Monday, 31 January 2011

The Deserted Town of Cleft Falls

Tomb Kings (Mike) vs Empire (Tim)
Marcus von Drak had made a grievous error and his people were paying for it. In what might have been an ingenious strategic play, Marcus had ordered his army north west to attack and capture land controlled by the Tomb Kings, but in doing so he had left Aldium to the south exposed and vulnerable. With only part of their vast armies pinned in place by the Empire troops, the Tomb Kings had captured Aldium and subjugated its citizens.
But von Drak’s forces were committed to battle and there was no turning back now!
Deep in the woods north of Aldium was the abandoned village of Cleft Falls, overgrown and ruinous. Knowing the Tomb Kings would use the open ground on its approach as a shortcut to the Old Silk Road and Malko itself, Marcus positioned his troops in ambush, deployed in the buildings. He and his knights took up position in an orchard close to a gap in the tumbledown wall leading onto the lane.

The Tomb Kings approached silently.
The undead were the arch enemy of the entire von Drak clan from hundreds of years earlier but this was the first time they had faced one another since the dark days of the Vampire Wars of Sylvania. Marcus knew a thing or two about taking them down, most important being the elimination of the dark magic user whose power kept them walking. He had snipers positioned throughout his force to eliminate the Liche Priest and as the skeletons marched closer he gave the order and all that could hold a gun opened fire.
Nile, the great Wizard Lord , summoned his magics and leapt forth flame from his fingertips, scorching what foul magics kept bone joined to bone until it gave way. Channelling the winds of magic, he ripped apart chariot after chariot. But while Nile had his successes, Claudette, the Battle Wizard, could not focus her energies to successfully cast the might Transformation of Kador on herself – a magical feat that would have turned the battle.
But still the skeletal host kept coming. With barren reserve, the undying ones kept their march stolid and resolute; not impetuous, hoping to draw their enemies out of cover. And draw them they did! But the undead had not banked on the power of Marcus von Drak! Even with their masterfully planned tactical manoeuvring, pinning von Drak’s knights in place then charging in from every side, the strength and armour of the knights could not be overcome.

But still the snipers could not eliminate the Liche Priest and while he lived, the army continued to march. The skeletons were driving unit after unit from the buildings and soon there would be nothing left to stop them.
Too late, Old Scratch, the Battle Standard Bearer, realised that he had held his Greatswords back too long. The battle would be lost before he weighed his mighty sword into the combat. Already their lines were crumbling.
Roaring in frustration, Marcus von Drak gave the order to withdraw. It had been close fought and almost tied but this was not the place they would win. Once again the soldiers of the Empire had proven nothing but the lack of their strength where it was most needed. They could only hope that attacking anew from a fallback position would win the long battle.
For now the Tomb Kings had won.
For now they were scant miles from Malko and dominion of the centre of the Devil’s Pathway.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Necropolis - The Horror Skirmish Game

Like zombies? Like horror?

Then why not check out our new sister site, Necropolis - The Horror Skirmish Game

It's basically a modern day skirmish game similar in principle to Necromunda or Mordheim that pits human heroes against a whole variety of horrifying opponents: zombies, werewolves, serial killers and even Nazis!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Spotlight On... The Ogre Yhetees

Taking a trip to my local model shop in Christchurch, I spotted a pack of War God Wendigos.

Now these are beautiful miniatures that my good friend Joao had already purchased a couple of. Apparently they were no longer available so to find a little stash was great news! I gave him a call and asked him if he wanted me to buy them for him and before I knew it I'd bought some for myself! Which left me with the predicament of working out what to do with them.

And then I realised! Ogre Yhetees!

These really are nice models and so I wanted to do something really special but my other challenge was there were a little small compared to my Ogres. Since there were supposed to be stronger, how could I make this make sense?

I decided to make a sort of movement tray diorama to give the models some height, make them look cool and draw the eye away from their stature.

Building a cliff did the job but I needed each model to be individually removable without destroying the look.

