sunnuntai 25. lokakuuta 2015

Hunt for Brokksson Heirlooms

Here comes the third part of my Dwarves' storyline in the form of yet another narrative battle report!

This here scenario was an interesting one, I faintly recall reading something like it in a WH40K scenario collection or similar. 
After deploying our armies we placed six Objective Markers on the field. Each of the Objectives was a 20mm round base with a number between 1-6 painted on the bottom side.
We scrambled the Objectives before placing them so that nobody knew where each number was. Then we rolled a dice to see what was the number of the Objective being hunted. It turned out to be number 2.
After that it's all simple. Any non-cavalry unit that touches an Objective can flip it over and reveal its number. The side that controls Objective #2 (determined by the earlier dice roll) at the end of the 6th Battle Round is declared victorious.

Here's the map:
[One of the Objectives is behind the rock on the right]

Now on to the story!


Thane Brom Alaricsson took a long swig from his mug of ale. The liquid was already cold but it burned his throat comfortably as it made its way down towards his deep belly. Swiping the brown foam off his glorious beard, Brom placed the mug back on its hook in the side of a baggage wagon.
"Alright, lads! Time to move out!" he declared, causing the convoy to burst back into life with the Dwarves getting up and putting away food and drink to return to their duties.
Faster and more disciplined than any Human soldiers could ever manage, the Dwarves were ready to resume travelling.

Thane Alaricsson and his convoy had been delivering supplies to the main body of the Iron Company when they received a message that the Splitstone Mines had been raided days ago. The letter also mentioned the loss of Runepriest Largs Brokksson and his heirloom weapons, a Runestaff and a Forgehammer, while demanding all nearby Dwarf forces to seek revenge for this fresh grudge.
Luckily Borm's convoy had been but half a day's trip from the Mines as it was supposed to be their next resting place and checkpoint. After finding nothing remarkable amid the ruins of the Mines, the Dwarves had followed the greenskin tracks that led away from the scene.

Now they had found a plain where the greenskins had camped only some days ago. Scouts reported that the site was littered with broken and abandoned gear, mostly items looted from the Dwarf corpses at Splitstones. Before the scouts started searching the place, however, they spotted something in the distance.
The greenskins were returning, led by Azgar Swiftgit and his Wolf Riders. A whole warband of orcs marching across the hills, clearly headed for the old greenskin camp.

Leaving their carts, wagons and pack mules in the nearby forest guarded by a few sentries, the main bulk of the convoy was led by Alaricsson to confront the savages.
As the greenskin warband arrayed itself on the hills on the other side of the campsite, Brom realized something.
"They're back for somethin' they left behind! Search the ruins for anythin' valuable! Search for Brokksson Heirlooms!" he bellowed, waving his runic axe towards the heaps of abandoned loot that spotted the old camp.

Surrounded by his Warriors and Thunderers, Thane Alaricsson meant to rush into the middle of the camp to start searching. On the right flank the Grudge Thrower's crew was unpacking their warmachine from its wagon and assembling it under the stern gaze of the convoy's Engineer. 
Unbeknownst to Azgar Swiftgit and his warband, the Dwarves had also sent their unit of Miners to the forests to flank the enemy...

Finally getting their warmachine together the crew started reloading it. While the others were winching the catapult, Engineer Barik Rukhfind worked something on the ammunition rocks with hammer and chisel. It was a grudge. With robust runes there was a single word hammered into the surface of the rocks: "Urk", meaning the larger kind of greenskins.

It was clear that the enemy knew exactly what they were after. Purposefully the Black Orcs surged forward to reach the nearest pile of loot under the nearby rock, shouting insults at the Duardin as well as each other.

Azgar had also been clever enough to bring some ranged support for his warband. A ballista, or "Spear Chukka" as the Goblins called it, had been carried to the site. Giving the exhausted Gobbos no time to repose, the Orc Bully slashed his whip and commanded the assembly of the weapon. Terrified Goblins hurried to obey.

Engineer Barik had finished carving the rocks and one was finally loaded into the catapult. Releasing a lever, the crew sent the gurdge rock arcing through the skies towards the Black Orcs. As the rock neared its target, the runes on its surface started to glow brighter and brighter. When the rock finally hit the ground amid the group of orcs it exploded, sending sharp pieces of glowing stone in every direction.
More than half of the towering orcs were sent flying to the ground, never to rise again.

The Duardin marched forth, eager to meet the foe head-on and search the camp. Warriors on the left flank reached a pile of plunder and scattered it, finding nothing useful or valuable in the process. Instead they found a heap of Goblin dung and a merry array of mushrooms growing atop it.

