Thursday, 21 April 2011
Massacre in the West Woods
Mike (Skaven) vs Tim (Empire)
The war with the Skaven had gone on for weeks in the West Woods, deep in the heart of the land of New Sylvania. Unable to push through to their own lands, the Skaven and Empire forces had fought one another time and again, but though the Skaven general’s wily tactics and enfilading troop movements had driven back the State Troops more on almost every occasion, the proximity of reinforcements had prevented the Skaven from making any headway, trapping them in hostile territory.
Now things were going to change however.
Marcus von Drak had drawn up a carefully conceived strategic plan and more men than ever before were in place for the assault on the travelling Skaven army. Still relatively untrained, the Empire army had long been ill-prepared for full scale battle beyond the city walls. He had been optimistic in the past but now had a more realistic view of their abilities. Still, he was confident the time was right. His commander had gained the necessary tactical acumen to win.
This time it was going to be a massacre.
With the Skaven horde coming on, a huge Plague Furnace at its centre, the Empire army split itself into two parts: a gunline comprising Handgunners and Outriders along with a pair of powerful wizards, and an assault contingent: Knights, Greatswords and Swordsmen, bolstered by powerful heroes.
As soon as the ratmen came within range, the gunline opened fire, whittling away at a huge regiment of Clanrats and the screeching Plague Monks. A flurry of deadly fireballs set the monk robes alight and the pestilential vermin were incinerated in swathes. Generating a Fulminating Flame Cage, the arch wizard surrounded the advancing Clanrats in fiery bands that made them freeze in panic.
The Kinghts charged forward, crashing into the opposing Stormvermin and sending them fleeing then manoeuvred into position to charge the Plague Furnace in its flank. Meanwhile, the Empire infantry held ground, ready to strike forward simultaneously with the Knights, cracking the almost impenetrable nut of the Plague Monks.
The plan was perfectly executed and was working perfectly.
Only two problems had remained unforeseen.
For once again, the Skaven Gutter Runners had slunk into an enfilading position to the flank of the Empire gunline. And as they closed in, the Outriders horses paced fitfully, their unit leader unsure whether to turn and face them or stick to his orders.
He stuck to his orders, and that proved their downfall.
The Gutter Runners charged into the flank of the Outriders, pulling the brave men down from their horses. They cut them all down in a matter of seconds and their momentum carried them through into the flank of the Handgunners, trapping the Wizards before they could flee.
Suddenly the perfectly conceived plan showed a perfectly executed flaw.
And that wasn’t all. The second problem was yet to be revealed.
Generating vast magical power and ricking everything, the Plague Priest carried on the open berth of the Plague Furnace let fly his insidious sorcery and suddenly, all but five of the Greatswords were instantly mutilated, their bodies ruined by the Skaven’s Dreaded Thirteenth Spell.
The infantry still charged but what might have been a certain triumph was suddenly teetering close to an epic disaster.
If this wasn’t bad enough; with the Empire Wizards being cut down, there was insufficient magical protection in place to prevent the other Plague Priest from magically imbuing every single Plague Monk with filthy poison oozing from their fangs. As the fumes of the gigantic Plague Censer spewed out over the men of the Empire, all started to go horribly wrong. The Swordsmen, Knights and remaining Greatswords fell to the ground, raked with festering claws or gagging on the fumes. The horses of the knights spooked and turned, despite the cries of the Captain leading them and as they galloped away they were run down by the Stormvermin who had slunk back to the battlefield.
The remaining men were insufficient to mount any kind of credible attack. They continued to strike back at the vicious ratmen but they took more casualties than they gave out. They were suddenly losing and losing quite horribly.
The heroes of the Empire fought on but even they couldn’t withstand the unrelenting assault of the filthy vermin and one-by-one they were cut down until finally only a single warrior priest remained.
He fought on as all the surviving Skaven started to surround him, even then refusing to surrender hope, determined to battle on until all were dead around him.
But there were too many. He could not win. And soon he was as dead as the rest of his men.
Marcus von Drak’s plan had appeared perfect and without the dastardly ingenuity of the Skaven it just might have been. As it was he had been sure there would be a massacre.
Only now, at the end, it became clear just how right he had been.