I used balsa wood covered in all-purpose filler to make the cliff, painting it a variety of greys and adding a bit of foliage from a railway model shop to cover some of the gaps. That tree is a railway tree. The Yhetees themselves were painted dark grey, inked black then highlighted back through all the available shades of grey to white.

They're lovely to play with but a bit annoying. The Yhetee rules don't seem to be that competative and this unit costs 540 points - over wuarter of a 2,000 point army. With the new cover rules, their previously amazing move through cover rule is a bit useless and without armour or impact hits they aren't as good as they might be after a new army book is released.

On the other hand, they do look cool. And that's the most important thing.


Monday, 24 January 2011

No More the Massacre

Ogres (Tim) vs Tempestrians (Gill)

With such devastating attacks on them from all sides, the Ogres of the Kingdom of the Great Maw were at greater risk now than they had ever been. Their capital was within spitting distance of their enemies and the Tempestrians and Daemons had annihilated them again and again. If they lost another battle it might just lead to the crumpling of their entire strength.

Now the old foes were facing one another again: the Knights of Tempest Falls on one side of the field, the Ogres on the other.

Where before the Ogres had relied on brute strength however, now they stood supported as never before by great heroes of their race. A battle standard swung above the ranks and not one, but two butchers tapped into the power of the Great Maw.

The Ogres surged forward to meet the knights and as they did so, the butchers used their power to strengthen their ranks, building on the already protigious strength of their Bulls. But across the field the field the Temperstrians had built on their power as well Rachel d'Astatic was tapping into the Chaos Vein as never before, toying with the Daemonic magic of Tzeentch. She shot forth blasts of eldritch energy that chewed into the Ogres with the bow-fire of the men under her command, tearing them down more rapidly than her former power ever would have allowed.

Undeterred, the Tyrant and his Battle Standard Bearer charged into Methuselah upon his mighty Hippogriff, and staggering all observers, ripped him down, throwing the powerful lord's unconscious body to the side.

The knights made impact but the Ogres pummelled back at them. Still, though huge, the unarmoured behemoths couldn't take the same punishment that they were dealing out and the knights started to whittle them away. Surviving an incredible pounding from sorcery and missile fire, King Maw circled with his Battle Standard Bearer, but both his Butchers had been taken down and now the Winds of Magic belonged to the Tempestrians.

The battle was going ill for the Ogres but still they fought on. This was going to be a loss but it wouldn't be a massacre. They would be knocked back but no more would the Ogre forces be routed.

The Ogres continued to hack into the knights and they almost seized victory, but the knight's discipline was too great, their training too honed. Nevertheless, this wasn't a massacre; far from it.

This was the beginning of the time when the Ogres would fight back.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Long Road to the Devil's Pathway

The original idea for this campaign came from the excellent General's Compendium, a Games Workshop supplement packed full of campaign ideas. This supplement came with a ready made map campaign set in the border princes complete with a fold out map. I used this for the basis of everything we've seen so far.

But unfortunately, as time went on, I began to realise that the map wasn't really representative of the Border Princes. I think perhaps the original intent may have been for it to be just a part of it, but in the background sections I've continued to refer to it as being the entirety of the Border Princes.

Take a look. This is the map we've been using:

But this is what the Border Princes really looks like on official maps:

Notice how long and narrow it is. It still has the mountains but the woods in the centre are nowhere to be seen.

I faced a difficult decision. Should I continue with the map as it stood or switch over to something more "realistic"? My goal with the campaign was always to fit as closely as possible alongside the "real" Warhammer continuum but was I prepared to rewrite history as it were to fit in with this new reality?

The clinch moment came when I realised the map we've been using isn't working very well anymore. It is getting just too crowded. For a long time there was no Empire, no Daemons and no Wood Elves. Now, with Warriors of Chaos, Beastmen and maybe Chaos Dwarfs on the way, some breathing space is required.

Time for a little retrofit of reality.

So I'm now working on a new map. All principles of the storyline are the same but I've decided to focus the action on the right hand end of the Border Princes. The principle storyline details the charge of the Undead Nation north from the Land of the Dead. Obviously they would skirt to the right of the Black Gulf sea and head toward Blackfire Pass directly north of there. Being their route, this is the main focus of the campaign, a subregion of the Border Princes that I now christen the Devil's Pathway.