Azgar Swiftgit signaled his warband to advance, screaming commands none of the Dwarves could comprehend. Orcs Boyz waved their weapons in celebration of the upcoming conflict while the Wolf Riders could barely keep their bloodthirsty wolves at bay.

Another grudge rock came down from the skies to land on the remaining Black Orcs, taking them to the ground in an ear-splitting explosion. The right flank was now clear and the pile of loot behind the rock remained untouched.

Greenskins matched the Dwarves by bringing their own warmachine to bear. A spear-sized bolt whistled past the Wolf Riders to skewer a handful of Thunderers along its length.

At the same time Thane Alaricsson had found cover behind the rock in the middle of the camp while his Warriors rushed into the ruins of an old farmhouse to search it.

Unfortunately before the Duardin Warriors could search any of the loot lying on the floor, the Wolf Riders stormed in with their spears lowered. A furious struggle was to follow as the two sides fought for control of the mossed ruin.

With a full third of their number nailed together by the giant bolt from the Goblin warmachine, some of the remaining Thunderers decided to return to the convoy to help guarding it.

Despite the ferocity of the Goblins' charge and the skills of the Dwarves the fight in the ruins remained unresolved. Heavy axes and hammers brought low many a Goblin, but each such favor was returned by the rusted spears and bloody fangs. Neither side gave up on their objective, instead both redoubled their efforts to hack the other apart to claim the ruin for themselves.

The last of the Thunderers ran to an old crumbled staircase, finding a sack of loot beneath it. Alas, the contains turned out to be nothing more than a collection of bleached Snotling bones, probably used as toothpicks by their larger brethren.

Having wiped out the Black Orcs roaming on the right flank, the Grudge Thrower and its crew turned their attention to the Orc Boyz that swarmed the distant hill. After all, the crew still had rocks with the word "Urk" left among their ammunition. A glowing rock once again flew across the vault of the sky, cutting down a swathe of orcs in an explosion of shattered stone as it landed.

In the ruins of the farmhouse the Wolf Riders were finally getting the upper hand paw. Surrounding the Duardin, the wolves picked the stunty warriors from the line one after another by darting in and out, biting off arms and legs with gaping jaws. Soon there were only the leader of the Dwarf group and his standard bearer left, fighting the enemy back-to-back.

Thane Brom Alaricsson ran around the stone in the middle of the camp to catch the Goblin leader by surprise. Emerging from behind the giant rock, Brom swung his runic axe in a savage upward cut. Startled by this sudden new threat, Azgar Swiftgit was not fast enough to react. The gleaming edge of the exquisite gromril axe cleaved at the Goblin's head through the shabby iron helmet, mutilating an eye and severing an ear.
Azgar fell from the saddle. Rolling on the ground, unconscious, he left a trail of blood on the grass. Before Alaricsson could follow the Goblin Boss to end its misery, the white wolf  jumped on him and wrapped its slavering jaws around his weapon arm. Battering the wolf's bronze helmet with the edge of his shield, the Thane sought to free himself from the beast's grasp.

The Orc Boyz that hadn't died in the Duardin artillery barrage or ran away immediately after it searched a pile of items at the foot of the hill. Nothing of value was discovered, except for a broken orc axe.
"Oi Rotgut, look! Dis looks a lot like me first choppa... ye fink dem gobbos could've stolen it from me hut when me was fightin' the 'umies the other week?" one of the orcs asked the one next to him.
"Nah, if dat was yer first choppa I would've killed ye for possashuun of such a pretty choppa like dat de moment we mets," was the answer, and the search continued.

Half the camp had been searched already with no success on either side. The Brokksson Heirlooms still remained hidden. Both the greenskins and the Dwarves had suffered horrible losses already, with no end for this battle in sight unless someone would soon find the Heirlooms among all the loot littered about.
Despite the current stalemate situation Thane Brom Alaricsson was not concerned: after all, the Dwarves still had their flanking force lurking somewhere nearby, waiting for the perfect time to strike.

When Brom finally managed to push the giant wolf from top of him and was about to get up, he saw that Azgar had recovered from the previous blow already. Half his face a red ruin with blood flooding all over his clothing, the Goblin Boss picked up his sword from the ground.
"Ye ruined me bestest boss hat, you hairy stunty. Now gimme dat shiny metal hat of yers..." the Goblin cackled, wiping the bloody side of his face with a green hand. "Oh, and ye will also gimme dem eyes of yers too, for I seem to has lost one o' mine!"

