of my collected works thread is no longer working again. To see my website version of the campaign thread, with fully functioning pictures, please go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2014, 10:16:58 PM »

A letter .....

This to the Most Revered and Holy Arch Lector Calictus II, sent from Pavona

Before I make known what I have to tell, I wish to profess my complete loyalty to the Holy Church of Morr and the Arch Lector Calictus II. I remain the church’s most humble and sincere servant and wish no one to believe that I could ever harbour any schismatical tendencies nor heretical beliefs. I aim only to report what is being preached and promulgated, professedly in the name of holy Morr, by the priests and brothers who serve the Pavonan Lector, Mauro Capolicchio, and the civil officers who serve Duke Guidobaldo. I gain no satisfaction from what I have to report, only from the fact that I am able to reveal unto you the true state of affairs here in Pavona. I wish only to appraise you of how things currently stand so that you may act in light of certain knowledge rather than relying solely upon muddled rumours and third or fourth-hand accounts.

The heretical movement here in Pavona began innocuously enough with the growth in adoration of holy Morr. Increasing numbers of Pavonans dedicated themselves to his praise, devoting more hours each day to this worship, while others took to scourging themselves to wash away the stain of unworthy thoughts and desires. They flocked to his temples on holy days, the gathered crowds swelling to such a size that those who came late could not even enter such was the press of people bursting from the doors.

If one had enquired as to why such a new and holy fervour had gripped the citizens, most honest men would have answered that it resulted from the fears conjured in the common mind by the several threats presented by the vile Vampire Duke, Khurnag’s Waagh and the Brutes of Campogrotta. Others, more proud than fearful, may have declared that such devotion was only right and proper amongst Morr’s favoured city and its blessed inhabitants. In light of my own experience, I would add that there was (and remains) also the need to show conformity to the will of the city’s rulers. None can hope to prosper in Pavona if they are not outwardly and firmly Morrite. Apprentices are examined upon the articles of their faith, servants instructed daily, and before admittance to the city all foreigners must be interrogated to discover if they possess the necessary understanding of the truths of Morr. All of which would be to the good - such that Pavona could be considered a model state that all of Tilea should aspire to emulate – if it had gone no further.

Yet this was only the beginning. What could have indeed been the best example of holy devotion grew into something more. Duke Guidobaldo, who all Pavonans look to please in hope of favour, let his own theological thoughts be known. He declared how he saw the heavenly realm as macrocosm to our earthly microcosm, which one might suppose is a commonly held and respected belief: how the gods rule over their heavenly domains like rulers govern their states here within the earthly realm. More accurately, however, Duke Guidobaldo likened heaven to a perfect form which his own city state mirrored, if imperfectly. He declared himself to be the worldly equivalent of Morr, and his officers a reflection of the other gods. Both gods and officers wielded power over their own domains, but all bowed to the authority of their rightful lords. As Pavonans bowed to him, the Duke declared that the gods bowed to Morr.

When this was met with barely concealed confusion, he explained his thinking further, and in so doing, re-awakened an ancient heresy. The Morrite Lector of Pavona, who ought to have guided the Duke as to the church’s divinely inspired teachings concerning the heavenly pantheon and its myriad spheres, each one being a particular god’s domain, each one reflected (for good or bad) in the world, instead supported the Duke’s pronouncements. Furthermore, the Lector took it upon himself to search out precedents in tomes both canonical and apocryphal, until he and his most scholarly priests could present a case that seemed to support the Duke’s beliefs completely. This so satisfied Duke Guidobaldo that he proudly declared his priests to be the most enlightened in the world and commanded them to instruct his people in the truth. “Preach and teach!” he cried. “Mine own people shall know the full glory of Morr.”

And so it was that the people of Pavona came to see the heavenly pantheon in a new light. Not the light of truth, nor wisdom, but a tainted light, dim and weak, which illuminated only that which their Duke (and now they themselves) wanted to see, and left in shadows much that they should know.

Put plainly, and as ever I strive to write so, they believe thus: Morr is the god of death, ruler of the afterlife, the realm of the dead, and all mortal souls belong to him. This far they have not strayed from the truth. But then they add that all other gods, whatever their domain - be it war, trade, the law, or elves and dwarfs, the mountains or the sea, even murder, corruption or chaos – are masters of something earthly, something that will end in time, either through the death of all mortals or the very end of the world. When their domains ceases to exist, then they become powerless and forgotten. The demise of the mortal races and the earthly realm is their death. There can be no king of Bretonnia if there is no longer a Bretonnia, only a pretender to a non-existent throne. Such a man would be a fool, clutching to a power not merely faded but no longer real. Thus fare the gods when their own domains are ended. Their office is their being: Myrmidia is war, Mercopio is trade. Without their office, they cease to be.

Morr, however, is no such creature, no such god. Morr is death. His domain is that which houses the souls of the dead – for ever more. His dominion exists for all time, immemorial and eternal, for there can be no second death. When a mortal dies, they are dead forever, and so are subject to Morr’s rule forever. Morr is the only eternal god, he remains when all the rest are lost in the mists of time, when the other gods themselves have forgotten what they once were. And finally, when the other gods’ souls give up all that is vital within them, then they too join the ranks of the dead and so fall under Morr’s dominion.

Morr, the Pavonans say in their every prayer, is the one, true god.

Such heretical beliefs are only made stronger by the Pavonans’ victorious conquest of Astiano, for this petty war was fought since they dedicated themselves wholly to Morr, and their success is considered a gift from Morr rewarding them for their faith.

They do not yet think of themselves as schismatic, having not denied the Arch Lector’s authority, nor declared themselves as separate from the Holy Church of Morr, rather they see themselves as its most perfect and enlightened servants. Yet such is their pride and arrogance that I think it will not be long before they break away from lawful authority. Their heresy is in some ways subtle, for even now they do not deny the living power of all the other gods. They do not tear down statues of the other gods, nor desecrate their shrine, nor even do they mock them and their servants. They accept that when merchants make the proper sacrifices to Mercopio while his priests intone the correct rites, that their business will indeed prosper. They understand that a soldier who prays to Myrmidia the night before a battle, then marches with like minded, prayerful soldiers, will indeed fare better on the field of bloody battle, with victory even more likely when their army is accompanied by Myrmidian priests. They know that even foreign gods can affect mortal lives should they choose to do so. None of this is denied by them, but they see these gods as lesser beings, their worldly manifestations as ultimately doomed.  All gods but Morr have become in their eyes mere demigods, little more than saints, for every god but Morr is diminished by their inherent mortality. Thus they have themselves left off the proper respect of all the lawful gods, merely praying to them to intercede in their worldly fate, while the only god they worship is Morr.

None of them seem to recognise the sin of pride in their attitude, which Morr ever frowns upon. None accept that Morr and his holy church command them to give unto all the lawful gods their due respect. None now accept the holy church’s teachings concerning the ordering of the universe, from the heavenly realm to our temporary abode. There is no balance to their faith. They have become like giddy fools at court who pour unwanted flattery at a wise king, who thrust titles upon him that he does not want nor rightfully possesses. They would serve up heaven as a feast to Morr and expect him gluttonously to devour it all.