Here's my new map as it stands.

It isn't finished - there's a lot more detail to go on - but this is the basic layout and I've placed all the race capitals as well. The observant among you may notice there are six or seven more capitals than there were before. Two of these are placeholders of if I ever get Lizardmen & High Elves. The rest are new races who will be taking their places in the campaign as it progresses.

Up until now I've had one Chaos realm but from now on there will be four: Warriors of Chaos, Daemons, Beastmen and Chaos Dwarfs. This represents a major spike in the power of the Dark Gods following on from the rituals that Nagash enacted to bring down allies to help him.

I won't tell you what race is going to emerge from Ebon Scar but it should be fairly surprising.

I've taken care to name the capitals and give them their own identities. Through the campaign they can switch ownership so I no longer want them to be seen just as the Vampire Counts' base or whatever.

Meanwhile, all I have to do now is work out how much of the map each race controls and come up with new rules for army movement and land-grabbing. With much smaller map hexes the old rules won't cut it anymore. The tricky thing is going to make sure that everyone has a fair shake while not restarting the campaign from scratch. That would be too big a shame. History won't be rewritten: the Skaven have still captured Fortress Malefic, the Tempestrians and Tomb Kings will still be the strongest powers; the Ogres will still be on the back foot of a good pasting... But hopefully the new map will give a good grounding that can be built on for the months and years to come.

I'm going to stick with the current map to the end of the campaign turn most likely then switch over.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

On the Painting Table: Skaven Plague Furnace & Spheric!

Continuing my undying commitment to Skaven, I've finally painted an extra twenty Plague Monks and my brand new Plague Furnace!

Click on the pictures to zoom in. They're a little blurred but I have a new camera on the way.

And here is a Gamezone knight I bought to represent Spheric, my special character from the Tempestrian history.

I'm not sure whether I like him or not yet...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Building the Market Hall

My Market Hall has already been seen here on Last Chance War as part of the Still Water scenario but I thought it might be interesting to look at the process of building it in the first place.

It was a long job that took quite bit of commitment and involved a long break in the middle when I couldn't be bothered to finish it.

The base was made from two pieces of foam board, one cut slightly smaller than the other to create a step up. I then drew a grid on the upper layer and scored along each line to make flagstones. At the corners of each flagstone I pressed down with the tip of a Stanley knife to make a little dip.

I used plastic cake pillars to support the upper structure. Originally these were much narrower wooden struts but they looked a bit amateurish so I dumped them. You'll notice on the picture that there are little squares of paper glued over some of the foam board squares. This was to cover the scar left when I pulled off the more numerous wooden pillars.

The staircase is shown here. It's basically cereal box card with balsa wood (bought from a model shop). I scored every piece of wood with my knife to give more natural texture. The door was carefully scaled to a Games Workshop door and made from balsa wood too.

The main body of the building was made from stiff card. I held the joints in place using pins while the glue dried then added balsa wood timber framing all round. The windows are made by cutting wire mesh into rectangles and gluing a frame round them so that they look like that nice leaded window effect you see sometimes.

When all the wood was done I used multi-purpose powdered filler to add texture to the walls (otherwise they'd have been too smooth).

The roof was made from overlapping strips of corrugated card I bought from Hobbycraft over the top of a bit of pizza box. I bent over the each end so that it would look a bit more ornate and old-fashioned. At this time I also added a tower. I felt it was a bit low, long and flat without it, although for the entire time I was building the tower I worried it didn't look so good.

I made the tower from foam board and used the same techniques as the main part for the walls and windows. The roof was made to be uneven with a gentler slope on one side. I also added an extra kink to make it look more interesting.

The trickiest part was the roof shutters. I wanted these to be opening and closing. I made the shutter and glued a piece of paper underneath it that stuck out almost the same length again. I folded the paper over underneath it and glued it into the shutter cavity under a piece of black card. That made a sort of hinge. I prop them open with half matchsticks but if they are removed the shutters close.

