sunnuntai 9. lokakuuta 2016

Clash at the Blackblood Ruins


Here I am with a brand new Narrative Battle Report, just as promised. I was lucky to meet this one friendly mate at my local gaming store who agreed to play a game of AoS, and to top it off he gave me the permission to document the whole thing. Hurrah!

This pic was taken at the end of the first Battle Round when I finally remembered to ask my opponent if he was okay with it

Our scenario is a simple one from the Matched Play section of the General's Handbook, called Border War. We both had 1000p worth of models with us so that obviously was the size of the game. He brought in his Moonclan Grots while I had decided to field-test my Slaves to Darkness.

I do not usually play using GHB points system (feels too restrictive for my narrative style of play) but it's what my local gaming store uses to keep all the pick-up-games flowing between strangers. Nonetheless it's always refreshing to play a more structured game every now and then!

The scenario is, as I said, a simple one. There are four objectives on the field (marked by gray bits on round bases) with one on each player's deployment zone and two along the middle line of the board. At the end of each of their own turns the players score Victory Points for every objective they control by having more models within 6" of it than their opponent. The objectives generate Victory Points as follows:

1VP for the objective in the player's own zone
2VP for each of the objectives along the middle
4VP for the objective in the opponent's zone

After capturing an objective the players are free to move away from it with their models as it stays under their control until an enemy unit claims it. Simple, eh?

Onwards to the story!


This was a place of power. Terrible power. Lucrative power.
Izazel the Twisted gazed upon the ruined houses in the opening before him, sensing the sorcerous energies that flowed from the ominous place.
"What could we possibly find from a few rotten houses, m'lord? There is a rich Freeguild town not too far away..." Balfrik Steelshanks blurted out anxiously as he walked up to the Chaos Sorcerer, his heavy plate-armour rattling with every step.
"I do not need to explain my actions to you, mortal. Go and prepare your men, we shall enter the village when I give the command," Izazel replied with a hint of anger in his low, rasping voice. He needed Balfrik and his barbarian followers on his quest but the ignorant fools only cared for riches and bloodshed, making his life harrowing at times. They had the brute force and numbers to get things done, but sometimes he just wanted to absorb their souls and have a moment of peace.

The barbarian warlord stood there for a moment, his expressions hidden behind an all-enclosing steel helmet. Izazel could feel his irritation growing slowly. He turned his head slowly to look at the fur-clad warrior beside him. Once he was sure they had an eye contact he snapped his fingers, summoning a blue ball of flame to dance in his palm. Steelshanks took the hint and turned to walk away, muttering something under his breath.
Once the man was gone and Izazel had returned to his thoughts, an echoing voice came from behind him.
"We have found it."
"Yes indeed, my prince," Izazel replied respectfully. "The power that radiates from this place can be nothing else. Shall we begin?"

Behind the sorcerer now stood a towering Daemon Prince, staring at the ruined village with a hungry gleam in its eyes. Nearly two times as tall as Izazel, the creature was a gigantic mass of fangs and muscle with two leathery wings on its back.
"Let us move in to take a closer look. The Talisman of Protection shall soon belong to Prince Aphophas Silvertongue!" the Daemon chuckled, taking apparent pleasure in uttering its own name.
"I am your faithful servant in all things, master," Izazel flattered, bowing deep. "I shall order my followers to advance immediately."

The warband started towards the village, armoured Chaos Warriors marching alongside bare-chested Marauders while heavy footfalls and the clatter of armour filled the ruins. Izazel walked amidst his men, trying to catch a glimpse of anything that could give away the place of the hidden artifact. Prince Aphophas took flight upon his great wings, landing heavily on a grassy hill overlooking the village when suddenly something whistled by his horned head. It was a poorly crafted arrow.

