lauantai 12. marraskuuta 2016

Battle of Boarhide Meadows


As I told you in my previous post I'm currently working at something big for this blog, something new and hopefully unexpected...

But all that preparation did not stop me from having a game with an old mate who luckily got a vacation from his conscription to spend an evening at our gaming club!

He brought a horde of Orruks, some Boarboyz, Savage Orruk Arrowboyz and Big Stabbas as well as a Savage Big Boss, all led by the infamous Gorbad Ironclaw. His point total was 840.
I decided to take my Free Peoples to the field, with units of Freeguild Guard and Freeguild Archers backed up by a solid block of Knights of the Realm. My general was a Bretonnian Lord on Pegasus who led this 830p force into battle.

Our scenario was Gifts from the Heavens where two objectives fell from the sky at the start of our second hero phases, granting points equal to the current battleround if controlled.

Let's get started with the story...


Baron Agnes Burensköld soared above green meadows atop his pegasus. It was late summer and there were only a couple of clouds in the perfectly blue sky as two suns bathed the area in light and warmth. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary here in the countryside, the Baron thought, gripping the reins more tightly as his mount made a sudden dive to land between two patches of forest.
Lifting the visor of his helmet, Agnes took in his surroundings. There had been reports from his feudal landowners that a group of orruks roamed free in the area, killing peasants and livestock for sport. This had little to do with Baron himself; he would still gain his annual taxes and other fees from his underlings no matter how many peasants or farms they lost, but it was a matter of honor and duty to protect those who had sworn him fealty.

It was also well known that if orruks were allowed to pillage and plunder in peace there would soon be more of them to join the fun. Walking his pegasus across the green meadow, Baron Burensköld heard his followers emerge from behind a hill at his back. Clattering armour, thumping hooves and casual talk signaled the arrival of this small armed force, representing all he had been able to muster in such a short time.
Agnes resented his luck. Of the three dozen landed knights ruling this land in his name, only a third had answered the sudden call to arms. The bitter disappointment he had felt as only twelve dutiful individuals had arrived at his castle with their levied peasants still burned bright in his heart. He would take a farm from each of the traitors before winter, just to make a point.

Walking his mount along with the men for a good part of the day, Agnes finally pulled the reins on top of a hill, halting the advance to have a look into the distance. There were pillars of smoke rising slowly from behind the treeline in front of them.
"I think we found them, m'lord," said a knight riding his warhorse beside the Baron.
"Shall we form ranks for a charge?"
"No, sir Erik, we shall not," the Baron replied with a hint of boredom in his voice.
"Form up on this hill, knights at the back. Call the archers to the fore."

The knight was abashed, his open mouth searching for words.
"At the b-back, m'lord? Surely Your Excellency means the men-at-arms..."
"No, sir Erik, His Excellency means he keeps the knights in the second line," Burensköld interrupted. "What part of that high-Svedonnian sentence you did not catch? The wind blows from behind us which means the enemy will know of our arrival. They are on their way here even now and I mean to be ready for them."

The knight was turning to leave with his head down when a roar came from across the field. An orruk horde emerged from the direction of the rising smoke, bellowing warcries and beating their chests as they spotted a fresh enemy.
"See my meaning? Now go and do as you were bid!" Baron barked, dropping the visor of his helmet back down and waving his hand to the peasants.
"Archers to the fore! Quickly now!"

Pleased at being addressed by a nobleman, the archers ran past the Baron to form a line towards the enemy. With barked commands from their sergeant every man nocked and drew, taking aim at the nasty-looking boar riders that seemed to be itching for a fight.
"Greet our uninvited guests with a hail of shafts!" Agnes yelled, cutting the air with his hand.

A cloud of arrows closed the distance between the forces in a low arc, cutting into the orruks like a phantom axe. Half the Boarboyz were swept from their mounts by the volley, with two more animals taking such hits that they ran from the field in panic, carrying their angry riders with them into the forests.