I wanted to go for a subdued naturalistic colour scheme so I used dark browns and dull creams. The red roof tiles match in with all my other buildings to give a unified look.

It's a bit of a monster but I think I like it. And it certainly dominates the battlefield!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A Resurgence of Power

Tim (Vampire Counts) vs Gill (Tempestrians)

The Vampire flank of the Undead Nation was in turmoil. Fortress Malefic was lost to them in the south and the Tempestrians continued to exert pressure from the north. Unless a series of critical reversals could take place then all was lost to them. The Barrow Kings were establishing a powerful foothold in the west but if the Vampires quite literally crumbled then it would not be long before their position collapsed as well.
With the breakthrough at Still Water, the undead were marching as fast as their withered limbs could carry them toward their former home to wrest control of it back. In the centre of the map, Nagash himself was preparing to assault Spikehole, the Skaven capital. The third arena of conflict was equally vital. The Knights of Tempest Falls were pushing south. They had to be pushed back. Now!
Battlelines drew up but Rebecca, the cold-hearted vampire countess leading the undead, smiled a fang-tooth smile. There was no Methuselah atop his hippogriff here. There was no Rachel d’Astatic conjuring magical power beyond measuring. The force of knights and archers was led only by two Chosen of the Lady: a Damsel and a Prophetess. She gave a steely nod to her two lieutenants, a pair of beguiling women, both beautiful and exceptionally powerful in the ways of sorcery.
The knights sounded the charge but before they could close, all three vampire women conjured the power of the dark art. Rebecca fixed her gaze on the Tempestrian Prophetess across the field, muttering Khemrian syllables taught to her by her lord and master, Nagash. The Prophetess whimpered quietly and fell from her horse, a barren hollow husk. Tahlia and Lahmia combined their power, pointing to the ground before the oncoming knights and over forty zombies sprung up to greet them. Then Rebecca summoned her power once more, tinkling her fingers at her thigh, her eyes gently closed, smiling again and throughout the Tempestrian battle line, in fully half of their units, men fell inexplicably as a frightening wind passed through them. Rebecca raised her closed fist, drawing the spirits of the screaming dead into it then pointed. On that spot the spirits of the Tempestrians manifested under her domination and glided menacingly toward their own ranks.
Against such a powerful opening attack the Tempestrians faltered momentarily, but their resolve was like the steel of their lance tips. They rode on, charging into the undead. The flanking Questing Knights smashed the newly-created zombies far faster than they had been resurrected, weakening that end of the undead line but a trap had been set for the Knights of the Realm approaching the centre of the line and the trap closed upon them as man and horse were dragged to the ground.

Sarah, the Damsel of the Lady, threw forth mystical spears impaling her undying spirit comrades, hoping to prevent them locking her own people in needless battle but it wasn’t enough. They needed something more and she let go her tension, lolling her head back. In the midst of battle she allowed herself to stand completely defenceless as she called upon her blessed protector for help.
The call was answered.
The Golden Knight materialised in the woods near to the vampire Rebecca’s skeleton bodyguard, his mighty charger rearing, preparing to charge. Rebecca had been manoeuvring to support her troops but she saw the Golden Knight and realised she had only one recourse. She cried for her skeletons to run with her and she charged at him before he could set his horse to gallop.
This was the critical moment on which the entire battle pivoted. If Rebecca fell, her army would fall with her. The Golden Knight called out a challenge but Rachel sneered. Her skeleton champion declined the challenge on her behalf, allowing his compatriots to continue charging past him. This left Rebecca and all the skeletons free to do their worst. And do it they did.
Rebecca was second only to Nagash in her ability to wield dark magic, but she was still a vampire countess, more powerful than any human, more powerful even than this ethereal knight. And she bore the Sylvanian Runefang, the sword lost to the von Drak family for dozens of generations. She plunged the Dwarf-forged blade deep into the Golden Knights chest and the press and thrust of her skeletons did the rest. The Golden Knight could not maintain his form. He was banished.
And all across the battlefield the knights were in disarray. As the winds of undeath that Rebecca conjured tore through them once again they realised the battle was lost and they withdrew.
The field was held by the Vampire Counts. The first stage in their diabolical plan to reassert their power in the east was complete. The Tempestrians had been rebuffed. The Undead Nation would soon once more be on the ascendency.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

On the Painting Table: Ogre Butcher & Battle Standard Bearer

I take a pause half way through a game with my lovely wife to let you take a look at my new Ogre Butcher and Battle Standard Bearer conversions.