A great high-pitched cry went up from the ruins ahead of them as a horde of Grots emerged, running at the newcomers with spears and bows swinging in the air.
"A thousand curses! These pests are all over the place," Izazel swore as he casually dodged a spear thrown at him. "Slaughter these useless screamers so we can proceed unharassed."
His barbarian followers howled with joy as they charged onward, eager to reach the foe. Using the sorcerous powers granted to him by his patron god Izazel wove complicated patterns in the air, projecting a shield of energy to protect the Chaos Knights that thundered past him.
Suddenly he felt his head swimming and his mind was filled with a vision of his warriors' terrible demise, with crushed bodies and slit throats covering a bloody grass field. Having experienced these oracular visions before, he knew to trust them and wove a minor enchantment on the Chaos Warriors ahead of him to shield the gaps in their armour.

The grots surged forth to meet the servants of the dark gods head-on, encouraged by the shouted threats of their Warboss and the hulking Gargant they had brought with them.

On the edge of the forest in the right flank the advance of the Marauder Horsemen came to a sudden halt as this monstrosity stormed out of the woods. In terror the barbarians threw their javelins at the creature, only managing to make the Gargant angrier as it picked the pitiful sticks out of its enormous soft belly.

Prince Aphophas stood on the edge of the hill, watching a mob of grots come running at him with crooked spears in hand.
"Hmph, pathetic..." the Daemon thought, knowing full well that the dark hill he was standing on housed malevolent spirits of those slain in battles past. These evil specters would happily converge upon any who disturbed their rest. His fanged mouth turning into a wide grin, Aphophas Silvertongue called out a challenge to the mortals below him:
"Come at me and witness the power of the Great Schemer, you'll be cut to pieces by my hand!" he bellowed with a voice that echoed throughout the battlefield as he raised his right hand in the air. In a blinding flash of orange light an enormous axe materialized in the Daemon's palm, its blade glowing with dark power.

Another mob of grots was following the Gargant's steady-footed advance. They were peeking at the approaching warriors from behind the gnarled trees, their red eyes glowing in the shadows. Then a volley of arrows burst from the woods, accompanied by grot laughter. Some of the missiles rained upon the Marauder Horsemen, mostly harmless due to the protection of their shields except for one lucky shot that caught a horseman in the shoulder. The rest of the volley was directed at Izazel the Twisted himself, with several arrows finding their marks in the gaps of his ornate armour.

Behind the shooting mob a Grot Shaman stood between the trees, waiting for the perfect moment to join the fighting. Seeing the confusion his underlings managed to cause with their arrowfire, the shaman reached into his belt pouch and pulled out a Madcap Mushroom. These unpredictable and extremely unhealthy mushrooms temporarily empowered the magical capabilities of any who dared to eat them, which was exactly why this peculiar spellcaster carried a whole bunch of them everywhere he went.
As soon as the shaman had taken the first bite, however, he was incapacitated by strong hallucinations from the mushroom's toxins. Falling to the grassy ground, the small grot embarked on a colourful journey amidst the clouds in his mind.

On the far left flank the Chaos Chariot was rumbling its way towards the enemy lines when the ranks of the grot spearmob opened, revealing four individuals chained to huge iron balls. These Fanatics were fed a fistful of mushrooms before being pushed towards the chariot, making them spin and scream wildly with their balls and chains.
The charioteers did not have the time to avert their course and evade these maniacs, so they whipped one of the grots to death while their armoured warhorses trampled two more under their steel-shod hooves. A single Fanatic managed to reach them, though, its crude weapon tearing through the wooden frames and crippling both of the horses in an explosion of timber and gore. The chariot fell over and came to a crashing halt, leaving the two charioteers picking themselves up from the dusty ground.

Unperturbed by the missiles raining upon them, Izazel's warriors kept marching on. Seeing that their bows could do little against these armoured humans, the grots in the forest drew their rusty knives and ran screaming into the Marauder Horsemen. Even the Gargant got excited about the charge of the diminutive greenskins and with a few giant leaps circled around the horsemen to cut off their escape.

