maanantai 6. kesäkuuta 2016

Heroes of Chiselwind Cemetery

Greetings weary travelers of the internet!

Today I'll give you my 11th Narrative Battle Report with a very special scenario, pitting a small group of duardin heroes against a horde of greenskins!

Here, have a look at our setup:
As you can see the deployment sure looks pretty one-sided, with one faction having a serious advantage over the other. I mean, look at those poor greenskins marching into the jaws of death with ignorant smiles on their faces!

In all seriousness, I had five hero -keywords against his uncounted horde of regular troops. The objective was to annihilate the opposing force to the last man(or duardin, or orruk, or grot) to gain control of a makeshift cemetery, represented on the field by two small stretches of wooden palisade wall.

Me and my opponent agreed that my heroes could all use their Command Abilities despite only one of them actually being the general of my army. The forces looked so mismatched on the table that it only felt suitable to give a little buff to the underdog.

Let's get started with the narrative, shall we?


After the magnificent victory over the greenskins at the Battle of Bronze Plateau, the Iron Company had camped near the corpse-strewn field to collect loot and tend to their wounded. Patrols scouring the area reported that the beaten enemy had pulled back for many miles and the route ahead was clear. After four nights of repose the Company broke camp and set forth to reconquer their lands from the hated foe once again. All that was left behind was a hastily built graveyard for those who fell at Bronze Plateau, surrounded by a palisade wall to keep scavengers from digging up the deceased.

As the columns of duardin resumed their steady march towards the coast, Commander Ungrim Ironhelm made a last tour around the cemetery with his lieutenants to honor the dead.
"Rest assured my friend, yer passin' will be remembered an' avenged," Ungrim swore, kneeling beside one of the makeshift graves. 
It was a shallow grave marked by a grey stone with the name Ethred the Prospector chiseled on its rough surface. Similar stones littered the grassy ground inside the circle of palisade walls, each marked with the name of the warrior resting beneath it.

The Commander took a handful of dirt from the ground and let it slowly flow in between his gloved fingers.
"I think we should leave, m'lord. The rest o' the Company has disappeared from sight already an' I just had a queer shiver down me spine," said Gomrund Redaxe, a Thane with a bloody reputation of letting his weapon of choice do most of the talking for him.
"I agree with 'im, there's a smell of a glorious death in the air!" declared Malakai Smensson, a Slayer Lord and a long-term friend of Ungrim.

There was a long, hollow sound in the air, echoing through the surrounding forest. All five duardin stopped to listen. Soon the sound could be heard again, this time much closer.
"That's a greenskin warhorn, make no mistake. We must get back to the Company and..." started Burlok Dorinsson the Brewmaster before getting cut off by Ironhelm himself.
"There's no time, lads. We'll stand an' fight to preserve our fallen kin from these savages. Follow me!" Ungrim bellowed, picking up his hammer and starting towards the gates of the cemetery.

As soon as they arrived at the palisade walls the forests around them spewed forth a howling mob of greenskins, most likely errant survivors of the recent battle. Their weapons swinging wildly in the air, the attackers strode towards the cemetery in pursuit of easy loot and a measure of revenge for their previous defeat.
At the forefront of the assault marched a spearmob of grots, flanked by small herds of squigs being poked into the direction of the walls. Behind them came hordes of orruks and a pack of Wolf Riders, with more enemies in the distance that could not yet be recognized.

"Stand firm, heroes o' the Iron Company! The odds may be stacked against us, but that's ever been the case for our proud race. We stand, we fight and we prevail!" Ungrim Ironhelm shouted out, lifting his hammer into the air in a defiant gesture.
On Ungrim's left side Gomrund Redaxe readied his axe, while on his right the Daemon Slayer Furgil bellowed his berserk frustration at the oncoming foes and Malakai Smensson was still casually sharpening the edge of his runic axe. Behind them Burlok Dorinsson took a swig from his tankard.

Then the greenskins rushed upon them.