The orruk Warlord Grolo Gitclaw did not seem too pleased about the opening volley.
"Wut ya lookin' at, Oggar? Lead da charge ya worthless paintface!" he yelled at the Savage Big Boss beside him. The painted orruk stared at the other for a while before breaking into a run towards the human lines, deciding that as Grolo had a boar and a bigger axe than him it was only proper he did as the was told.
The last remaining Boarboy accompanied Oggar on the way while a group of Savage Arrowboyz unleashed a hail of crooked arrows overhead. The volley rained amidst the peasants but the few shafts that found their marks were tipped with flint and couldn't pierce the humans' padded leather armour.

With astonishing speed the Big Boss and the Boarboy reached the lines of the archers, crashing into them like rolling boulders. The peasants opened their ranks, letting the boar rider sweep through without killing anyone, while Oggar was surrounded and stabbed repeatedly with knives and shortswords.
Feeling his end could be near as the blades sunk into his bare flesh, Oggar Ardhide flew into a wild frenzy, scything down scores of archers with his peculiar weapon. Terrified at the destruction a single orruk could cause the remaining peasants broke and ran, leaving only three bravest individuals to keep the enemy at bay.

Baron Burensköld took to the air and flew his mount behind a patch of forest to the right, ordering his knights to advance across the hill towards the orruk archers as he glided over them. Responding immediately to the commands of their liege the cavalrymen dug their heels into the sides of their mounts, racing eagerly towards their enemies.

As the battle between two orruks and three men raged on in the middle of the field, Big Boss Oggar took a slash across his green face and lost an eye. With the orruk's vision reduced to a bloody blur, the remaining archers managed to keep away from his poleaxe while the peasant musician sunk his shortsword fatally into the back of the last Boarboy.

Agnus saw his opportunity as the orruk Warboss rode its boar ahead of the enemy lines, finally exposing itself. Pulling his sigmarite broadsword free of its scabbard, Borensköld jerked the reins of his pegasus to signal a charge. The intelligent mount responded swiftly, carrying its master towards the enemy warlord on large feathery wings.

The knights saw the charge of their Baron and began their own, picking up the pace as they rode towards the Savage Arrowboyz with pennants snapping in the wind.

Burensköld swept down from the skies like an angel of doom, swinging his blade in a flashing downward arc. The magical edge cut easily through dented armour, flesh and bone, nearly cleaving the huge orruk in half from shoulder to waist. Agnus flew pas the staggering Warboss and turned his mount around in the air to sweep down and land another blow.

Following the example of their lord the knights crashed into the Savage Arrowboyz as a unified wall of flesh and steel, piercing the beasts with lances and letting their horses trample the remains under iron-shod hooves. As the sound of their deadly cavalry charge rang across the battlefield, the knights found themselves drunk on success. Not a single orruk had the chance to lift a weapon against them as the trained warhorses carried their victorious riders through the group of enemies without even slowing the pace.

With the Savages gone the horde of orruks exploded into action. Low growling and angry threats accompanied the green warriors as they crossed the field and ran straight into the knights, intent on seeing these "shiny 'umie riders" dead on the ground for what they had done. Just as the knights slowed down to turn back in search of new targets, the first orruk charged into their midst. Instinctively dropping their lances the men prepared for close quarters fighting by drawing their castle-forged longswords.

Baron Agnes swept in for a new strike at the Warboss as the wounded creature hunched in the saddle of its boar, bleeding. To Baron's terror the orruk straightened itself just before he was in reach and swung its crude battleaxe in a great arc, sinking the jagged edge across Burensköld's chestplate. The metal gave away under such strength and Agnes fell from his pegasus, landing on his back in the grass. Through the narrow vision slit of his helmet he could see his mount getting away, perhaps flying back to the castle. His family would understand the sign.
With great effort Baron tried to reach for his sword but it was nowhere to be found. He could not move his legs and he felt something warm, almost hot, spreading under his breastplate. This was the end of him, he realized. Agnes Burensköld's final vision was the giant form of Grolo Gitclaw towering over his prone form, lifting the great axe into the air with both hands.
"Yer 'ead makes a fine trophy, 'umie! Ya did put up a good fight..."