Thane Alaricsson managed to get up just in time to catch the first slash of Azgar's Git-Cutta with his shield. The second slash came from an unexpected angle instead, finding a gap in the gromril armour of the Dwarf's armpit. The rusty goblin blade cut deep, but not deep enough to slow an experienced warrior like Brom Alaricsson. Lifting his runic axe, the Thane fell upon his adversary with renewed vigor.

After a long and draining fight the last of the Duardin Warriors fell to the ferocity of the wolves and their Goblin riders. Due to their beasts starting to feast upon the corpses of the fallen, the Goblins were unable to search the nearby ruins for valuables.

The steady trade of blows between Azgar and Brom ended up with the Dwarf's runic axe burying itself deep into the side of the Goblin. With a shriek of pain Azgar Swiftgit fell on his knees, his Git-Cutta clattering to the ground. Coming to the rescue of its beloved rider, Azgar's white wolf leaped in once again, picking up the half-dead Goblin and tossing him across the saddle before running off into the distant hills.

Having now defeated his opponent in single combat, Thane Alaricsson walked up to the rock to search the heap of plunder within. No signs of Brokksson Heirlooms to be found there either, but an angry snotling burst forth from the pile, sinking its needle-like teeth into Brom's finger. One axe-swing later the nuisance was gone.

The Orc Boyz had just finished searching the hillside cache when yet another grudge rock fell upon them, slaying all but one confused orc. This sole survivor decided to make a run for it as he was all alone in the field now; the Wolf Riders didn't count as they were nothing but filthy Goblins.

Vengeful for their fallen Warrior brothers-in-arms the Thunderers unleashed a volley of shots, decimating the group of Wolf Riders in a storm of lead as their mounts were gnawing at the corpses on the ground.

The greenskin force was now greatly depleted, with nothing but a single Rider and a faraway warmachine left on the plain. The casualties of the Duardin would also be piled high after the battle, but the current situation seemed to favor them. The Dwarves haven't even called in their flankers yet!

There were two places in the camp that haven't been searched yet: the ruined farmhouse and the huge rock on the right flank. One of them contained the revered Brokksson Heirlooms, but would there be enough time to search them both in the middle of a battle?

The last Wolf Rider charged the Thunderers head-on, screaming "waaagh!" at the top of its lungs. Calmly the Duardin received the charge, stepped aside and battered the little greenskin and its mount to death with the butts of their handguns. Thus only the Goblin warmachine remained on the field to disturb the search.

From the treeline on the right flank, a group of Duardin marched forth. Holding their pickaxe-standard high, the Miners had finally arrived on the field to join the search. First of all they descended upon the cache under the huge rock, finding a large pile of looted weapons...

Would the Brokksson Runestaff and Forgehammer be found among those tools of war?

The answer turned out to be less to the Dwarves's liking. There were lots of different weapons to be found: axes, hammers, swords, spears, guns and even a few pickaxes, but nothing related to the late Runepriest. After collecting the pickaxes for later use, the Miners signaled the rest of the Duardin that the Heirlooms were yet to be found!

Now knowing that the ruined farmhouse was the last possible place for the Brokksson Heirlooms to lay hidden, Thane Alaricsson burst into a run from behind the cover of the rock. As soon as the running Dwarf came into view, the Spear Chukka was aimed at him.

Soon a huge spear-like bolt split the air, seeking to halt the Thane's advance into the ruins. The missile hit home but fortunately the only thing damaged was Brom's fur-lined cloak which the bolt ripped from his shoulders and nailed to the ground.
Relieved to be still alive and kicking, the Thane sprinted the rest of the way to the farmhouse. Scattered all over the overgrown floor was loot of all kinds, both valuable and worthless. 
In the darkest corner of the ruin, however, was bundle of dirty cloth resting against the crumbling wall. Brom Alaricsson picked up the bundle and tore away the rags to reveal a pair of Runespriest's tools: a Runestaff and a Forgehammer.

Lifting the Brokksson Heirlooms high up in the air, Brom rejoiced.
"Look 'ere lads! We've found the family heirlooms of House Brokksson! The grudge is settled!"
Soon the old greenskin camp rang to the sound of Dwarven cheers and shouts as the convoy was brought in along with its ale-wagon, while in the distance rang the faint cracks of a whip as the Orc Bully was goading the Goblins and their warmachine back to the hills.