Despite their apparent fear of the giant Daemon the grots in the spearmob were urged to continue their advance by threats and insults from their Warboss, who himself stood safely in the back lines. As they were clambering up the hill flashes of green light surrounded the little spearmen, materializing into howling specters that buried their ethereal claws into anything within their reach. Nearly one out of every eight grots got torn to pieces or carried away by these evil spirits, but this did little to slow their charge.
As one the grots surrounded Aphophas from every direction, creating a forest of rusty iron tips that forced the Daemon to constantly spin around trying to hold the attackers at bay with wide sweeps of his glowing axe.

All around the ruined village the servants of the dark gods were engaging the greenskin horde, battling for supremacy of the field. Whoever controlled the ruins in the end would have all the time he needed to search for the revered artifact...

In the back of the Chaos warband stood Balfrik Steelshanks with his battle standard planted firmly in the soil, inspiring all the surrounding barbarians to ever greater deeds by claiming the ruins in the name of his lord.

Upon the cursed hill Prince Aphophas was getting overwhelmed by the grot numbers. Several weighted nets flew from the spearmob, tangling and pinning him to the ground before the whole mob piled on him to stab and thrust wildly with their long-shafted weapons, sending the howling Daemon back into the Realm of Chaos as the magics that bound it to this reality dissipated.

In the far left flank the charioteers had just managed to climb clear of their ruined warmachine when a group of three Troggoths lumbered before them. As the brave warriors drew their blades to take on these savage beasts the Troggoths released a stream of vomit each, covering both of the charioteers in bile and bits of their former victims. This extremely corrosive substance melted armour, flesh and bone, reducing the hapless men into bubbling piles of sludge beside their ruined wagon.

As the left flank of Izazel's warband seemed to crumble and fall apart, so did the right. The charging grots managed to take down a wounded Horseman by tripping his horse and stabbing the fallen rider with wild abandon until he stopped struggling, but it was the Gargant who determined the fight's final outcome.
With a wide swing from the trusty tree trunk in his hands the creature sent two riders flying into the air like ragdolls, leaving their panicked horses running amok in the field. One of the barbarians met his demise when the Gargant head-butted him from his horse, breaking the rider's skull and spine, while the last one got a mighty kick in the side, sending the horse and the rider both crashing against the nearest tree.

Without taking a single casualty the grots had slaughtered the Marauder Horsemen with some aid from their trusty pet.

Realizing that both of his flanks were soon exposed, Izazel urged his men to take action. The sorcerer himself followed the horde of Marauders that was pushing towards the ruined building, hoping to gain control of the field and split the enemy force in two.

His heavy Chaos Knights, driven mad with anger as they saw pesky grots take down a mighty Daemon Prince, charged up the hill and straight into the cheering ranks of the greenskins. The unstoppable advance of the knights shook the hill as a dozen hooves drummed its dark surface but surprisingly the spirits that resided there took no reaction to this tumult, supposedly content with the grot souls they had reaped earlier.

On the right flank the Chaos Warriors hefted their weapons and waded into the gnarled woods, eager to gut the frightened grots hiding within. As their tall, armoured forms descended upon their surprised adversaries, the patch of forest was filled with the soft splashes of steel on flesh.

Like an avalanche of fur and steel the Chaos Knights stormed into the spearmob ranks, accompanied by puffs of blood as several unlucky grots were trampled to the ground under the heavy armoured bulks of the chargers. The rearmost grots managed to form something resembling an ordered rank with their spears towards the enemy, while one of their number tangled the legs of one of the horses in its net. With a great effort five grots managed to pull the net and take a knight to the ground where he was piled upon and stabbed to death, which seemed to be a common and favoured tactic among these malevolent creatures.

In the forest the warriors pushed forward with grim determination, slashing left and right to decapitate and dismember anything they encountered. Grots fell like wheat before the scythe, sliced apart by blades or hammered to bloody pulp by maces and hammers. None of the Chaos Warriors got even a scratch in return as the grassy forest floor was filled with green-skinned corpses.