As the Warboss was claiming its trophies, a furious clash erupted between vengeful orruks and gallant knights. Their anger lending strength to their blows, the greenskins hacked apart knights as fast as they could be pulled down from their mounts. The horses themselves were dangerous opponents as they caved in skulls with their powerful kicks and trampled fallen enemies under their weight, but the knights were truly a magnificent sight. Having trained since they first could hold up a wooden stick, these noblemen were martially skilled and their experience could be seen in the way they handled their swords. Each flashing strike was measured and controlled, cleaving heads and severing arms with every swing.
A contest between brute force and honed skill proved well-matched indeed, with both sides taking and inflicting casualties at an astonishing rate.

Oggar swung his poleaxe one last time, finally finding his elusive opponents with his one good eye. The axe carved through the three remaining archers, their bleeding corpses joining the others on the ground. Big Boss Oggar paused to take in a breath and gazed over to the fighting between the horde and the knights. He let out a growl as he saw that Warboss Grolo was still alive, although severely wounded. His time to lead had not yet come.

Behind him the men-at-arms who had been left to guard the passage to the heartlands marched forward, lowering their pole-arms and forming a wall of tower shields. Deciding not to run straight into the spiky sticks, Oggar started limping towards the main fighting as fast as his wounds allowed.

The contests between orruks and men seemed to be tipping in the cavalrymen's favor as their sure strikes cut down scores of foes, their own heavy armour protecting them from most of the returning blows. The orruk horde had started wavering, with individuals here and there taking short gazes around to find the fastest possible escape route as they saw their comrades fall bleeding to the ground. Suddenly eager cries of "Stabba! Stabba!" erupted from the rear of the horde and the orruks seemed to gain a new burst of confidence and courage...
Two giant spears were carried into the fray by four naked savages, rammed into the human ranks with impossible force. Each of the crude devices unhorsed a knight, their huge stone tips crushing through plate and mail to crush the ribs beneath.

After claiming his trophy Warboss Grolo Gitclaw mounted his bad-tempered boar. A quick look around the field of battle suggested that no clear victor had yet emerged, with Big Boss Oggar being chased by a regiment of men-at-arms and his orruk horde melting away in a combat against the few still-standing knights. Grolo grunted as another bright spike of pain shot through his body, the gaping gash across his torso bleeding in torrents.
"Curse dat 'umie's fancy flashing sword... Ooight, boyz, 'tis time for us to leave!" he bellowed, turning his boar around to take him back to the burned village where they might have some rest.

As the greenskin warband left the field, the knights took their chance to retreat as well before the enemy changed their minds. On the way they signaled the men-at-arms to follow them, peasants jogging behind the band of tired and wounded knights who led the way back to their estates in the heartland.

The greenskin menace had been thwarted for now, with many of their number littering the field as still-warm corpses. It would take time for them to amass a new force to threaten the Baron's lands.
Yet the price for such an achievement was too high: although relatively few men were lost in the battle, many of them nothing more than filthy peasants, there were the bodies of six gallant knights in the field along with the headless corpse of the Baron himself. Their positions in the feudal system would be inherited by the oldest boys of their houses, meaning that for a while Burensköld's lands would be missing a good deal of their noblemen trained for war.


The game ended up in a draw! We sort of ran out of time in the end so in the final turn anything could've happened, with a large combat still going on and his Savage Big Boss (1 Wound remaining) standing well within charge distance of my 20 Freeguild Guard. His general had been reduced to 1 Wound too, so close but still so far!

A unit of 10+ Knights of the Realm charging into anything without too much armour will wreak absolute carnage! 2 Attacks per model, hitting on 3+, wounding on 3+ and dealing 2 Damage per attack is truly terrifying, although their lack of Rend means anything with armour or re-rollable saves will probably weather their charge and strike back hard. The Knights have a save of 4+, increased to 3+ on the turn they charge, which is pretty situational but very useful when it triggers.

On the orruk side I have to mention the Big Stabbas. They are the very definition of a glass cannon with 4 Wounds and only a 6+ Save, but they do have 2 Attacks with 3 Damage each, not to mention their Rend characteristic is -2(!) which pretty much tears apart anything they ram into. I honestly underestimated them a bit in this game (and my archers were butchered before having a shot at them...) but next time they'll get the attention they deserve.

It was lovely to write up this 14th Narrative Battle Report of mine, I hope you enjoyed reading it!

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