If I were to be kind and forgiving I might say that the Pavonans’ faith simply burns too bright, but that would be to make them appear innocent and honest. No, they are vain and greedy: they wish Morr to be the only god, and they themselves to be his favoured children, equal unto the other gods because those same gods are no less mortal than they.

This is heresy.

Your humble and most obedient servant, Brother Callisto Valli of the Order of the Sorrowful Raven

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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2014, 12:48:30 PM »
Bad Timing, Bad Intelligence and Bad Behaviour.

Prologue, Part 2

Gurmliss had been frogmarched through the camp by two hulking orcs wielding viciously sharp choppas. Being forced to walk quicker than his short legs were accustomed to was not what annoyed him most, it was the jeering from every greenskin he passed. He was being treated like a coward - worse than that, like a coward who was about to receive his punishment. He had led his pathetic force against the Tileans, to test them, probe them, discover their strengths, their weaknesses, and had done so despite the fact that he had known full well his army would be defeated and furthermore that he himself would most likely be killed. He had done so because it would prove him to be no coward, instead he might possibly learn something useful, and at no real cost to Warboss Khurnag.

So it was he left the massacre and rode fast northwards to report the battle. Khurnag had listened, Gurmliss was thanked (!), and the Waagh had begun its march south. Either Khurnag actually relished the idea of fighting such a foe, or he wanted his warriors to think he did. Gurmliss suspected the former. Yet, now something had gone wrong. Perhaps a rival had persuaded Khurnag to change his mind about Gurmliss’ actions?

He arrived at the orcs boys’ encampment to discover quite a crowd had gathered (to watch the entertainment?). His two escorts prodded him forward into a ring of glowering orcs, most of whom were scraping their steel choppa blades together to emit an awful squealing and squeaking. It was not exactly a reassuring sound.

Khurnag was there, garbed in heavy iron plates almost from head to toe, with two goblin scout bosses at his side. Gurmliss knew the goblins, and neither was what he would consider a friend: the first he had once bloodied in a squabble over a barrel of wine, the second he had once chased off from a Tilean’s corpse so that he himself could loot it. Khurnag was grinning, as usual, for his fangs were so large they forced his lips into that shape.

Warboss Khurnag clanged his war axe and choppa together to silence the boys, then narrowed his already small eyes as he fixed them on Gurmliss. “You said the gobbos are all dead,” growled the warboss. “You said they were blown to bits. You lied. They’ve been found, sittin' in Pavezzano just like we left ‘em.”

This was not one of the possibilities Gurmliss had expected. Not at all. It was an impossible nonsense, for a start, for he had witnessed both the goblins' march from Pavezzano and their subsequent massacre with his own eyes.

“Who says de gobbos is still alive?” he asked, trying hard not to sound afraid.

Khurnag thrust his choppa at one of the goblins next to him, causing the little fellow to jump back to avoid being sliced. Gurmliss laughed, praying that such apparent confidence must surely help turn the situation around. He looked the goblin scout boss in the eye.

“You saw Pavezzano, did you, with our gobbos in it?” he said. “Where? Where exactly?”

The scout boss scowled. “Not more’n four miles from ‘ere: gobs ‘n walls ‘n engines ‘n all.”

Gurmliss laughed. “That ain’t Pavezzano, not if it’s four miles away. Pavezzano is leagues an’ leagues aways – days an’ days to march. You saw summat else.”

Grunts and snorts now eminated from the orc boys gathered around. The scout master shouted his answer, trying to inject a tone of mockery into his words (but failing to completely to hide the fear). “So you sayin’ dere’s two forts filled wiv gobbos on dis 'ere coast? I don’t ‘member passing one when we came up norf.” He turned to his comrade, “D’you, Jabble?”

Jabble’s eyes went wide as he realised this meant he too had to speak in front of this rather unsympathetic crowd. “N .. no,” he stammered. “Dere’s no ovver fort. Just Pavezzano.”

The first goblin grinned. “See? One fort. Dat’s all dere is. It’s not me who’s lyin’ ‘ere, it’s you. You ran away from Pavezzano an’ made up de rest.”

Once again Gurmliss laughed, although this time with less feigned confidence. “It’s you who’s lyin’, an’ yer so thick you don’t even know yer doin’ it …”

Khurnag grunted, which immediately silenced the arguing gobbos. “We’s got to get to the bottom of this, ain’t we boys? What a riddle eh? Either there’s a whole other gobbo fort appeared out o’ the blue, or Pavezzano has up and jumped along the coast, or brave Gurmliss ‘ere can’t quite remember where he ran away from? I know which one I‘d lay monies on.” A growling laugh rippled around the circle of orcs. “Tell you what, ‘cos gobs is gobs an’ there all as useless as each other, I’m not gonna decide who’s right. Nah, I’ll send Gurmliss to the fort. If the naughty goblins there ain’t ours then they’ll likely kill him. An’ if it is Pavezzano, then they’ll kill him for running away. Can’t do better than that, eh? You’s got two options to take yer pick from, Gurmliss.”

As the rippling laughter re-doubled, Gurmliss stood with his arms crossed. The two orcs guarding him seemed disappointed – perhaps they were looking forward to cutting him up into pieces?

Battle report to follow …
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 11:08:06 PM by Padre »
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2014, 08:41:03 PM »
Bad Timing, Bad Intelligence and Bad Behaviour.

The Battle, Part 1

Scenario Rules

Due to Khurnag’s careless assumption regarding the identity of the Greenskins at the fort, his Waagh is currently marching by in a long, drawn out column, with little thought given to battle readiness. Thus in the game, which begins as the first accurate report regarding the fort is delivered to Khurnag, his Waagh will make a staggered arrival on the battlefield. The Waagh list is divided into ‘Peripheral’ units (scouts, lighter, faster units) and ‘Main Battle Line’ units. The former are all labelled ‘A’, the latter ‘B’. The following table will be used to determine what arrives on Khurnag’s table edge at the start of each turns.

1st turn 2D3 ‘A’ units, chosen randomly
2nd turn 2D3 ‘A’ units, chosen randomly from those which were still off the field, of which D2 could be swapped for randomly chosen ‘B’ units if the player wished.
3rd turn onwards 2D3 units, randomly chosen from those remaining on either or both lists.

Characters (labelled ‘C’) can enter the field on their own by rolling 4+ and using up one of the 2D3 slots above. Or they can arrive with an appropriate unit that has already arrived if they roll a 3+ (again using up one of the unit slots).


The Battle

Gurmliss was not the only one from Warboss Khurnag’s greenskins who made their way to the fort. Several other riders had meandered in that direction as they made their general way south. He already knew he was right about the greenskins there, because moments ago a single wolf rider had hurtled past him screaming about enemies, no doubt hoping to turn the rest of the Waagh in this direction. Gurmliss’ chariot trundled along beside another, while he spotted the body of wolf riders from which the lone rider must have originated to his left – a little mob led by a particularly vile goblin named Clabtoe. A pump wagon, very likely just here by chance rather than design, was rolling along in a clackety fashion to his right.

It seemed the enemy were already alerted, for they had formed into companies, crewed their engines, and lined the fence with missile troops. Gurmliss was not happy about the number of engines they had, especially the lines of muzzles, big and small, he could see resting on the rickety fence – cannon, swivel guns and hand guns. Guns were bad news for chariots. Guns behind fences were even worse.