The green tide crashed against the thin duardin line, grots running in with spears waving and screaming excitedly while squigs pounced on the heroes in pursuit of fresh meat. All this was for naught.
Axes and hammers carved arcs of destruction among the tightly packed ranks of the diminutive creatures, sending green limbs, heads and bits of brain flying in the air. It was a meatgrinder.
On the left a squig jumped at Gomrund with a gaping maw opened to its limits, only to be cut in half seconds after by a downward cut of an axe. 
Next to him Ungrim took the bulk of the assault. A squig wrapped its jaws around his left arm, rendering his shield useless for a time and creating an opening for the zealous grots to have a poke with their spears. Several blades slid past the links of his chainmail hauberk to draw blood beneath. With a grunt Ungrim twisted to the side, shattering the spears and sending his hammer out to return the favor. Skulls cracked and shields splintered before the grots took steps back to escape the deadly reach of his weapon.
Furgil and Malakai waded into the midst of the enemy with their giant axes, carving up groups of grots with every swing. So terrifying was their advance that only a single spear made it into contact with Malakai's flesh, with the arm holding it being cut off immediately after.

Such a bloodbath was more than enough to route the grots. With the majority of their number laying mutilated on the bloody ground the rest abandoned their shields and weapons to disperse into the forests with all due haste. Until now the orruks had stood back, laughing at the excessive slaughter of their smaller cousins, but as the last grots ran away the green brutes picked up their weapons to have a go at these stunties.
"The first wave was just a warm up," muttered Furgil the Slayer under his breath. "They were testing out resolve."
"Aye, and we've showed 'em that we mean business," replied Ungrim with his hammer at the ready once again.

A tankard was passed down the duardin line, each warrior taking a long gulp of refreshing ale. Both Ungrim and Malakai felt the pain of their wounds fade away.
"That's what I call a fine beverage!" Gomrund Redaxe laughed, wiping the foam from his beard.
"I could do this all day long!"

Cries of "WAAAGH!" erupted as the orruks accelerated to running speed, ready to push through the line of duardin to separate and slaughter them one by one. It soon turned out that the orruks were the ones getting slaughtered, with many being cut down before even having a swing at the damned stunties!
Redaxe was enjoying himself. After the swig from the Brewmaster's tankard he now fought with renewed vigour, hewing down his bulky adversaries one after another while singing ancient duardin drinking songs in a pompous voice.

"There are worse ways t' leave this world than this, eh?" he called out to Ungrim while decapitating yet another green beast with a sideward cut.
"Aye," Ungrim replied, his warhammer caving in a head with a burst of gore. "Gettin' stomped by a gargant, bein' poisoned by 'em nasty spiders..."
"Chokin' on food, gettin' killed in a drunken brawl..." Furgil the Slayer joined in. Spatters of blood dotted his orange mohawk as he forced his way through the orruks with apparent ease, felling foes left and right.
"An' don't forget gettin' stuffed down a gargants smelly trousers!" Malakai called out from the far right, currently pulling his axe out of an orruk skull. "That's a bad bad way t' leave..."

Soon the remaining orruks turned tail and ran, disappearing into the woods while claiming to "catch up dem grots n' bring 'em back to da scrap".
Malakai put his hand under his magnificent orange beard, winced, and the hand returned bloody.
"Tis but a scratch," he claimed as the others gazed at him. "Pass me that tankard, Dorinsson, an' I'll be fine."
Ale was passed down the line once again, refreshing the warriors. Just after Gomrund had passed the tankard to Ungrim, a screaming grot appeared from behind the palisade. Before Redaxe had time to react the greenskin's spear punched into his flank. Grabbing the spear, Gomrund yanked the grot closer and sliced it in two with a swing from his axe.
"Bloody grots..." he murmured under his breath as the two halves of the creature fell to the ground.

