sunnuntai 27. syyskuuta 2015

Ambush at Splitstone Mines

Evening everyone!

I'm back with a new battle report up my sleeve, so the story of me and my friend's armies is getting a sequel!

We played the game at our local club, as always, and it was great fun, as always :) This time both of us had very interesting armies set up on the table which resulted in some EPIC clashes between our models!

In this scenario my Duardin will have to get at least one model walk off the table by any table edge while my opponent's greenskins will try to hold my army on the board until Orc reinforcements arrive. Time limit for this game was two hours.

Without any further introduction, read on to find out what happened. I hope you like some lengthy posts!

Runepriest Largs Brokksson and his group of survivors had arrived at Splitstone Mines, another outpost of the Iron Company, on a sunny morning four days after the Battle of the Hollow Hill. Largs and the unit of Thunderers had managed to regroup the fleeing warriors on the way and were now resting at the quarters the garrison commander of the Mines had appointed to them.

The very same evening a sentry at the top of the mine entrance signaled an alarm. The greenskins had come. Despite their recent long march and only a few hours of rest, the Duardin spilled out of the mines to take positions on the yard.

Runepriest Brokksson eyed the enemy lines.
"We're surrounded," he said finally. "Those bastards left us no route to retreat by. Didn't think they'd be that smart."
"Aye, but this is goblin cunning. They'd do everything at their disposal to tip the scales to their favor before engaging us," replied the mine's Engineer, Borek Gadrinsnev. 
"No matter, though, our good ol' Gold Mouth here will give 'em a lesson," the Engineer continued, pointing at the Flame Cannon that was being prepared for battle by its crew of three Dwarves.
"I'll take the command of the Miners on the yard. Remember, our only purpose is to get at least someone out of here to warn Ironhelm and the main army, not to win the fight!" Largs said and walked away, his runestaff and forgehammer already beginning to glow bright as if they were fresh-forged.
"Will do," Borek the Engineer mumbled, loading a missile into his very own invention, the Rocket-Blunderbuss.

The Duardin warriors, those who fled the Hollow Hill and those of the Splitstone garrison combined, formed a shieldwall between the mine and the old staircase, while the Miners along with Largs Brokksson poured out on to the yard.
The mine's low wall was manned by the Thunderers and the Flame Cannon, guided by Engineer Borek Gadrinsnev himself. 
A lone figure took position next to the ruins of the old storehouse, a figure with bright orange hair, eyes locked on the Giant that was stomping its way towards the mine. He was Smakki the Scarred, a wandering Dragonslayer who had also happened to rest at the Splitstone Mines this fateful day it came under attack. There was a promise of a glorious death in the air, a promise as clear as the stinging smell of a Giant's foul breath in the gentle evening wind...

From behind the surrounding hills came the sound of small thumping feet, and soon the horizon was filled with the shafts of crooked spears. The enormous form of Fum the Drunken One also came into view, a Giant with an infernal thirst for fine Dwarven ale!

Goblins riding their wolf and spider mounts surrounded the mine from all directions, coordinated by the screamed commands of Azgar Swiftgit. Now riding to battle upon his ferocious white wolf, Azgar had spent half the day trying to get his warband to understand their positions on the landscape and their targets in the battle. After bashing together a few green heads, he had finally got what he wanted. This act of slaughter was now ready to be played out.

Deciding that the Goblin spearwall was the easiest route out of the mines, Engineer Borek directed the Flame Cannon crew to aim at the oncoming black-hooded horde. Mere seconds later the Gold Mouth spoke out, spitting burning substance in a high arc to fall upon the Goblins whose terrified screams filled the field. Many fell and many turned tail and ran, preferring to keep their pitiful lives at least a day longer.

Borek aimed his Rocket-Blunderbuss at Azgar and his Wolf Riders and pulled the trigger. One of the Goblin riders vanished from its saddle in a gory explosion, but the wolf kept pace with the others.
"Grimnir's beard! I should've blasted the wolf!" the Engineer cursed under his breath while reloading his weapon.