The defences included several little redoubts, one of which had a small piece of artillery mounted at it (and a crewman who looked remarkably like Gurmliss – could be his twin brother!). Beside the cannon were some mean looking orcs with crossbows. Advancing on this foe was going to hurt, thought Gurmliss, at least it would for those unlucky enough to approach first. Once the Waagh came up properly and Khurnag’s warriors got over the fences, it would be quick, easy (and bloody) work, for the Waagh vastly outnumbered this petty tribe.

Yes, he decided, victory would surely be Khurnag’s, of that there was no doubt, but those who went in at the front would not be around to enjoy the spoils. There were even half a dozen brass swivels, crewed by orcs, right beside the only gate that Gurmliss could see – a gate so positioned that to enter he would have to ride right past them.

The handguns were wielded by a ragged band of small goblins, off on the enemy’s left flank …

… while inside the fort were two larger bodies of fighters, one an orcen company, the other gobbos. The orcs looked like seafarers and for a moment Gurmliss wondered if these were the same orcs who had brought the vanguard of Khurnag’s Waagh over the Gulf from the Badlands, but that made no sense because most of them had been pressed into service in the Waagh, their boats and ships abandoned. Besides, why would those greenskins get themselves into a scrap with an army they knew to be vast?

The largest enemy company, a mass of goblins, looked wilder than most goblins. They were armed to the teeth with every sort of weapon, but mostly pistols, boarding axes and cutlasses. They had to be pirates.

A second artillery piece sat upon a fortified earthen mound above and behind the outer defences. It was much larger than the one down by the gate, having the look of a looted dwarfen piece. It was commanded by a cloaked orc whose head was enclosed in a battered, bloodied metal helm – likely from whoever it was he last butted in the face.

Although it was hard to make out the details it looked like many of the greenskins inside the fort were engaged in an argument. No surprise there, Gurmliss thought. This day would go a lot better for him if the enemy was fatally divided. Yet as Clabtoe’s wolf riders began to close on the walls it became obvious that not all the enemy was bickering - the crossbows and gunners by the gate were busying themselves. When the cannon’s blast came it was loud enough to make Gurmliss’ wolf team jolt his chariot. The effect on the wolfriders was somewhat more serious, and combined with the flurry of iron-tipped bolts that issued from the crossbows, it caused the surviving wolf-riders to flee.

Gurmliss grinned. He had never liked Clabtoe so he did not feel bad it was him who was stung first. Glancing behind he now saw that the galloping goblin wolf rider had successfully summoned several companies of other riders from the Waagh. No less than Warlord Khurnag himself had arrived with his guard of Boar Riders, while Thagger’s Big Uns came up beside them. A boar chariot also trundled within view, as well as a goblin shaman whose name Gurmliss had never managed to pronounce (admittedly not having tried to do so often: ‘you’ or ‘him’ usually sufficed).

Khurnag was riding his giant boar Butter, whose oversized tusks were rivalled in the little herd only by the curved horns on Khurnag’s helmet. The warboss’s boar rider guard carried his personal standard, a pole adorned with the rotting skull from the minotaur Khurnag famously felled during the Battle of Foulmire.

Thagger’s Big Uns thundered up on the flank, their heavy hooves making more noise than Khurnag’s Guard who had thrice their number. Their own ragged banner had once been the personal standard of the Badland’s Warboss Gravell the Red, who had been pushed from his wyvern mount by Khurnag, then skewered on Thagger’s spear. That was the day Khurnag had declared Thagger should command his own riders. Laughing, the warboss had added: “I don’t want to have to do all the batterin’ and bashin’ then ‘ave you stick yer spear in and spoil my fun before I’m done.”  (Thagger’s nickname amongst the Waagh’s goblins had been ‘Spoiler’ ever since).

Now that Khurnag was on the field, most of those who had previously been milling about began to move more directly towards the foe, with Khurnag and his boar riders moving as fast as they could. Gurmliss himself, eager despite the gnawing fear in the pit of his stomach, to repair his reputation in Khurnag’s eyes, was right out in front, his hurtling chariot bouncing so much he had to grip with all his might.

Meanwhile the arguments were apparently raging on inside the fort. The sharp retort of a handgun or two rang out and Gurmliss felt his throat tighten as he anticipated leadshot tearing through him, but the shots were aimed at targets within the fort! An orc fell screaming, then several others ran out to hack furiously at the handgunners, killing a good number. When the cannons boomed, once again making Gurmliss jump, they aimed not at him but at the boar riders, felling one; the crossbow orcs also chose not to trouble his chariot, instead bringing down another boar rider.

Behind the vanguard more regiments from the Waagh were arriving on the field, only to end up in an altercation with Clabtoe’s recently rallied wolf riders. Gurmliss learned later that Clabtoe had declared that he was leaving, saying that he did not come all this way to fight “orcs ‘n gobs” in a rickety fort with” likely no loot at all up for grabs”.  He came to kill men for gold and silver, not to squabble with greenskins like everyone did back home. The newly arrived troops were somewhat annoyed at this exhibition of truculence by the goblin boss, and took it upon themselves to convince (in a bloody manner) him and his riders to turn around. As the boss of the pike goblins put it, Clabtoe and his lads were going to attack the fort, and they were going to go first. What resulted was a messy squabble (not dissimilar to what Clabtoe had claimed he did not like about back home) which meant the newly arrived Ogres had to waste time marching perpendicular to the battle front just to get around the riot.

The fort’s defenders now did something that Gurmliss really did not expect – the goblin handgunners climbed the fence and ran out towards Khurnag’s Boar Rider Guard!

Perhaps they were simply trying to get away their supposed allies within the fort, having lost five of their number to the orc pirate’s blows? Certainly their action was one they would have done if they had been in their right minds. Meanwhile the orc swivel gunners unleashed a volley of sangrannel, only to witness two of their own barrels shiver into pieces and kill gunners wielding them. When the intact guns failed to visibly harm any of Khurnag’s warriors Gurmliss assumed that their powder must be rotten. The three surviving orcs were momentarily stunned …

… then frantically began stuffing powder and shot into their barrels.

(To continue …)
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #43 on: February 04, 2014, 09:32:59 PM »
While the pirate orcs loosed a sting of pistol shots, bringing down one of Khurnag’s boar boys, and a cannonball smashed the chariot behind Gurmliss’ own, more and more regiments from the Waagh were arriving at the field of battle: boar chariots, spear chukkas, a big regiment of boys (although not the Waagh’s largest) and the Waagh’s army standard bearer Big Boss Malkey the Fist.

Not that many of these units made much headway, as the argument involving Clabtoe’s wolf riders and the pike goblins flared out to draw in several other bodies. Two orc boys died to goblin arrows, then two wolf riders died before they could escape the vengeful orcs’ wrath. At the real fighting front the Spoiler’s boar riders chased after the goblin handgunners who had run off after suddenly recognising  the utter insanity of their decision to leap the fence and head out on their own. Khurnag led his own much larger body of boar riders to charge the crossbow orcs at the little gate, losing one of his boys to a fall as they tried to negotiate the fence.

The crossbow orcs were hacked apart quickly and efficiently, until only one remained …

… who then turned to flee, being chased down by Khurnag and his lads. Gurmliss watched as the orc war boss and his regiment of riders’ momentum carried them into the little wooden bastion containing the foremost cannon, where they set about the goblin crew and their bully with glee.