Allowing the stunties no more time to repose the second wave of orruks came rushing in, eager to succeed where all their fellows had failed thus far. But recent history repeated itself as the defiant cries of "WAAAGH!" were reduced to a chorus of death screams in a whirlwind of axes and hammers.
Malakai Smensson and Furgil the Slayer were both getting frustrated as their deaths would not come.
" 'Ow many o' these savages do I 'ave t' carve up b'fore I get my glorious death?!" Furgil bellowed, kicking aside a squig-hide shield and sinking his axe into the green flesh beneath it. "Come at me, ya bloody good-for-nothin' 'shroombrains!"
Two orruks came charging straight at him with murder and delight in their eyes, but before the impact Malakai swooped by, swiftly cutting the orruks down.
"Don't ya steal my glory ya pesky Daemon-Tickler!" he said, casting a mean sideways look at Furgil. "I'm the Slayer Lord 'ere an' I deserve t' die b'fore ya."
"Oh, we'll see 'bout that!" was the Daemon-Slayer's reply.

Just then the fighting paused once again as the few surviving orruks ran for their lives. As a drink was passed down the line, Ungrim Ironhelm eyed his tiring warriors.
"If we fall into infightin' an' arguments we'll all surely perish," he warned his subordinates. "Keep yer tongues an' thoughts t' yerself or I'll halve all your wages!"
There was a silence among the duardin.
"Right, now back to business! I intend to lead my Iron Company for decades t' come and push 'ese greenskins out o' my lands," Ungrim said after hearing no objections. He picked up his hammer and prepared for another wave.

The Wolf Riders charged in.

Like a rolling thunder the pack of wolf-riding grots ran into the stunties with spears lowered in the fashion of knights' lances. The charge hit home, and hard.
Ungrim cracked the skull of the first wolf with his hammer but the second leaped directly on top of him, sinking its fangs into his right arm.
Furgil the Slayer hacked the wolf and the rider away from his Commander but another Wolf Rider crashed straight into him, punching a spear into his shoulder.
Gomrund Redaxe too was overwhelmed by this avalanche of raging fur as wolves tore at his arms and legs while his armour got battered by numerous grot spears.
Malakai had no troubles at all, un-wolfing grots and beheading mounts with grim determination and measured strikes. Even Burlok Dorinsson put aside his tankard for a while and stepped up, dispatching a Wolf Rider that was about to bounce on the Commander.

In a feat of strength and resilience the duardin overcame the cavalry charge, sending the survivors fleeing after their footslogging comrades. Now they found themselves facing an Orruk Warboss and his personal retinue of 'Ardboyz.
"Ya stunties are a tough lot!" the Warboss called out. "Ya carved up me boyz an' sent me grots runnin' away. I won't 'ave dat. I's da great Gormag Crushstompsmash, an' I's gonna crush an' stomp an' smash ya all to da ground!"
Gesturing with his enormous choppa, Gormag sent his 'Ardboyz charging at the cemetery gates.

The big, dark orruks smiled wickedly as they waded through the sea of corpses between them and their hated enemies. Malakai leaned in closer to Furgil.
"Now if ye kill even one beast that's comin' at me I'll..."
"Malakai! Shut yer beard and put yer axe t' work," Ungrim interrupted the Slayer Lord before the sentence was finished. For a time Smensson glared at his Commander but then did as he was bid.
The orruks had reached them.
Weapons swung, armour cracked and blood was spilled. The duardin suffered many wounds with Ungrim taking a spiked mace to the side, Furgil getting his face scraped by a giant axe and Gomrund Redaxe having his left arm dislocated while running into a towering orruk. But no harm could be done on Malakai Smensson who danced through the enemy ranks with a bloodied axe in hand, felling foes like a duardin god of war.
Not long could the orruk retinue survive against such adversaries, and soon the 'Ardboyz mob leader fled the battle as his last boyz were cut down.