Smakki the Scarred payed little attention to the battle. All he could see was the Giant, all he could think of was the Giant, and all he wanted to do was to kill the Giant or die gloriously in the attempt. He raised his axes in the air and let out a wordless warcry, letting the world hear his insatiable thirst for battle.
Smakki broke into a run, dodging the enormous club that thumped into the ground next to him. He ran in between the Giant's legs and slashed out with his gleaming axes, drawing blood. Fum the Drunken One roared and fell on his knees, leaving his club stuck in the ground as he tried to catch the Slayer with two clumsy hands.
Dissatisfied with the lack of challenge in this fight, Smakki leaped onto the back of the Giant, burying his axes deep into exposed flesh. Another roar of pain echoed across the hills that surrounded the Splitstone Mines.

At the mines the battle was just about to begin. Azgar Swiftgit led his Wolf Riders against the Duardin shieldwall, Goblins racing towards it at full speed while firing arrows from their shortbows. Colourful shields deflected the poorly crafted arrows with ease, while their  bearers braced themselves to receive the impact of the charge.

Elsewhere the Miners moved out to face the Goblin spearwall, determined to hack their way right through it to reach freedom. Runepriest Brokksson's blessings granted each of the Miners a glowing light sphere around them for extra protection.

Meanwhile Fum the Drunken One almost managed to catch Smakki, but the Dragonslayer had already jumped down from the Giants back when the slow hand came reaching for him. Running circles around the Giant, Smakki hacked at his foe while looking for a chance to land the killing blow.
Goblin Wolf Riders on the nearby hill saw that their beloved monster was under dire threat and spurred their wolves towards the fight between a Dwarf and a Giant. Unleashing a volley of arrows from their bows, the Riders hoped to affect the outcome of this clash. As the arrows arced down from the skies it was evident that Gork (or possibly Mork) had granted the Goblins their wish.
One arrow found its mark in the Dragonslayer's thigh, slowing him down momentarily just enough for the Giant to get a hold on this orange nuisance.
As Fum the Drunken One lifted the Slayer up to his eye-level and opened his giant mouth, Smakki the Scarred laughed out loud. Finally, after all these decades, he had finally found what he had been looking for since his disgrace at the hold of Karaz-a-Karak. A glorious death in the hands of a terrifying monster. Letting his axes fall to the ground, he opened his arms and embraced the darkness that delivered him to the halls of his ancestors to feast for all eternity. 
Fum the Drunken One chewed and swallowed.

Azgar's Wolf Riders lowered their spears and charged in, crashing into the Duardin shieldwall like a tide crashes against coastal rocks. The shieldwall held firm, catching all the wolves and their riders and absorbing their momentum, except for one.
Azgar Swiftgit lived up to his name as his white wolf carried him over the thin enemy line in a magnificent leap. From there behind the backs of the fighting Duardin he begun to lay waste with his rusty but trusty sword, Git-Cutta.

Before the Flame Cannon had time to fire another time, it came under attack by the Spider Riders that had crawled over the mine. Engineer Borek and the Thunderers had no time to react as the overgrown spiders and their undergrown riders swarmed over the crew, silencing the warmachine for good.

Night Goblins broke from their spearwall to charge the Miners in an attempt to stop them from escaping and a furious hack-and-slash of close combat begun.

None of the Duardin had yet made it out of the mine's perimeter and the greenskins were closing in from all sides. Things were starting to look very grim...

Pickaxes cracked shields and skulls in equal measure while spears struck through soft spots in chainmail hauberks to spill hot red blood on the green grass. Although the blessing of the Ancestors protected Miners from majority of the enemy blows and pokes, many fell and the way to freedom still remained closed.

While the Wolf Riders kept the Duardin shieldwall busy from the front, Azgar severed heads and sank his sword into the backs of his hated enemies one after another while his wolf bit off arms and legs with its slavering jaws. The shieldwall did not give way, though, and the Goblins suffered casualties too as Dwarven steel bit deep through wooden shields.

Seeing the Giant survive its fight with the Slayer and recover its club from the ground, the Wolf Riders turned their mounts back towards the Mines. The Thunderers were waiting for them, however, and suddenly a thundering volley of handgun shots swept over the Riders. Leaving mangled bodies of both wolves and Goblins in their wake, the Wolf Riders still rode forward. All across the mines battle still raged on furiously.