After a night of celebratory drinking and feasting, the Duardin convoy resumed its trek towards the Iron Company's main encampment. Along with their wagons of supplies they delivered something invaluable to the Dwarves of the main army: the news of a settled grudge.


As nice game as ever, the victor was decided on the last roll of the last Battle Round as my Thane, having survived the Spear Chukka, made a Run-roll of 3" and reached the last Objective Marker just before the game's end. I always like to say that the best matches are the ones that are decided on the final rolls and decisions of the very last rounds. This was proved to be true once again!

My next post shall be on my painting progress, I'll see about more Narrative Battle Reports after that.

perjantai 16. lokakuuta 2015

Survivors of Orrelheim


Here I am again, finally with the Marius Leitdorf battle report I promised! This time I played against my brother's Dark Elves (or Exile Aelfs, if you prefer) with my Empire army. We had a themed battle with themed armies to maximize fun and fluff over sheer competitiveness.

In this home-brew scenario the Dark Elves have burned the town of Orrelheim and are now hunting the survivors to sacrifice them in the name of Khaine, the elven God of Murder. An Imperial army led by the infamous Elector Count Marius Leitdorf has arrived to save the town's citizens and drive the pillagers away.

(Our cardboard buildings look glorious, don't they?)

There are 9 Survivors scattered across the board. To capture a Survivor a player must move a non-cavalry unit in base contact with it. The Survivor model is then removed from the table and grants the captor D3 Capture Points. Unless captured, a Survivor moves D6" in a random direction at the start of each turn. 
The side with the higher total of Capture Points at the end of the 6th Battle Round is declared victorious!

On to the story!


The sky was pitch black from the giant pillars of smoke that rose from the town, painted over by the red and orange from the flames that were devouring the buildings. Clash of arms and occasional sounds of gunfire echoed through the corpse-strewn streets, accompanied by the agonized screams of the tortured.
On the edge of the forest surrounding the burning town the air was still relatively fresh and breathable. Marius closed his eyes and took in the smells with a long sniff of his crooked nose, listening to the cacophony of sounds that filled the night. In his mind he was forming the initial verses of a poem.

"Deep in the night
I'm looking for some love,
Deep in the night
I can show my every flaw,
Deep in the night
With my smoothest silken glove,
Deep in the night
I can touch my dearest dove"

He mumbled, petting his horse as a young lieutenant rode up to him on a sweating white destrier.
"Herr Kurfürst! The troops are positioned and ready to move into the city. They're waiting for your command."
The Elector Count seemed not to have seen nor heard the lieutenant at all, starting the poem anew in an attempt to make up more verses.
The young officer started to sweat as bad as his tired mount, loosening the neck piece of his uniform and trying to summon up the bravery to repeat his report. The generals and captains that sat on their decorated saddles around the Elector Count made no move to help, instead following their liege's example in ignoring the lieutenant.

Clearing his throat, the officer tried again.
"Herr Kurfürst, our troops are positioned and ready to move. We must act now, people are dying out there!" he almost yelled, pointing to the direction of the burning town. That seemed to awaken the Count from his thoughts.
"Yes..." Marius Leitdorf finally said with a deep frown. "Yes, I guess you're right in this, gute Leutnant. Signal the advance! I'll lead the thrust up the main street myself!" 
Grasping the reins of his warhorse, Daisy Kurt van Helboring II, The Elector Count rode down the gentle slope. His retinue of heavy cavalry from the minor knightly order of the Black Brotherhood followed close behind, while the generals and captains melted away to command their own companies in the battle to come.

Riding towards the raging flames and screams of the dying, the Mad Count felt the weight of unslept nights upon his eyes. 
After his small force of Averland State Troops had melted away in a Beastmen ambush a week ago, the Count had been left wandering in the wilds with nothing but his few remaining knights to accompany him. Soon they had stumbled upon a large army from the city state of Talabheim, of which Marius had taken control by using his superior authority as an Elector Count over the unlucky Talabheimer general, Roland Blauenlaufel.

Marius knew his sickness had again taken hold of him in the past few months. Heading to the woods with a small force to chase down shadows, losing a fight to the smelly goatmen and getting lost in the wilds had definitely not been his best moments. None of this would have happened had his madness stayed subsided.

Now he was leading a Talabheimer army against an enemy that was burning down some town in the middle of the forests. He sighed and drew his magical sword from its sheath, sending a flash of light to bask his surroundings in blue.
One of the twelve runic swords gifted to the race of Men by the Dwarves in times long past, the Averland Runefang was a superior weapon. Holding this relic aloft, Marius could feel the immense power of the blade vibrating up and down its length. He also unsheathed his trusty side-arm: a long stiletto dagger.
Over the years he had honed his sword-and-dagger skills to perfection, practicing every single day against various trees, bushes, training dummies and enemies of the Empire.