A thunderous boom sent an iron roundshot over the boar rider’s heads to bounce across the field and tear an ogre leadbelcher in two, but Khurnag and his boys did not let it distract them as they tore the terrified cannon crew to pieces. Gurmliss was not the only one watching them, as inside the fort the goblin pirates stared with sick fascination (and some gut wrenching trepidation). They readied their ranks and files to face Khurnag as best they could, their shattered ship’s wheel standard held at their front.

More and more elements of the Waagh were arriving to add to the confusion and general milling about at the rear of the greenskins’ line. Another pump wagon trundled onto the field, as well as a large body of mercenary ogres.

Growing more crazed by the minute, Clabtoe persisted in his disagreement with every other greenskin regiment around him, so that the ogres had to march around the growing riot up to where their recently battered cannon wielding comrades were.

Undaunted by a flimsy fence, Khurnag led his boar riders in a charge against the goblin pirates and was himself bloodied in the thigh by a shiver of wood as his boar Butter crashed through the defences. Another boar rider fell to the goblins’ countershot, but when the riders hit they scattered the goblins and sent them hurtling away in panic. Unwilling to chase such a pathetic foe, Khurnag steadied his lads and ordered them to turn to face inside the fort. There they saw that Gurmliss had manoeuvred his chariot through the gate, while the last three enemy swivel gunners had destroyed the pump wagon.

Now the last of the foe were surrounded on two sides by Khurnag’s Waagh, and not only from outside their defences.

Khurnag was about to bellow ‘Waagh!’ and charge in, when instead his boys began squabbling over the looted pistols they had taken from the fallen goblions. Still, there were others who were keen to get stuck in, including the Spoiler and his lads. The trouble was the fence and Scarback’s orcs proved a very nasty combination, and four of the Big Un boar riders were brought down. Gurmliss, seeing his chance to show Khurnag that he was made of the right stuff, charged alone into the swivel gunners (happy in the knowledge that they had had no time to reload) and killed all three of them). He held back, however, from charging the large regiment of orc pirates, for he wanted to go in when Khurnag did.

There was a momentary pause, the only movement being Sea Boss Scarback’s pirate orcs turning to face Khurnag, then with a cry of “Waagh!” in went Khurnag and his lads, joined by Gurmliss’ chariot. As they crashed in, Khurnag and Scarback found themselves locked in personal combat with each other, while all others stayed out of their way.

Sea Boss Scarback could not hurt the mighty warboss, but Khurnag’s huge cleaver bladed spear bloodied the orc pirate. The Boar Riders and their mighty mounts tore into many other pirate orcs, with Gurmliss’ chariot also cutting several down. Perhaps the pirate orcs regretted their lack of armour? More likely they just died cursing everything. Whatever the last thoughts of the dying, the still living broke and ran, only to be run down and ground into the dirt by chariot wheels and boars’ hooves.

The battle was ended. Sea Boss Scarback’s Greenskin Corsairs were no more. And still more regiments of the Waagh were arriving on the field!

(Note: Although this battle is described in a very story like manner, it was indeed a normal tabletop game with my mate Duncan and I staying up stupidly late in the Christmas holidays, drinking slightly too much beer (as we felt obliged to do), and getting the usual amount of rules wrong – but not caring. What might appear to be story driven arguments and actions in this account are all in truth retrofitted from the events on the tabletop: mostly due to me having to invent story reasons for ill-timed episodes of animosity. Interestingly, although I was worried about how to explain the silly level of animosity shown on both sides, at the time of writing it actually proved extraordinarily easy to come up with reasons for greenskins to fall out with each other!)
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2014, 07:28:52 PM »
I think the bandwidth problem with my photos may be a one off. It resets tomorrow - I didn't make it by 5 hours, now that's not bad. I'll see what happens next month and maybe upgrade if necessary.

Edit: And the images are back. Hurray!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 05:19:48 PM by Padre »
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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #45 on: February 15, 2014, 06:38:56 PM »
(Prologue to a Battle)

Biagino watched as the army marched across the bridge at Pontremola to the northern bank of the River Tarano. The crusaders’ military commander, the condottieri general Urbano D’Alessio, had declared the land on the far side of the bridge to be the better place to make a stand. He did not say why (and why should any general worth his salt have to?) but Biagino and several other priests secretly agreed that the decision was most likely based on the fact that with a river behind them, spanned by only one bridge, the crusade’s peasant and militia soldiers would have more difficulty fleeing the field of battle. Whether or not this would consequently make them more likely to stand their ground the priests could not decide upon. The enemy force would be terrible, the battle more like a feverish nightmare than the waking hours of the day. Then again, thought Biagino, what battle is not a nightmare?

With little else to do right now but wait and watch, he found himself once again angry that Lord Adolfo had refused to support the crusade in any way beyond merely allowing them to exist. The lord of Viadaza was now sick abed, admittedly, but this was not the reason none his troops were present. He had never intended to send any soldiers, and now his rather convenient illness meant he had not even had to watch the crusaders’ departure from his city, nor give them any sort of blessing or ‘fare thee well’. The crusaders had paraded through the streets nevertheless, their maroon flags emblazoned with the raven-winged hourglass emblem of Morr, the crowds cheering, the marching men sombre and sober. One might well have expected Lord Adolfo’s soldiers to line the streets and patrol the walls and gates to ensure an orderly parade and exit. Instead they were either confined to barracks or guarding Lord Adolfo’s palazzo. When the crusaders had passed the palazzo gate, Biagino did glimpse a great number of guards, including even some soldiers with orcen blood, pallid skinned, red-eyed wild men bearing viciously curved scimitars. They had put him in mind of the recent nightmare in which he had been humbled by the cruel duchess. Since that night, Biagino could not think of Lord Adolfo without seeing his dream face, drooling, hideous, bestial in its brazen lust.

It was as if Lord Adolfo was expecting to be besieged, which was odd, considering how he had so consistently mocked the crusaders as nothing more than a rabble, entirely worthless as a military force. Yet here he was behaving as if they posed a real threat, mustering his guard in a sudden fit of timidity. At the time, Biagino had momentarily feared it might be part of some cunning plan in which the crusaders were to be divided, disarmed and dispersed. But he dismissed the idea as ridiculous. The truth was simple: Lord Adolfo wanted the crusaders gone. The crusaders knew it, and Lord Adolfo knew they knew it. Surely he had mustered a strong guard just in case the bad feeling bubbled up into rebellion.

Right now the militia pike regiment were crossing the bridge – or at least they would be if an overloaded cart had not become stuck at the northern end of the bridge.

Biagino could not help but stare as two burly peasants pulled at the draught horses’ harnesses, while the great heap of sacks threatened to topple from the wagon to create an even more stubborn obstacle. The confusion was not helped by the fact that a handful of peasant militia had already begun constructing a short stretch of wooden fence to partially close off the bridge. While some of the labourers had indeed stopped working and joined Biagino in watching the struggle with the cart horses, two were still hauling stakes around – very likely what had spooked the horses in the first place.