The Miners were getting the upper hand in their combat against the Night Goblins, powered by the presence and blessings of Largs the Runepriest. Goblins fell swiftly under the desperate blows from the mining tools which resulted in even more routing greenskins.

The warriors were not so lucky, however, as Azgar's Riders slew them one by one until only the garrison commander of the Splitstone Mines remained. Seeing no chance for survival if he stayed and fought, the commander turned tail and ran, hoping to perhaps make it out of the mines alive. Before the commander had taken no more than a dozen steps he was ridden down by Azgar Swiftgit, whose Git-Cutta severed the Dwarf's head from his shoulders in one casual ride-by slash.

With the shieldwall down and the Flame Cannon crew being feasted upon by the giant spiders, the rest of the defenders decided it was time to leave.
The Thunderers hopped over the low wall and started jogging towards the hills, firing their handguns at the nearby Wolf Riders as they went.
Engineer Borek Gadrinsnev followed the example, scrambling over the rocks to run into a different direction, while Runepriest Largs also spotted a gap in the fighting and made a run for it.
In three separate places the greenskin circle had been breached, while the Miners were still locked in mortal combat with the Night Goblins.

 Pickaxes rose and fell, while Goblins fell but never rose. The Miners were close to being free, so close they redoubled their efforts to chop down the remaining greenskins. The thinning ranks of Night Goblins could hold the Miner onslaught no longer.

Wolf Riders suffered casualties under heavy handgun-fire and some fled the battle as the Thunderers made a run for their lives. Would they be the first to escape this ambush?

With Largs and Borek growing their distance to the site of ambush each passing moment, the Thunderers thundering their way past the Wolf Riders and Miners cleaving through the last of the Night Goblins, the tide of battle seemed to favor the Duardin for the first time. Someone had to get out to warn the others.

The Miners' advance was soon halted, though. A lone Night Goblin standard bearer refused to die, deflecting every blow that came its way. No doubt this particularly brave individual had the blessing of Mork (or possibly Gork), for this small delay granted Fum the Drunken One enough time to rejoin the fighting by storming into the Miners' rear.

Fortune did not favor the Duardin for long. Spider Riders closed in on the Thunderers who fired all around them with their handguns, while Engineer Borek was being chased by Azgar's Wolf Riders.
Azgar Swiftgit himself raced after Largs Brokksson to prevent his adversary's escape and to get those shiny weapons and trinkets the Dwarf was carrying around.

Soon all the Dwarves were tied up by the greenskins and forced to fight for their lives...

Greenskin cavalry ran over the Thunderers, wiping them from existence, mounts of those Goblins that got blown apart by handgun-shots doing the majority of killing in their bloodied frenzy. As the sounds of blackpowder shots came less frequent and finally stopped altogether, Largs knew that none of his troops had escaped that way.

Fum the Giant rammed into the Miners, stomping Dwarfs to bloody mess with his feet while swinging his massive club and sending the rest of the Miners sprawling across the bloodied grass. 
To the amazement of all who beheld, from the piles of Duardin and Goblin corpses rose a single figure holding aloft the Crooked Moon standard. The Night Goblin standard bearer had survived both the destruction of the Miners and his own unit, and thus would later on gain immeasurable respect from his kin as the one and only, Gromgob Moongit.

Engineer Borek Gadrinsev was caught by the Wolf Riders just before he reached the treeline of a forest where he would have been able to lose his pursuers. A spear was thrust clean through his shoulder, and when Borek fell to the ground the wolves charged on him with hungry gleaming eyes.
Soon there was a loud bang as one of the wolves had bitten through the Engineer's blackpowder pouch. The dwarf's blackened form with a dark cloud hovering above it did not intrigue the wolves anymore, so their riders took them to where the Duardin shieldwall had been. There would be plenty of fresh meat to feast upon.