All that was left was Gormag Crushstompsmash, standing with his jaws wide open. A flame of anger ignited in his eyes.
"Ya unda-grown hairy pinkies, look at wat ya dun to me warmob!" the Warboss yelled out. "How's I gonna be a right-mighty Warboss if I has no boyz to boss around!"

Ungrim watched the orruk went its rage.
"I don't need any upstart green generals rallyin' my enemies after I defeat 'em," Commander Ironhelm called out to Gormag. "Ye'll die 'ere an' now b'fore ye cause any more trouble."

"Oh yus, ya got dat right, little stunty! Someone 'as to die, but ain't me dis day!" the orruk replied, grasping its choppa with both hands.

"Let me handle it, m'lord," Malakai asked while measuring the greenskin up and down with his eyes. "I'll take that poor creature down in one."

Ungrim gazed long at his friend and the rest of his fellow warriors.
"Yer the only one o' us in good enough health to face the beast, Malakai," Ironhelm admitted while leaning on his hammer and holding his blood-stained side. "I'll permit ye t' face it. Good luck my friend."

Smensson snorted.
"If I'm in luck I'll find my sweet death t'day."
With that the Slayer Lord marched off to face the Warboss.

The combatants strode towards each other, Gormag huffing and puffing like an angry bull and Malakai hefting his runic axe in his hands. They both took more steps, accelerating to steady jog. Soon they were running. Seconds before impact Gormag lifted his choppa in the air high above his head while Malakai leapt into the air and did the same.
There was a metallic crack and a wet smack. Something thumped onto the ground.

Malakai was standing atop Gormag's corpse with his axe buried deep in between the orruk's eyes.

"MAAALAKAAAAAIIIII!" the Slayer Lord cried out to the skies in triumph.

As soon as the thrill of the kill passed, Smensson's expression darkened.
"No death fer me again..." he muttered into his beard. Leaving his axe in place, Malakai jumped down from the orruk's carcass and started walking around in circles, talking to himself in low tones about his cursed luck.

Commander Ironhelm limped to his friend supported by his hammer. The others spread out to examine the piles of corpses.
"Well done, Malakai. Yer as good as ever, I see," Ungrim pointed out and put a hand on Smensson's shoulder.
"Don't ye mock me, Ironhelm. I'm cursed t' walk 'ese realms for all eternity..." Smensson said, looking down.
"Now excuse me I've an axe to retrieve."
He climbed atop Gormag's motionless form and yanked his weapon free.

"T'was a good day, but I suggest we 'ead back t' the Company. I need my arm fixed if I'm ever t' swing an axe again," Gomrund proposed, his mail-clad arm hanging limply as he moved.
"A-ha!" Furgil shouted with glee as he spotted a wounded grot crawling for safety. One strike of an axe later the Slayer continued his tour around the battlefield with a smile on his face.

"I agree. Take the leader's 'ead, we'll use it t' raise morale at the camp tonight," Ungrim adviced his weary companions.
"The events o' this day'll make one hell o' a story by the campfire..."


This game was absolutely fantastic, although a bit one sided. But this only proves the point of Age of Sigmar in general: you don't need perfectly balanced armies to have fun with your miniatures. You don't have to win to have fun with your miniatures.

Me and my opponent both enjoyed this mismatched match where a group of heroes faced off with a horde of enemies. It was like the movies where the main characters slay countless enemies with apparent ease!

A combination of very capable duardin melee heroes with two Slayers and a Josef Bugman to heal them is quite effective, even when facing vastly superior numbers. These kinds of "few elite guys vs redshirts" -scenarios are truly interesting to play, no matter what side your on. 
We were kinda expecting that the duardin heroes were in for a glorious last stand and heroic deaths, but as it turned out they overcame the opposition and escaped with their lives. Fascinating!

There will be a couple of Battle Reports more for this "Iron Company vs Urgokh's Waaagh" storyline. Then I'll gather them all up in one post to tie up loose ends and unite the timeline of the story. We'll see when they come out, there's plenty of painting and campaigning yet to do!

Until next time!

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