The pikemen stood with apparent patience, well drilled in their postures from years of weekend practise, their brace of drummers now sensibly silent. Many had mocked them as ‘rude militia’, as part-time, amateur soldiers who were ever ready in arms apart from during times of war, more fit for drinking songs and wrestling over who got to wear their few pieces of communally stored armour than for battle. Biagino, however, saw that whatever they had once been, they were now inspired by Morr. More than their patriotic duty, more than loyalty to their long familiar officers, more than an urge to protect their family and neighbours. Morr.

The large regiment of crudely armed peasants, led by fierce Father Antonello, seemed truly to be keen for the fight. It was a resolve that would no doubt be tested when they stood before the foe. Presently proud of the fact that they wielded pitchforks and scythes, flails and axes, reckoning that their familiarity with such tools made them nimble in their use, their enthusiasm could well wane when the bony corpses of long dead warriors came at them without flesh to scythe or organs to pierce. To fight such monsters required an extra-ordinary sort of courage and discipline, not mere skill at farm labour. The pair of peasants now yanking with all their might to move the cart looked determined indeed, but what was a pair of stubborn, bucking horses compared to a shambling horde of horrors, stinking of the grave and driven by the mighty, death defying will of a vampire?

Just as this thought sent a now familiar chill through Biagino, the wagon lurched and the wheels began to turn. As it trundled slowly away, the pike regiment’s colonel was already issuing the command: “Prepare to march!”

Biagino was left with a lingering doubt. If dumb animals and a wagon filled with grain sacks could halt the best regiment of foot they had, then was it utter foolishness to think they could drive back the vampire duke?
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2014, 05:52:14 PM »
We Shall Stand

They were to make their stand upon the northern side of the bridge at Pontremola. The old bridge had seen better days, but the damage was superficial and it was still strong enough to transport the Viadazzan crusading army across without incident. The two toll-towers were abandoned, the keepers had fled in fear along three months ago along with the Ebinans crossing to escape the clutches of the Vampire Duke. To the north the road was fairly well delineated with hedgerows, more than a mere highway of hardened earth as it had ancient stone foundations. It coursed northwards through the gently sloping, eastern hills of Usola.

For six full hours the Morrite crusaders stood in battle array awaiting the foe. Not one man succumbed to weariness, for it was not a hot day and each and every one of them was sufficiently nervous concerning the imminent battle to ensure churning stomachs, not a condition in which one might sit down to rest easy. The mercenary crossbowmen made a show of looking nonchalant about the situation, yet everyone could see that it was exactly that – a show, effortful and deliberate, and attempt to hide their true state of mind.

The Carroccio stood behind the main battle line, its huge silken standard snapping as the breeze tugged at it. Since the army had left Viadazza every citizen had assembled morning and night to pray around it, as if it were the kind of holy shrine that would draw a crowd of pilgrims. And so it should, for it bore the most revered and holy artefacts the Church of Morr in Viadazza possessed, including the bones of three saints and the hilt of the sword an almost forgotten hero had used to slay the first vampire to set foot in Tilea. Well, it was either the first, second or third – it depended who exactly you asked and where they were from.

The Crusaders’ right flank consisted of two regiments of horse, one heavy and the other light. The former, positioned forwards, consisted of what few nobility had accompanied the crusades – being garbed in full plate armour and riding barded destriers. The lighter horse were what remained of the Arrabbiati Brotherhood, led by Lord Totto himself, recently recovered from the wounds he had received during the battle to save the Duchess Maria. Next stood an antique ribaudequin which had been restored to (what was hoped to be) working order. The peasant militia, captained by Father Antonello, who had spent all last six hours tirelessly maintaining their spiritual frenzy, stood next in line, flanked by the equally large militia pikemen. It was amongst these colourfully attired militia that Biagino stood, nominally their captain. In truth he only commanded in the way that the Lector commanded the army - a militia captain actually gave all the military orders, at Biagino’s request, just as the condottieri general Urbano D’Alessio listened to the Lector’s suggestions and turned them into military orders as he saw fit. Yet now that battle was about to be fought, D’Alessio had begun behaving more like a captain than a general, taking personal command of the mounted knights, leaving Lector Bernado Ugolini in the traditional position for a general (in the rear at the centre). The Lector was accompanied by his bodyguard, each man bearing the feathered wings revealing their origins as descendants of mercenary Kislevites.

The second militia regiment stood next in line, the swordsmen, led by Father Gonzalvo. They were not so large as the pike regiment, but they made up for this deficiency in swagger. Then stood the mercenary crossbowmen, calmly refusing to span their bows until the enemy was in sight. Upon the bridge was the army’s only cannon, a bombard of a long abandoned design which had been inspected for flaws and cracks by each and every one of the crew nearly every day. They had yet to find any such thing, though the real test would come when they began to fire in anger, over and over, heating the barrel in a way that had not been done in decades. The army’s baggage was placed upon the southern side of the river, with several wagons on the bridge itself. Biagino had wondered if this were also part of General D’Alessio’s scheme to keep the crusaders from fleeing too readily.

Out on the far left flank stood one company of skirmishing seamen, with the third and last artillery piece – a mortar – placed behind them on the far side of the river. Many a crusader had prayed that the grenadoes lobbed by this piece would tear the enemy’s rotten corpses to pieces in great swathes. Biagino was hoping that the undead, deficient as they were in muscle and sinew, might be more easily dismembered than living men and thus more likely to fall to the mortar’s explosive ammunition.

The only other company in the crusade were the scouting seamen, who were not present in the battle line as they had moved off ahead of the army to outflank the Duke’s shambling horde.

Viadazan Crusaders Total = 2670 points
Army list created from Campaign Tilean List, itself a modified version of the Treachery & Greed Campaign list

Morrite Lector of Viadaza, Bernado Ugolini
Warhorse, Horseman's mace, Light armour
Prophetic Book Bound spell Harmonic Convergence; Robe of Cathayan Silk Wearer generates one additional power dice; Sword of Might
Special rules: Righteous Fury; Grim Resolve.
Prayers of Morr (power level 4):
Holy Protection (augment): Lector of Morr and unit he is with have a 5+ ward against all wounds until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr decides when it is their time to die.)
Morr’s Caress (hex): range 24”, target unit suffers –1 T and –1 Str until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr moves them a little closer to death for a while).
Morr’s Stare (direct damage): range 12”. Target single individual model (even character in a unit). Caster and target roll D6 and add to Ld stat. If Lector wins, victim loses D2 wounds with no armour saves. (Morr passes judgement.)

Urbano D’Alessio, Condottiere General
Warhorse, barding full plate
Sword of anti-heroes; Charmed Shield;Talisman of Endurance
Mercenary skill: Hopelessly stubborn Character & his unit = stubborn

Three Priests of Morr: Biagino, Gonzalvo & Father Antonello
Special rules: Righteous Fury, Divine Power
Lesser Prayers of Morr (innate bound spells, power level 3)
Lesser Holy Protection (augment): Priest of Morr and unit he is with have a 6+ ward against all wounds until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr decides when it is their time to die.)
Morr’s Touch (hex): range 24”, target unit suffers –1 T until start of next friendly magic phase. (Morr moves them a little closer to death, in undead weakening the necromantic magic holding them together, for a while).
Morr’s Glance (direct damage): range 12”. Target single individual model (even character in a unit). Caster and target roll D6 & add to Ld stat. If priest wins, victim takes a Str 4 wound, no armour saves. (Morr passes judgement.)