Both models are based on the basic Bull model and I'm reasonably pleased with how they look.

I wanted to experiment with a second Butcher but didn't want to pay the price for the actual model (I already have one) and I also wanted to see if I could do better. I do really like him.

Here's the Battle Standard Bearer:

Like my Dwarf one, his banner is made up of several different standard banners layered up to give a (hopefully) impressive look. I'm not entirely sure about his helmet but he did just save my Tyrant and the rest of his unit from fleeing off the board so he's doing something right!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

On the Painting Table: The "Green" Knight

As my lovely wife has been up for playing quite a few games of Warhammer lately I thought I'd go out on a limb and buy her a miniature for Christmas. This was a bit daring of me but I thought I'd go for it. I decided hoping she'd paint it was a bit too optimistic so I went ahead and painted it up beforehnd and presented it to her on Christmas Day.

And here's the result!

It's the Bretonnian Green Knight but as she mentioned she didn't like the offical colours I painted it in golds. I don't know about you but I kind of like it. I did the shield silver with with a green ink wash to maintain the principle of the Green Man emblem (which Gill likes).

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Special Character: Rachel d'Astatic

Rachel d’Astatic is many things: warrior, strategist, adventurer, ruler, prophetess, wife and sorceress. She is kind and demure, well-spoken and well-bred but she can also be bombastic and cunning, direct and commanding. She is the merchant queen of Tempest Falls, the most southern outpost of the Bretonnians, on the eastern border of the Border Princes and she is a Prophetess of the Lady, a powerful spell caster and a competent military general if the need should arise. And she is something more... something far darker than anybody suspects: two strands of corruption twining around her soul and threatening to engulf her.
In her early days, Rachel was like any other lady at court. She was the daughter of Duke Gerard d’Astatic but it was long years before there would be talk of queens and kingdoms. Her responsibilities were few and she expected nothing more than a sedate life of embroidery and gossip. She took a kind and gentle husband named Bernarde and gave him a son and perhaps her story would have ended there. But it was not to be.
With her brother, Jordan’s, betrayal and the murder of her family, Rachel tapped into the Chaos Vein, deep beneath the ground to curse her sibling and became forever changed. It wasn’t until years later that it developed fully but the connection she made then greatly enhanced her latent natural affinity to magic and also set her on a dangerous path that she has yet to conclude. Deep in her body, the Chaos Vein took root, beginning a powerful seduction that has yet to fruit.
When Tempest Falls was drawn into Ravenloft, the Demiplane of Dread, and Rachel met Spheric, she became, under his tutelage, a great warrior and adventurer, travelling the dark lands and battling against the dark lords. Wielding her father’s sword, Jubilant, Rachel was every part the equal in battle of the Knights of Tempest Falls.
On her father’s death, Rachel put aside battle and declared herself the queen of Tempest Falls. Her life became consumed by her responsibilities to her people and her kingdom and she was a great and fair ruler. It was now that she started to develop her powers as a sorceress but unlike the other Devoted of the Lady she was not chosen by the Fay Enchantress, nor did she spend time in Otherworld being schooled on the correct way to use her incredible new powers. When her ability exceeded that of her peers it became obvious that she was something different... something new. And within her, the Chaos Vein continued to stretch out its roots.
Following the betrayal of Methuselah, Rachel was grievously wounded and it was left to Spheric to save her; but what he did to do so is unknown. Suffice to say, it cured her where magic and science had hitherto been unable to and it turned her into something not quite human.
The kingdom of Tempest Falls was returned to the Border Princes and all reality rewritten until now Rachel believes herself to be the devoted wife of Methuselah. But she is still every bit the warrior; every bit the sorceress. She is powerful and wise and determined to drive all evil from her land.  
There are few magic users as powerful as she and she continues to be able to tap into more and more power should her need be great. But always there is risk. The greater the power Rachel wields, the tighter the Chaos Vein winds around her soul, and soon the lure and gifts of Chaos may prove to be her undoing...