Before Izazel even had the time to smile upon this recent success, the enemy were quick to react. On the left Troggoths climbed the dark hill to surround the knights, while on the right the Gargant was looming over the triumphant warriors, angered by the death of its grot masters. It seemed that the day of fighting was still far from over...

The swords and maces of the knights smashed ribs and cleaved skulls with every swing, dotting the hillside with mutilated grot corpses. In return the grots were able to do very little besides scraping the armoured sides of the knights' mounts with their spears, as without sufficient numbers and proper weapons they had no hope of standing their ground against such adversaries.
Fortunately the grots were not alone as the trio of Troggoths lumbered into the thick of the fighting. Mighty swings from their clubs of wood and bone immediately unhorsed a knight, leaving the creatures fighting over the man's battered form by tearing it limb from limb.

Meanwhile the Marauders had reached the ruined building, forming a shieldwall inside to anchor their position in the field. Izazel did not follow them further as he saw the Troggoths engaging his knights, deciding to stay nearby to uphold his protective spells on these heavy cavalrymen for if they broke his left flank would be exposed.

In the forest the Gargant picked up the flag-bearer of the Chaos Warriors, biting his helmeted head off before throwing the rest of the carcass away. Bringing his tree trunk down in an overhead blow the creature flattened another warrior into a bloody mess of twisted steel, then stepping on a third to hear the satisfying crack of breaking ribs.

Having seen enough of this wanton destruction enacted upon his tribesmen, Balfrik Steelshanks picked up his banner from the soil he had planted it in and started towards the forest and the Gargant. He picked up speed along the way, eventually running at the monster with his banner held before him like a lance. Putting all his strength behind this one single charge, Balfrik shoved the spiked tip of his battle standard up the giant creature's hairy arse, resulting in a howl of pain that shook the battlefield.

With the Chaos Knights busy fighting Troggoths, the grots in the spearmob saw their chance to escape. Darting between swinging swords and thumping hooves the small creatures ran down the hill, towards the lonely sorcerer standing in the nearby ruins. Distracted by the grots running by, a knight failed to see the bone club coming his way in a vertical swing and fell off his mount with a broken body.

The numbers of the greenskins had greatly diminished throughout the course of the battle, with Izazel's warband controlling vast areas of the battlefield. Yet there still were enemies left, including a Gargant that had barely taken a scratch thus far...

In the gnarled forest the last of the grots were put out of their misery as fur-clad warriors strolled the corpse-strewn woods, smashing the life from any that still moved or moaned. The Gargant, angered by the humongous pole in its arse, swung his club to send yet another warrior flying rag-doll through the air before turning its murderous attention to the barbarian holding the pole.

Suddenly the giant monster seemed to come up with something brilliant, its ugly face slowly stretching into a wide grin. The Gargant sat down upon its assailant with a thud that shook the ground, crushing the hapless barbarian warlord under the immense weight of its hairy backside. Once the creature slowly picked itself up from the ground a gory mound of crushed steel emerged, marking the not-so-glorious end of Balfrik Steelshanks.

Realizing the danger their sorcerous master was facing all alone, the Marauders abandoned their defensive position to rush to Izazel's aid. Howling like wolves on the hunt, the bare-chested barbarians fell upon the frightened grots, hacking away with their axes of dark-forged steel.

Upon the hill the Troggoths once again unleashed their secret weapon, projecting streams of vomit on the two remaining Chaos Knights. Even as their armour and flesh melted away the knights were pounded to the bloody ground by mighty fists and clubs, a brutal and unpleasant end even by barbarian measures.

Izazel took a few more steps back towards the ruins behind him as he saw his cavalry slaughtered to the last. He still had the majority of his warriors left on the field but an awful fear started gnawing at the edges of his twisted consciousness, caused by the loss of his most valuable fighters...

Having disposed of the nuisance in its back, the Gargant then finished off the remaining Chaos Warriors, sweeping two of them from the woods with his tree trunk. The last warrior it picked up, grasping the man with both hands to tear him in twain.