Biagino: Circlet of Burning Gold
Father Antonello: Ruby Ring of Ruin

Callistro Gallani, Condotta Captain

War Wagon & Army Battle Standard
Magic standard (Home-rules) = Standard of Morr All troops within range of its battle Standard effect are immune to Fear caused by the Undead(+85 pts)
Special rules: Stubborn, immune to psychology, large target. War Wagon: Chariot, with single profile. NO  'swiftstride' rule. Moves as monster, may not march or charge. May not pursue; flees only d6". May not enter difficult or very difficult terrain. May not cross obstacles. Immune to poison and killing blow.
Armed with 6 handguns, which may fire even if the war wagon moves. Usual penalty to hit for moving and firing applies. Handguns have a 360 degree line of sight. In combat, has no flanks or rear. Attacks are armour piercing - assume handgunners are shooting as the CC attacks. Cavalry, chariots or monsters (including ogre-sized models) charging a war wagon do not count as charging. They also suffer -1 to hit the war wagon in combat.

The Arrabiatti Brotherhood
Lord Totto Level 2 Wizard
Warhorse, Dispel Scroll, Seed of Rebirth
9 Border Horsemen
Full Command; Warhorse, short bow, Shields, light armour, Horseman's maces. +1 S, mounted models only Fast Cavalry

Lector’s Guard 5 Border Horsemen 
Warhorse, bows, shields, light armour, spears ; Full Command. Fast cavalry

36 Militia Pikemen
Light armor, pikes; Full Command

20 Condotta Marksmen
Light armor, crossbows; Full Command

15 Buccaneer Skirmishers
2 hand weapons; Skirmishers.

15 Buccaneer Scouts
Pistols; Skirmishers/Scouts.

25 Bravi 
Swords, shields; Full Command

7 Knights
Warhorse, shield, lances, barding, full plate; Full Command

35 Peasants
Full Command

(Archaic) Great Cannon    
Range 48”, Str 8, Multiple Wnds D4

The Vampire Duke’s army was large, with four large bodies of foot soldiers moving over the hills, and plenty of even more monstrous horrors besides. Ahead of the army rode a little company of Hex Wraiths, their every motion unnatural and eerie as the gleaming bones of their mounts grated beneath fluttering robes that seemed not quite a part of this world.

Behind them, on the far right flank of the undead line of battle, crept a large body of ghouls, then next in line a mass of skeleton warriors strode, momentarily disordered by their descent from the hilly ridge. A huge horde of zombies spilled through the gap in the hills where the road coursed, and beside them came more skeletons, these being heavily armoured and carrying blades that gleamed in a hellish green.

Six brutish horrors came next, horrible to behold, yet somehow less nightmarish than the Vampire Duke himself and his guard of Black Knights. Finally, upon the foul horde’s far left, atop a hill which now looked like little more than a tiny mound compared to the bulk of the creature upon it, was a Terrogheist. The monster’s wings folded and unfolded in mockery of life, as its head stooped low upon its long and bony neck to espy the foe before it.

In even his worst nightmares, Biagino had not imagined the foe as terrible as this. Suddenly the might of the crusade seemed to diminish, and as he glanced left and right the soldiers seemed now to turn from warriors into mere farmers and merchants, from inspired agents of Morr’s will to very mortal men, alone and trembling.

They could not win. The foe was too mighty, too monstrous, too many.

Then he heard Father Antonello singing. It was a solemn hymn to Morr, yet the defiance in his voice was very clear. It was not the sound of a fearful man trying to fool those around him into believing he was brave, but rather the voice of a man governed wholly by obedience to the god of death. Voices joined his, then more and more, until all three regiments were singing. When the bell on the carroccio began to ring in time to the hymn, Biagino felt Morr’s presence like he had never done before.

They could win. They would win. Morr willed it.

Battle to follow asap
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2014, 07:04:15 PM »
Battle Part One

Behind the undead battle line the company of scouting seamen climbed a low ridge to see what there was to see. They could not help but stop, for the foe was arrayed so thick and numerous that the crusading army was barely visible beyond them. Still, the scouts had come here to do what could be done to slow down the enemy units on this flank, and so somewhat hesitantly they cocked their pistols quickly scrutinised the ground ahead to ascertain the best route forwards.

The enemy wasted no time, for there was not a creature amongst them who could recall what it was to feel hesitation. The hex wraiths charged at the company of skirmishing sea men, sending them hurtling away to splash in the waters at the rivers’ edge. (Game note: It occurs to me now as I type that we had both forgotten vanguarding units cannot charge in the first turn. Oops! Still, the buccaneers got away.)

On the far side of the field of battle the monstrously huge Terrorgheist flapped in a horribly graceful manner - for such a large and ragged beast - and came to land right before the mounted men at arms.

The beast then began a pained and painful squealing, like a bird caught bloodily in a trap. Thinking it ugly enough, the men at arms had no idea what more the beast could  and would yet do with its scream. The rest of the undead horde shambled onwards, those closest to the Vampire Duke, the ones with the longest legs and those mounted  on bony horses given impetus by their proximity to him who had raised them, thus moving much further than the rest.

An enormous body of zombies came on in the centre, their stench carrying for more than a mile downwind, their gait ungainly, their arms swinging loose as black nailed fingers clutched at the air in their ever present urge to tear flesh.

Biagino stood in the front rank of the Viadazan pikemen, happy to allow the beating of the two drummers to jolt the fearful thoughts from his mind. And there were a lot of such thoughts. Only moments before he had witnessed five corpses claw their way out of the ground in front of the crossbowmen, obviously summoned by the Vampire Duke to obscure the mercenaries’ line of fire. He could not help but wonder again that the crusaders had bitten off far more than they could chew, for the enemy was numerous enough to begin with, yet now even more were being raised to serve them.

Once again he glanced over at Father Antonello …

… and once again took solace from his reassuring presence. If anything, Father Antonello’s peasants were even more keen for the battle than the militiamen beside them – fair chomping at the bit to get at the foe. Then Biagino’s reverie was broken by the dying screams of two pikemen who had succumbed to some spell emanating from the Vampire Duke. He did not know it, but the Black Knights around the Duke suffered worse, as they lost three of their number to an uncontrolled spillage of magical energies from the Duke’s spell. As a few moments later the Black Riders returned, summoned back into the world by necromantic magic, no crusaders even noticed they had ever gone!

(Game Note: I didn’t notice at the time, but Daz’s two vampires both attempted to cast Invocation of Nehek, and the second one repaired the Black Knights. Of course, in normal rules the Duke could not cast another spell after his earlier miscast. Maybe there is some magical trait vampire’s can buy which allows them to do so? I have checked the VC book myself but I can’t find anything. I have a feeling we weren’t doing very well with the rules in this game!)

General D’Alessio now led his little company of armoured nobility in a charge against the Terrorgheist, their fear almost entirely washed away by the proximity of the carroccio and its inspiring collection of Morrite icons and relics. (Game Note: I write ‘almost’ because of course the monster’s terror was reduced to fear.) Only one knight managed to pierce the tip of his lance into the beast’s bony carapace, but it was enough both to visibly weaken the creature and bolster the other knights’ courage. With the crusader’s Morrite banner streaming above them, they fought on.