Entering the destroyed town, the men of the Empire followed their leader zealously in hopes of exacting harsh vengeance upon the merciless pillagers.

 In the streets the survivors of the town's populace were making a last stand. A small group of local militia had erected makeshift barricades on the main street and were now preparing to take on the attackers that emerged from the smoke and shadows.

Just as Marius was leading his forces to the site of the barricade, the Dark Elves launched a furious assault upon the town militia. The distant sound of gunfire, more frequent now, told the Elector Count that the rest of his army had also made contact with the enemy elsewhere in the city.

Pointing his Runefang at the enemy, Marius screamed out a signal to attack.
"Schnell! Schnell! Bring salvation to your countrymen and slaughter the foe!"
Obediently his forces surged forward without delay. While the Elector Count galloped away with Knights and Pistoliers, Jade Wizard Pieter Überplut organized the searching of the nearby buildings. Two survivors were soon found and sent to the safety of the Empire army camp outside the town.

The brave militia at the barricade hefted their weapons and foolishly charged the Elves, only to be swiftly put down by the Black Ark Corsairs and dragged to the back of the enemy lines. No doubt these poor souls would later be sacrificed to some malevolent elven god, thought Marius.

The charge of the militia had ignited the battle. Furious at the capture of their fellow Imperial citizens, the Swordsmen broke into a run to reach the enemy as quickly as possible. Their surge was soon halted by a volley of black bolts, which luckily pin-cushioned shields instead of the men carrying them.

On the other side of the main street, the Dark Elf Chariot rammed into the Imperial Pistoliers, charioteers firing their repeater crossbows on the run. A rider took three bolts to the neck and fell to the ground while his horse was torn apart by the fearsome reptiles pulling the chariot, but the resolve of the horsemen held. The elves had spilled Imperial blood, and they would pay for it with their very lives.

Retribution came swiftly in the form of an accurate handgun volley that swept the chariot clean of life. The Handgunners had fortified themselves in a ruined building that provided them with an ideal overlook of the battlefield.

While his infantry was advancing on the right flank, Marius and his retinue of black-armoured knights rode through the gap in the barricades to run down the foe lurking behind. There, on the bloodied cobbles of the burning town, stood a mysterious figure of great infamy; Fleetmaster Lokhir Fellheart himself!
As the Mad Count's gaze fell upon this merciless slaughterer, his rage flamed up like the insatiable fires that burned around them. Waving the Runefang at his adversary, Marius shouted out an insult of tremendous magnitude:

"You don't frighten us, elven pig dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so-called 'King of the Seas'! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

Lokhir Fellheart calmly accepted this challenge, casually saluting the madman with his blades of red steel. The facial expressions of the elf were covered by the golden Kraken Mask, but his eyes had a gleam of murder in them. An insult from a lowly human cuts deep in elven pride and is not easily forgotten.

A hollow boom echoed across the site of battle, followed by a mighty explosion that lit the smoky skies. The Imperial crew had finally got their Mortar in position and firing, sending a powder-packed shell crashing into the ranks of the Black Guard of Naggarond. As the dust settled and the elves started picking themselves up, a full third remained flat on the ground. The warmachines of the race of Man had spoken, once again proving their worth.

Inspired by the swift fall of the Chariot, the Pistoliers charged into the nearby group of Shades in hopes of easy victory. The hot-headed young riders yelled and whooped, firing their pistols in such a hurry that every shot missed its mark on the agile elves.

The charge of the Elector Count and his cavalry hit home. Crashing deep in to the mob of Corsairs, the knights of the Black Brotherhood skewered elves on their couched lances while enemy counter-blows bounced of full-plate armouring.

Riding at his adversary at full gallop, Marius Leitdorf swung his magical sword in a rippling blue arc. With terrifying ease, the blade cut through armour, flesh and bone as if it were paper. There was a wet splat as a smoking armoured glove fell on the cobbles of the street, holding a red blade.
With his left arm now missing, Lokhir Fellheart tried to land an overhead blow on the passing Count with the sword he still wielded. His mind blurred by rage at the insult this man had thrown at him, Lokhir's calculations proved false. His sword caught nothing but empty air. Turning to face the Elector Count who was now wheeling around with his horse for another ride-by, the Fleetmaster braced himself, determined that the next charge would be this man's last.