Rachel d’Astatic

Points: 275
Rachel d’Astatic is a Level 4 Wizard who can use spells from the Lore of Beasts, Life or Heavens lists or from the Daemon Lore of Tzeentch. She may gain access to other lores of magic as her level of Taint increases during the campaign (see below).
Unkillable: Due to the mysterious process enacted on her by Spheric, Rachel is, like him, extremely tough and almost impossible to kill though can be temporarily defeated. During campaign play, Rachel cannot be permanently killed and suffers no long-term debilitating effects from injuries. She can still potentially be captured. Her preternatural toughness grants her a 5+ Ward Save. She gains no further benefit from the Blessing of the Lady.
Taint: The Chaos Vein within her offers Rachel great power that comes with a terrible price. Once per game, when she perceives her need is greatest, Rachel may choose to cast any spell she chooses from a daemonic lore she currently has access to. When casting this spell she has +1d6 power dice that must be used on the spell (in addition to any she chooses to spend from the Power Pool). If more than one six is rolled the spell is cast with irresistible force but instead of rolling on the miscast table, Rachel gains one point of Taint. Keep track of this as the campaign progresses and apply the permanent effects on Rachel’s abilities shown below as the darkness continues to take root. Changes take place as each of the milestones is reached.

+1 Strength
Gains access to the Daemon Lore of Slaanesh
+1 Toughness
Gains access to the Daemon Lore of Nurgle
+1 Attack
+1 Initiative
Becomes classified as Daemonic, giving her a 5+ Ward Save,
magical attacks and making her Immune to Psychology
Gains 4+ Armour Save
+2 to all casting rolls
+2 Movement. May no longer ride a horse
+1 Initiative
+2 Movement
+1 Attack. May no longer use her magical sword
+1 Strength
+1 Attack
Becomes classified as a Daemon Princess, gaining wings
and the Fly special rule
Gains Regeneration (4+)

Jubilant (Magic Weapon)
This magical sword slices through armour as though it wasn’t even there. No Armour Saves may be taken against Rachel when she uses this weapon.

Tactical Review: Crossing at Still Water

I may have won, but looking back over the game, I ask myself what I would have done differently…
An objective-based game that doesn’t require me to exterminate my opponent’s men is always tricky as it’s just so tempting to kill! I managed to resist most of that this time, using my existing and newly conjured zombie units to hold the centre while I slipped through. Because the Skaven (masterfully controlled by Mike) were so fast at redeploying I was never going to be able to win that battle in the centre of the field – they were only there to hold up the Skaven horde – but I did make one crucial mistake…
I had a huge 50-strong unit of zombies right in the middle. I did two things wrong with this. Firstly I tried for a lucky charge and failed which left my unit flank exposed to the entire Skaven army. That led to their rather rapid death. If I’d reformed to point at the oncoming ratmen I’d have had 30 attacks each turn and might have done some real damage. As it was I got a good whupping.
Secondly I wonder how big a difference it would have made if I hadn’t entered the water with them. Standing in a river means that rank bonuses are lost. It would have been nice to hold onto that. Having said that, the Skaven lost their bonus too which had the greater effect of limiting their leadership, so maybe staying in the water was for the best. Also, being in the river created a much bigger roadblock for the Skaven so perhaps that was best after all.
With home-grown scenarios the victory conditions can be a bit woolly. I should have formalised them a bit more in retrospect. My goal was to cross the river. His was to stop me. Mike and I decided I had won but it was a bit vague how many units I needed to get across the river to win. Would one have done it? Did all of them have to cross? Next time I’ll be more specific.