While they fought heroically, like mythical knights of old, against the monster, elsewhere bolts were loosed and ironshot fired. Two of the Ogre-like monsters fell to these missiles, and five Graveguard joined them in their second death.

Now, as the Hex Wraiths finished the job they had begun and chased the Buccaneers off the field of battle entirely, Duke Alessandro led his reformed Black Knights in a charge against the Viadazan noblemen with General D’Alessio.

Few amongst the crusaders could believe that the Vampire Duke was already engaged in combat, against their army general no less, and with a giant monster by his side.  Yet they steeled themselves, and the light horsemen of the Arrabiatti Brotherhood moved up to the spot vacated by the noblemen, so that the Crusaders’ line could stay sound.

Just then the men of Viadaza were given an awful glimpse of what the enemy was capable of, for the Terrorgheist gave vent to another screeching wail, this time so overwhelmingly horrible as to take the life of five of the knights before it. As their metal-clad corpses slid from their saddles to clatter to the ground, the Vampire Duke laid about General D’Alessio furiously, raining blow after blow upon him, but the general’s full plate armour and the blessing of his holy talisman prevented each and every blow from wounding him. Obviously outmatched, and likely to die any moment, the general stubbornly refused to flee but fought on, accompanied by only one remaining guard, the standard bearer.

Aware that the Duke’s death was probably the only thing that could bring the Crusader’s victory, and knowing that General D’Alessio could not possibly hope to survive on his own, Father Antonello ordered his peasants to charge the flank of the Black Knights. Not wanting to be outdone by peasants, the Arrabiatti also charged into the Vampire Duke’s guard, so that now a huge fight was taking place on the far right of the Crusaders’ line.

No less than a dozen more Graveguard were felled (including some who had already been re-re-animated) by a deadly combination of crossbows, cannon and mortar. And while these very worldly weapons were being employed, the priests were also praying for spiritual aid. In this way they blessed the peasants with the lesser form of Morr’s Protection, while the Lector used his prophetic book to cast the enchantment commonly known as Harmonic Convergence on the Arrabiatti. The priests knew both these units would need every bit of help they could get, for although they outnumbered and surrounded the foe, the enemy was both fearless and frightening, as well as better armed and armoured.

As the fight began, Biagino found himself very close to the enemy’s brute horrors:

When the militia sergeant ordered the pikes levelled, the monstrous foe did not exactly recoil, but it was obvious that somewhere in the tattered remnants of their consciousness they knew that to charge headlong into the serried rows of sharp steel tips would be foolish. So it was they halted, their heads stooped as they leered horribly at the Viadazans.

Somehow General D’Alessio's armour once again saved him from each and every one of the umpteen blows rained upon him by the Vampire Duke. (Game Note: For a second time, even at -3 to save, somehow I rolled all 5s & 6s!) Yet although the general’s armour saved him, he could not himself harm Duke Alessandro, for the vampire had beguiled him supernaturally, leaving him so befuddled that his own attempts to strike blows where easily parried by the wicked Duke. Nor could the Arrabiatti harm the foe, and - perhaps unsurprisingly - neither could the peasants (even though they had been filled with such confidence by the good priest leading them). Ignoring the peasants as if they were of no consequence at all, the foul creatures of the night mortally wounded six of the Arrabiatti, and their subsequent deaths were somewhat loud and disturbing. Lord Totto shouted most boldly to the last few that they should stand and “See this through”, and such was their high regard of their leader that they did indeed do so. But not so the peasants. Father Antonello was dumbfounded by his supposedly blessed warrior’s failure to even scratch the foe, and his momentary silence was enough to undo all the work he had done with his inspiring words. The peasants turned and fled, running right through Biagino’s pikemen and Gonzalvo’s swordsmen. Neither of the militia units broke, perhaps having always expected just such behaviour from the peasants, but the peasants burst out of the swordsmen’s left flank with the stunned Father Antonello still amongst them. For the first time in months he harboured doubts, his faith in Morr so shockingly tested.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 09:07:52 PM by Padre »
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Offline Padre

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Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2014, 08:55:57 PM »
(Turns 3 and 4)

The green-bladed Grave Guards now charged the Viadazan swordsmen, their onslaught also catching some of the peasants and forcing them to redouble their efforts to flee. In so doing, the peasants now took the mercenary crossbowmen with them – both broken bodies running pell-mell towards the river, the dangerous depth of the waters momentarily forgotten in their urge to escape.

Dark magics were summoned by both vampires, so that the Black Knights danced macabre, and the Grave Guard acquired a hellish vigour, but the joint efforts of the priests and Lord Totto ensured that none of the enemy dead were re-animated. The Terrorgheist unleashed another horrendous cry and the last of the Viadazan nobility tumbled from his saddle, his silken banner falling to be trodden into the mud by a taloned and bony claw. A moment later Lord Totto was brutally cut down by the Black Knight’s champion, and the very last of his shadowy brotherhood fell by his side, leaving General D’Alessio to fight on alone. Once again, although still magically befuddled by the vampire duke’s proximity, his armour and wards proved effective, saving the general from each and every blow. Even the Vampire Duke, his mind cold, cruel and not quite of this world, was beginning to feel frustration at this mere mortal who refused to die.

(Game Note: We both failed to realise at the time that if a lone character is fighting a challenge then the fact that his base is corner to corner with a separate unit does not mean that unit remains caught up in that combat. So the Terrorgheist could have left this combat in the next turn. I’ll discuss below whether this would have had much of an effect on the game.)

The long line of shambling, undead foot soldiers continued its advance …

… while the Grave Guard hewed down swordsman after swordsman, with the Duke’s vampiric captain (once a renowned mercenary from the Empire, now a monster with barely a trace of human thought remaining) gleefully hacked off the militia champion’s head, then joined his guard in their pursuit of the utterly broken Viadazans. The undead slaughtered every man who ran, and found themselves before the carroccio.

Their bestial commander, the tortured creature who now inhabited the twisted, living corpse of Captain Theobald, grinned with glee. Here was something he would enjoy tearing up as much as any mortal. He could feel the power emanating from it, the spirit of the god who hated the undead more than all others. He raised his black-clawed hand, gestured …

… and barked his command. As one the Grave Guard hefted their massive blades and prepared to charge. 

Knowing only too well that to win this battle the vampire duke must be killed, and that the embattled General D’Alessio could not be expected to fight alone against such horrors, the Morrite Lector of Viadaza commanded his bodyguard of Kislevites to charge into the Black Knights’ flank. This they did without hesitation, for since their march from the city they had understood that in a war such as this their role could not remain merely ceremonial.

Glimpsing the Lector’s charge, Biagino finally decided the time had come, and ordered the pikemen to charge into the horrors standing before them. Some of the fleeing Viadazans noticed these charges, as well as the fact that the enemy was still some distance away, and faced with almost certain death in the cold river waters decided that flight was perhaps not the best option after all. So it was that they rallied, reforming their ranks and files with the river immediately to their rear. 

The crew of the ribaudequin hefted their ancient war machine anti-clockwise so that it pointed at the Grave Guard, and after a brief moment’s hesitation during which one of the screamed at the Lector’s secretary to get out of the way ….

… they sent a hail of shot which felled three of the foe. Two more were shot down by the carroccio handgunners, while the cannon sent a ball through the rickety corpse cart and tore it to pieces, the damage so effective that it completely un-knitted the dark, magical forces holding the foul and stinking construction together.