Dark Elf Shades were getting the upper hand in their fight with the pistoliers. The recklessness of the human horsemen proved to be their undoing as their bullets were wasted on the swift and agile elves who simply dodged every shot. Swirling around the horses like midnight wind, the Shades cut down mounts and riders both with their wicked blades and bolts.

Charging at the Fleetmaster again, the Mad Count sweeped down with his Runefang. This time, however, the elf noble was ready. His enchanted Kraken Mask had already started to regenerate his missing left hand, growing it back inch by inch. 
Having now calmed his mind, Lokhir Fellheart instantly calculated the enemy blade's trajectory, rolled aside and brought up his remaining red sword in a lightning fast strike. The human grunted and his nervous horse slowed down to a halt. 
Leaning on his saddle, with his magical sword hanging only barely in the grip of his hand, the Elector Count was ready to be finished. Before Fellheart had taken no more than three strides towards his opponent, Marius suddenly straightened his back.

"You, sir, have ruined my favourite shirt.... now this is personal!" he declared in an overly dramatic voice before dismounting and starting towards the Fleetmaster. Grinning beneath his golden mask, Lokhir walked up to meet the challenger.

Empire infantry had now made it into combat with the hated foe. The elven Dark Riders loosed a withering hail of crossbow bolts at the Greatswords before charging in, thinning the ranks of these Mankind's elite warriors. Many fell, but their faith in Sigmar was true and the line held.
The vengeful Black Guard charged into the Imperial Swordsmen, swinging their halberds left and right, and men fell like wheat before a scythe!

On the eastern side of the main street the clash between Pistoliers and Shades came into a bloody conclusion. By slashing at the legs of the horses and nailing their falling riders with iron bolts, the Shades slew all but the single Outrider. This veteran warrior pierced the slowest Shade with his cavalry sabre, emptied his three-barreled pistol into the elf's face and rode off into the maze of the streets to escape redemption.
With no more enemies nearby, the Shades set off to find more survivors to capture.

No clear victor had yet emerged from the battle as the tide swept back and forth. Marius' forces had already saved many survivors, but the Elves had been swifter still: more Imperial citizens had been sent to sacrificial altars than had reached the safety of the Empire war camp!

On the left Empire flank the Pistoliers had met heir bloody end, leaving the Shades searching the streets without any resistance. Empire infantry still endured on the right, although Swordsmen were dying like flies in the determined slaughter enacted upon them by the Black Guard.
On the main street the knights of the Black Brotherhood were fighting off the rest of the bloodthirsty Corsairs while an Elector Count and a Fleetmaster traded blows.

Amid all this confusion, Dreadlord Inlok Bladefang rode his ferocious reptile mount past the Knights and Corsairs towards the lonely wizard, Pieter Überplut, who stood on the street chanting some spell of protection for the Empire Knights.
"You should've saved those blessing for yourself, you manling fool!" Bladefang yelled as his mount leaped over the barricades. Noticing the oncoming Dreadlord, Pieter's eyes grew large and he pointed his staff at this sudden new threat. Would there be enough time for him to cast a spell before the elven lord's charge overcame him?

Despite the protections Pieter the Jade Wizard had cast upon them, the knights of the Black Brotherhood suffered casualties. After they had lost the momentum of their charge and the Corsairs had recovered from the initial shock, knights begun to fall. Pulled down by vicious hooks and butchered with curved blades, not even full body armour could protect the Men of the Empire anymore.

The dismounted Elector Count and the wounded Fleetmaster were hacking furiously at each other. Every blue swing of the Runefang was parried and returned by a red flash of Lokhir's famous blade. Clouds of sparks flew this way and that as the powerful magics bound within the swords clashed.
Seeing that his opponent's arm was healing at an alarming rate, the Mad Count harnessed all the rage he could from the ruination of his beautiful custom shirt and dashed forward. Lokhir Fellheart could barely keep up with the speed and power of the blue storm that was launched upon him, blows raining on him like a downpour. For all the power bound within the glowing blade of the Averland Runefang, it was the castle-forged stiletto dagger that resolved the duel.
Burying the long steel blade in the exposed flank of his foe, Marius finally got the upper hand. Bleeding and shocked, Fellheart backed away but couldn't t block the next lunge. The blue blade came in and out, parting armour and drawing blood. Continuing to back away from the Count, Lokhir managed to parry the next few swings, but then again the stiletto found its way into his chest. Falling on his back on the cobbled street, the Fleetmaster was defeated.