Wolf Boss Azgar Swiftgit reached Runepriest Largs Brokksson with a few long leaps of his great white wolf, screaming "Aaazzgaaar Swiiiiftgiiit!" at the top of his lungs. He rode past the Runepriest, slashing a gaping wound on the Dwarf's shoulder with his Git-Cutta.
Largs stumbled, but did not fall, instead bracing himself as Azgar turned his wolf around and charged again. With words of power mumbled under his breath, Largs created a glowing light sphere around him.
When the Wolf Boss came upon him again, Largs moved aside at the last possible second, thrusting his glowing runestaff into the legs of the white beast while swinging his forgehammer at the rider. His hammer was parried by a rusty sword but the wolf lost its footing and fell, sending the Goblin rolling on the grass. The Runepriest walked up to his opponent who was lying on his back, staring at the Dwarf with gleaming yellow eyes. Blood-covered Git-Cutta was flat on the ground several paces away, too far to be of any use.

"It was a mistake to come after us. Now you will pay for it!" Largs bellowed, lifting his hammer for a killing blow. 
"You's the one making a mistake 'ere, shiny stuntie," the Wolf Boss grinned.
Before the hammer descended, a long dirk had appeared in Azgar's hand. A heartbeat later the Goblin stood in front the Runepriest, driving the dirk up the Dwarf's throat through his thick beard.
"Say hello to me very first blade, Git-Stabba!" Azgar whispered in Brokksson's ear with a malicious voice as the forgehammer and the runestaff slipped from dying hands and thumped on the ground.
"I's Azgar Swiftgit, and I's comin' to bring deff and deshtruktoon to yer kind!"
The Runepriest tried to bring his hands up to staunch the bleeding from his throat where the dirk was still buried, but his limbs had no strength left in them. Azgar gave his dirk one last push, sinking it even deeper.
The Dwarf's eyes rolled, turning white, and he fell heavily to the ground.

Azgar Swiftgit sheathed his dirk and retrieved his Git-Cutta as his wolf walked up to him.
"Did the stunty hurt me favvorite wullof? Good fing 'es dead now," he said as he let his beast lick the blood from his hands.
"Com' now, we has plenty o' stunty fings to plunda!"
In the Splitstone Mines the Greenskins were already looting everything valuable off the dead, and Fum the Drunken One was sitting in the yard holding a keg of ale he had found somewhere. Azgar picked up Runepriest Largs Brokksson's weapons, neither of them glowing anymore, and packed them in his wolf's saddle bags.
He then rode back to the mines to join the victory celebrations.


What a game! The winner was revealed only in the last minute, as our leaders battered each other on the edge of the gaming board, with the winner taking it all. That was some hectic dice rolling!

I can't stop wondering the effectiveness and flexibility of Goblin cavalry units, namely Wolf Riders and Spider Riders. With a Wolf Boss nearby to give them +1 Bravery and +1 Attack with his command ability that lot are complete killers!

The one thing missing for my Duardin was a general with an actual command ability. I only had the Engineer and the Runepriest as I made my list more story-wise than game-wise.

Oh, and of course, I had the Dragonslayer! That chap is a monster-killer, as is only proper, as that is what he's meant to do. The Giant lost 8 wounds on the first round of combat while my Dragonslayer lost only one! Too bad the Wolf Riders took a wound off him too, so that the Giant's "Stuff 'em in me bag" -ability was able to trigger due to my opponent rolling godly results. Well, at least the Dragonslayer got what he had come for :)

Flaming Cannon with an Engineer standing next to it is a lovely piece of artillery. 24" range, causing D6 mortal wounds with an additional D6 mortal wounds if you roll 4+ after the first roll. Damn that thing fried up those hooded little bastards, eleven on the first battle round! Too bad it didn't get to fire a second time...

The game, as I already said, was a really close call. Many of my units got out of the greenskin circle but those fast-moving cavalry units caught every single one of them. Still the winner was decided on the one last final combat between the Runepriest and the Wolf Boss!

The story will continue as we play more games, but while you're waiting for the future battle reports you might want to take a look at my friend's writings at:

He writes about our common story from the viewpoint of his Orcs&Goblins, while I mainly focus on my Dwarves. I recommend you make use of this chance to familiarize yourselves with the other side of the coin, too :P

One last thing: Marius Leitdorf arrived at last! I'll assemble and paint him as soon as I get the Trollslayer command group out of the way.

Until next time!

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