Once again, now very obviously miraculous and surely certain proof that Morr was indeed present with the Crusaders, General D’Alessio’s armour withstood the torrent of blows rained down upon him by the vampire duke. (Game Note: all 5 wounds saved by armour or ward saves!) Urbano now managed to pierce his foe with his blade, so that corrupted blood bubbled from the wound, withering the grass wherever it spattered upon the ground. Three of the vampire dukes’ Black Knights were dispatched by the Kislevite riders, and such was the ferocity of the combat that all the remaining Black Knights now collapsed, as well as the Terrorgheist, leaving Duke Alessendro Sforta to fight alone.

(Game Note: If we had realised the Terrorgheist was no longer a part of the combat – see comment above – then it would not have perished, but there is every chance that the ribaudequin or a well placed spell would likely have removed its last few wounds. Perhaps one might say that the rules errors in favour of the undead earlier in the game balance this error in favour of the Viadazans. Neither me nor my opponent are bothered about this error, as we are aware it was a genuine mistake and there are always some such mistakes in our games.)

Biagino was caught up in a no less dangerous combat, and prayed that the Crusader’s hatred of the foe would spur them on to cause great harm. It was not to be, however, for despite the ferociousness of their efforts, all they could do was scratch the foe. (Game Note: 24+2 re-rollable attacks, results in 2 wounds!)

The enemy was not so unlucky, however, and tore into the pikemen so viciously that ten Viadazans fell to their attacks. Despite the awful damage dealt to them, the spirit of Morr was still with them and the Viadazans stood their ground. As they clutched tight at the pikes, leaning upon each other in an attempt to counteract the tremendous weight of the foe, behind them the surviving Grave Guard now smashed into the carroccio.

The vampire Theobald screeched with glee as he and his guard hacked at the wagon and its crew, ripping both apart.

Clambering up the side, tearing a terrified crewman right out of the upper platform and hurling him into the Grave Guards below, Theobald yanked the Crusaders’ army standard from its bracket and threw that down on top of the now dismembered crewman. (Game Note: Now no 18” Ld re-roll, and no 18” fear immunity for the Crusaders!)

The vampire duke’s right wing, a veritable sea of nightmarish foot soldiers shambled onwards, slowly but surely closing the gap between themselves and the enemy.

The gunner and matrosses manning the cannon on the bridge might have become worried about the massed regiments’ proximity, had they not been at that moment on the receiving end of a charge by the hellish Hex Wraiths.

Needless to say the gun crew stood no chance and all were butchered. The wraiths then burst out from the other side of the bridge, galloping over the river waters as if on solid ground; their ghostly, unnatural hooves barely splashing as they moved.

Clambering over the splintered wreckage of the carroccio, the vampire Captain Theobald led his Grave Guard in a charge against the recently rallied peasants. Considering how the peasants had so far behaved, and how bloodily effective the Grave Guard had been despite being greatly diminished by missile fire, and with the mobile Shrine to Morr (which had until now been the focus of any confidence the peasants possessed) having been completely desecrated, it was obvious that they could not possibly hope to stand. Yet for the briefest moment it looked like they had a chance, for they certainly had numbers on their side.

Biagino and the pikemen once again suffered horrendous casualties, beaten by bone clubs bigger than themselves …

… yet still they stood their ground. (Game Note: Passing their now non-re-rollable Break test at 5 or less!) Biagino himself could do little more than pray, the shafts of the pikes close around him so far protecting him from harm.

On the far right of the Crusaders’ line the desperate fight against the vampire duke himself continued …

… with General D’Alessio’s battered and bent armour once again preventing the duke’s blade from penetrating his flesh. The general himself was now barely able to wield his own blade, as he had finally succumbed to fear – the fight had been impossibly long, the foe so nightmarish, that it was all he could do to stay mounted as the blows repeatedly rang against his steel armour. Lector Bernado could see what a state he was in, and so read from his prophetic book to cast the spell Harmonic Convergence on the general. The Lector also tried to inflict Morr’s Stare on the vampire duke, but Alessandro’s wicked magics brushed that spell aside. It was enough, however, to distract the vampire, and now suddenly General D’Alessio regained his courage and snapped out of the magical beguilement that had until now held him in its grip.

The fight between them seemed to blaze anew, as both thrust and parried, hacked and twisted. And still the General’s armour could not be pierced (Note: once again, unbelievably, he saved against 4 wounds!) Although neither could harm the other, all the while Duke Allessandro’s grip on undeath had been weakening – surrounded by foes, outnumbered, alone – so that now, to the utter amazement of those fighting him, he slumped forwards in his saddle, his head lolling to bash against his mount’s skull. Then, with an anguished cry, he fell to the ground as the beast carrying him collapsed into nothing more than a pile of bones. As General D’Alessio let his aching sword arm drop to his side, his tears hidden by his dented helm, the Kislevites thrust their long spears one after the other, over and over, into the vampire duke’s now still corpse.

Duke Alessandro Sforta was dead. Not merely unliving, but truly and completely dead. 

In that moment the necromantic force holding the entire undead army in this realm was greatly weakened, and like a wave washing across a beach, the diminishment in its power spread across the field to affect body after body of undead soldiers. Two of the Crypt Horrors fighting Biagino and the militia pikemen collapsed, as did half a dozen zombies, even more skeletons, and four of the Grave Guard. All five Hex Wraith’s simply vanished.

(Game Note: End of Turn 4. End of game.)

No one cheered. The Lector, his guards and General D’Alessio were simply too exhausted, while all the rest were still embroiled in combat and could not yet know what had happened. But the vampire Theobald knew full well what had happened – he felt his sire’s death to the core of his being. Grimacing (as if his face was not ugly enough already) he refused to allow the anguished cry building inside him to be released. Instead he turned and ran. This was no frantic, scrambling flight, but a purposeful and controlled reaction. As he ran he commanded all those he could to fall back, using every bit of magic he could summon to hold them in this world.

Where he was going, what he intended to do, only he knew.

Over where the foul remains of the vampire duke lay corrupting the soil beneath them, the Lector and General D’Alessio were discussing their next move. After what they had done they had no fear of what was happening behind them – a crumbling (if still massive) force of zombies and ghouls seemed of little consequence compared to the foe they had faced and beaten.

Before long the orders were given and the surviving Crusaders were falling back southwards over the bridge. To some, pushing on against the defeated foe might seem the most desirable course, but the Lector and General D’Alessio knew their men were exhausted, and that a powerful vampire commanded what was still a sizeable enemy force. The enemy was not tired – it no longer suffered such mortal complaints. The enemy was not afraid, for no trace of emotion was left to them. Besides, the important work had been done. The vampire duke was dead, his army in retreat. Now there was surely time to regroup, recuperate, recruit and then return to complete what they had so effectively begun. 
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 09:09:12 PM by Padre »
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Offline iamtheeviltwin

  • Posts: 132
  • I will fight until only my bones remain
Re: Tilean Campaign, IC2401
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2014, 04:08:24 PM »
What a great write-up.  I really love the narrative campaign and battle reports that you are putting together.  (It should tell you how effective they are that I was really worried for the life of poor Brother Biagino)...