Marius walked beside his fallen adversary with a hint of disgust on the sharp features of his face.
"Never again will you rip apart my clothing... I payed four hundred gold crowns for this!" he screamed at the dying Fleetmaster, pulling at his yellow-and-purple sleeve. With his rage now spent and the matter settled, Marius spat on the elf lord's corpse and walked to his mount.
"Come now, Daisy, we have a battle to win!"

Forming a spearwall with their zweihanders, the Greatswords prepared to receive the charge of the elven cavalry. This tactic proved efficient as the Dark Riders plunged straight into the long blades, dying en masse. With the elven charge blunted, the Greatswords fell upon the remaining foes with their massive weapons, cleaving left and right.

The Imperial Swordsmen were not as lucky as their elite brothers-in-arms. Facing the dreaded Black Guard in the chaotic hack and slash of close combat, none of these brave men were left standing. Without any casualties of their own, the elves hacked through the human formation like farmers scything through a wheat field. Soon the street was filled with flowing blood and grisly severed body parts.

Pieter Überplut was in the middle of chanting a spell when the Dreadlord crushed into him. The Cold One mount sunk its dagger-like teeth into the wizard's waist and lifted the poor man off the ground without even breaking pace.

As he was being carried on the run by this monstrous mount, Pieter finished casting his spell. Stretching his arm towards the rider, the Jade Wizard conjured a bolt of green energy with the last of his strength. Alas, the bolt only scratched the Dreadlord's hip, sending small pieces of broken chainmail raining down on the cobbles below.
Inlok Bladefang then swung his mighty Hydra Blade in revenge, severing the wizard's head and sending it rolling across the street.

As the Shades captured a survivor on their empty street, another one came out of hiding and broke into a run towards the Empire lines. The Handgunners saw this and decided it was time for action: discarding the benefits of higher ground, they descended into the main street, pointing the ragged survivor a route to safety.

The Greatswords ended the Dark Riders' existence swiftly with the mighty sweeps of their heavy blades. Making sure no life remained in the mangled corpses they left in their wake, the elite warriors headed after the unit of Black Guard that had disappeared behind the next corner.

The battle had taken a slight turn in the Empire's favor. With their Fleetmaster dead, their cavalry gone and the Corsairs breaking under the grind of the Imperial Knights, the Dark Elves seemed to be losing ground. Except for Inlok Bladefang and the Black Guard...

The Dreadlord weathered a salvo of shots from the Handgunners before crashing into their ranks. His mount let out a blood-curdling roar and started ripping apart the panicking men. Inlok's Hydra Blade took a bloody toll as he hacked and stabbed and slashed and swung his weapon around him in great arcs. Many fell and many more ran away, appalled by the havoc one elf could wreak among their unit.

Making one final push, the Knights of the Black Brotherhood stamped the last of the Corsairs under their steel-shod hooves. A single elf survived longer than his kin, fighting valiantly against overwhelming odds. Despite all the bravery and pride, however, his head was soon split in two by the Knight Preceptor's longsword.

The Black Guard, having rolled over the unfortunate Swordsmen, broke into a run towards the Mortar sitting atop a nearby tower. The warmachine's crew cursed out loud and prayed for Sigmar as they realized the enemy was now too close to be fired upon.

The sacrificial altars of the Dark Elves were rapidly filling with wailing inhabitants of Orrelheim. As the Shades tied up a captured man and sent him to the bakclines, they spotted the last of the survivors: a lonely Militia bowman coming down from the nearby building. Reloading their repeater crossbows with fresh magazines of bolts, they set after the terrified man with grim determination.

Although the Black Guard were too close to the tower to be targeted by the Mortar, the crew managed to seek out a new target. Turning their warmachine towards Inlok Bladefang who was slaughtering the Handgunners with wild abandon, the artillerymen shouted out a warning to their comrades:

"Achtung Kamerader! Bomben incoming!"

Mere seconds after the Handgunners had thrown themselves to the ground, a mortar shell landed right on top of the Dreadlord in an imposing explosion of fire, smoke, and gore.

 After a brief sprint the Greatswords reached the Black Guard, charging in with their blades flashing in the light of the burning buildings. Although the attack came in the rear, lighting fast elven reflexes allowed the Black Guard to turn around in time to put up a fair fight.
Several elves were cut down by ruthless swings of the zweihanders, but it was the elegant halberds that claimed more lives in the end. With unnatural speed and discipline the Black Guard swept aside the Greatswords' charge, leaving only a few men standing.