The Marauders were engaging the spearmob in a whirling melee, axes cutting down those who were too slow to dodge the strikes. Crooked spears darted out from the grot ranks, catching careless barbarians in throats and chests, while the Troggoths reached down from the hill and managed to cave in a couple of blond heads with their clubs.

Izazel saw the peril of his followers and joined the fray, chanting strange words to send a bolt of blue fire from his outstretched hand even as the walked towards the fighting. The crackling bolt crashed into the grots' flank, incinerating two of the little creatures immediately. Izazel leaped into the midst of brutal combat, smashing enemies aside with his staff and slashing at them with his runesword.
Despite all his efforts the tide of battle was turning against his warband, with Marauders dying in swathes to the brutal advance of the Troggoths and the jabbing spears of the greenskins. There was little Izazel could do but send a silent prayer to Tzeentch that he would yet prevail and find the hidden artifact that lay hidden within these ruins.

Behind the gnarled forest the Grot Shaman finally returned from his voyage in the clouds. Blinking his dry eyes the green spellcaster tried to make sense of the blurry battlefield. As soon as it realized that the fight was still hanging in the balance, the shaman pulled out yet another mushroom from his belt. This time it received a sudden surge of magical energy instead of toxic hallucinations, beginning to dance and chant in a high-pitched voice.

The skies cracked and split as the shaman worked its spell, and a spectral leering moon appeared in the clouds above the battlefield. Izazel realized what was going on and immediately begun to mutter a counter-spell, but it was too late. The grinning moon in the sky begun to glow bright and green, sucking the life-force of the remaining Marauders from their bodies. Izazel managed to partially protect himself from the enemy magic but he could still feel his mortal form weakening rapidly. As the lifeless corpses of the last of his followers hit the ground in puffs of dust, the sorcerer too fell to his knees.
"I have been bested by a dirty group of these lowly creatures, what an embarrassment..."  he muttered to himself as two grots approached behind their flimsy shields, both intrigued and terrified by the beaten mutant.

A gentle gust of wind blew through the now-silent ruins, raising clouds of dust from the ground where it was not soaked in blood. As the Troggoths were slowly lumbering towards him, Izazel knew what would be his fate. He could hear the growl in the beats' stomachs. Soon three streams of bile covered the sorcerer's kneeling form, melting him away in an instant.

On the dark hill stood a small form observing the last moments of its adversary. He was Azrod Gitdoom, Warboss of the "Grinnin' Gits" moonclan. Seathing his rusted blade which he had not actually used even once during the whole battle, the grot general reached into the depths of his black robe. Azrod pulled out a golden amulet with delicate inscriptions on its glowing surface and kissed it fondly.
"Ye'll be me new lucky bit, I's so happy I founds ya dis mornin'. I's just wonderin' if yer wot da creepy 'umies were after, too..." he muttered before putting the Amulet of Protection carefully back into the folds of his shabby cloak.


A truly enjoyable game, that one!

It all ended up in a victory for the Moonclan Grots despite everyone's expectations, and quite a clear victory at that. The greenskins scored a total of 28 Victory Points from the objectives as opposed to 19 of mine. Even though I managed to snatch the objective in their deployment zone for the last two turns the Moonclan player had accumulated too many points for me to catch up with him anymore. This was much due to the Destruction Allegiance abilities my opponent had access to, as well as the fact that he got the first turn in the first battleround.
With so many movement bonuses he managed to immediately claim three objectives which I had to fight several rounds for to start accumulating any points myself! I also didn't expect the immense killing power of buffed-up Grots as his spearmob mowed through my Daemon Prince and damaged my Knights severely, then rushed to claim the high-value objective on my zone just before the game's end.

It was a close game for the most part, as no clear victor emerged until the two final rounds. In the middle of the game it seemed my Slaves to Darkness would surely wipe out his remaining forces but this time fate (and the Dice Gods) decided otherwise!

I hope you enjoyed reading my 13th Narrative Battle Report as much as I enjoyed playing and writing it!

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