Deciding that the Corsairs were now done for, Marius Leitdorf rode Daisy at full gallop towards to Shades in hopes of interrupting them and saving the last survivor. As he passed the spot were Lokhir Fellheart's corpse should've been laying on the cobbles, the Mad Count cursed. It seemed that the enemy warlord had escaped with his life, no doubt thanks to the regenerating powers of that thrice-damned Kraken Mask.

Before the unfortunate bowman could make his escape, the Shades were upon him. Dodging a hastily aimed arrow, the dark-clad warriors tackled the man and bound him. Thus was the last of the survivors sent to fuel the bloody rites of the malicious elves.

The rest of the Greatswords were slain without too much effort from the elven elite, except for one. 
Ludwig, the Count's Champion, stood his ground and tried to keep the enemy at bay by swinging wide arcs with his greatsword. In perfect unison the elves hacked at him with their long-shafted halberds, making it difficult to parry every blow. Out of four, Ludwig managed to parry three strikes before the fourth cut deep in his leg. The Count's Champion fell to the ground. 
Silently the Black Guard surrounded him, their halberds coming down once again in perfect unison.

With all survivors saved or captured, the Shades decided to carve up the three remaining Handgunners. They fired their repeater crossbows on the run, filling the enemy standard bearer with black iron bolts.
Before the elven charge hit home, however, the human Marksman returned the favor: one shot from the venerable Hochland Long Rifle took down two Shades, spreading bits of their brains on the cobbles.

The Black Guard ascended the tower, catching the artillerymen by surprise as they were reloading their Mortar. The crew hastily crabbed whatever tools they could find to use as weapons, and a mismatched fight could begin.

Losing half their number to a single shot before even getting to grips with their foe unnerved the Shades. As they turned tail and ran, the elven warriors provided the Imperial Marksman an excellent opportunity for moving-target practice.

Scanning the site of the battle, Marius concluded that the fighting was finally over. All the elves on the main street had been slain or driven away, although the fighting might continue in the other parts of the city.
The Elector Count's eyes locked on the elven banner rising atop the artillery tower as a Captain emerged riding from the maze of the streets, followed by a regiment of weary State Troops.
"Herr Kurfürst, Hauptmann Hans Rotenspieler reporting. We have driven the enemy away from the town, they're now scattering into the forest. Our own losses haven't been counted yet, but I reckon this day was a great victory for the Kaisertum!" the Captain panted, reining up his horse.
Without parting his gaze with the enemy standard for a single moment, the Mad Count recited:

"Against the red
Is black so bright,
For those who bled
Is this a slight,
For the sake of the dead
Let's make it right"

Pointing his glowing Runefang at the tower, Marius finally turned to look at the Captain.
"Blitz the bastards, gute Hauptmann," he commanded.

The skies were bright with the hint of dawn as Marius Leitdorf rode back to the war camp with his solemn retinue of black-clad knights, listening to the distant boom of Imperial heavy artillery.


What a game!

The Dark Elves managed to snatch more Capture Points from the Survivors than my Empire, but luckily the Black Guard were the only elven unit on the table at the end of the match. 
Thus it was a practical victory for my troops as we cleared the town, but spiritual (and actual) victory for the Elves who got what they came for: slaves, sacrifices and plunder!

I have to say, I enjoy playing the Empire. Somehow their 'feel' is much more empire-ish than it has been in the editions of the late Warhammer Fantasy. Numerous State Troops, elite Greatswords, hard-punching Handgunners, armoured Knights, inspiring Heroes and marvelous Warmachines!

Marius is a great piece to play. His unique command ability "Lunatic Ravings" is hilarious and effective: I don't think Marius could've defeated Lokhir Fellheart in single combat so easily unless he hadn't insulted the poor fellow first, decreasing Lokhir's hit rolls.

The Black Guard. Are. Brutal. They're total killers in close-combat, no matter if facing line infantry or some other faction's "elites". Shooting hurts, of course, but that goes for almost every infantry unit in the game.

The Dark Riders were a bit of a shock. Three ranged attacks per model?! My Greatswords really didn't appreciate that... Fortunately they fared no better (nor worse) in close-combat than any other light cavalry unit.

Corsairs are tricky. Their offensive power is not that great but they can hold up for a surprisingly good while in combat, even against my charging cavalry. Their ability of potentially sending more models fleeing from enemy units that fail battleshock tests is very nice when your Corsairs are in the centre of a mid-table clusterfuck. Pardon my language.

The next battle report I post will be about my Dwarves, continuing the story of my previous two reports. 

Until then!