We took to the field with a new scenario to me, protect the river bank and stop the advancing undead horde. 

Tim and I had decided that I would deploy first and then the undead would advance onto the board in the first turn.  FIRST MISTAKE, Instead of spreading my army out I’d concentrated on one side leaving the other completely exposed, Tim immediately noticed this and deployed accordingly.  SECOND MISTAKE was rolling two misfires for my weapons teams KABOOM and they are both dead, although I had my Wind Mortar left they ended up doing more damage to my own army!

My only option was to cross the river with the majority of my army then march along the river’s edge before hopefully crossing the river again to put me in a position to charge.  Not being able to march through the river left me too far from the action and although my beloved Plague Censer Bearers managed to get into combat they were overwhelmed and were duly slaughtered.

Although I lost it was a thoroughly enjoyable game.

Tim and I both agreed the following day that the battle was excellent fun although with the outstanding and towering marketplace on board perhaps the Skaven army shouldn’t have been fully deployed.  If we play this scenario again I would definitely protect the whole river or at least centre the army so that I can quickly move out to either the left or right without having to travel the length of the board!  My magic users were pretty redundant all game, being so far away from the action Warp Lightning was never an option, and their muskets were certainly not worth the points cost. 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Crossing at Still Water

Vampire Counts (Tim) vs Skaven (Mike)

The townsfolk of Still Water were subdued, eyeing the horizon cautiously and looking up leaded windows in the high tower of the market hall for some sign that the spotter had seen enemies approach. This had gone on for days. They new danger was approaching – they could feel it – but when it was going to arrive they had no clue.

Then the call went out from the southern spotter. The Skaven were coming: a gigantic chittering horde of them. The townspeople gathered up the children. They fled for their secret hideouts. Then the call went out from the northern spotter. It was worse than they’d imagined. The zombies were coming: a vast shambling army of unliving dead-eyed corpses. They were caught between the hordes and there was nothing they could do but hide and wait.

The Skaven reached the village first. The forces of the vampire counts had one objective: to break through to Fortress malefic and take back their stronghold. Still Water was their best crossing point and it was the best chance the Skaven had to stop their advance. Hoping to force the undead legion to have to fight in the river the Skaven deployed as close to the water’s edge as they could, their forces covering all the ground from the watchtower on the village boundary right up to the village itself.

Within their hidden cover holes the village folk watched fearfully. The zombies were coming closer. Parents held sweating hands over their children’s mouths. Any sound at this point would expose them all. The Skaven had to believe the outpost was deserted. And then there was no more need for quiet. The undead arrived!

It was immediately clear that the Skaven had made an error in judgment. Their forces were too focused on the western end of town. There was a gap in their blockade near to the graveyard and the undead exploited it. Utilising preternatural cunning, Spheric, the vampire general, the ordered his largest unit of zombies to take a holding position in the centre of the village at the river crossing while the rest of his forces crashed into the water and scrambled through the shallows. He and his vampires summoned more zombies from the recent dead and through them into battle against the ratmen, holding them in place to give his shambling forces time to cross.

The Skaven were far faster than he anticipated however. They rapidly redeployed, crossing the river and racing into position, and charging up the lane into town hoping to cut the undead off. Clanrats led by Frostclaw, the Skaven general, ripped into the zombies that had been placed to prevent their overrunning attack, outflanking them and cutting them down rapidly.

But Spheric had all but banked on this. There was no end to the dead, no running out of zombie soldiers. There were there only to die. It mattered not at all how many were killed. What seemed like an overwhelming Skaven counterattack was just too little and too late. While the ratmen wasted their time on the zombies and struggled to circle round in time, the bulk of the undead army got across the river and shambled onward.

The Skaven blockade had failed. The undead were through. And there was only one thing on their minds: they were going to take back Fortress Malefic and then they would devour the corpses of every rat that they found there!

Pawing their way back across the fields towards the fortress, desperate to protect their prize, the Skaven left the village of Still Water empty. Allowing more time than was necessary to be sure, the villagers waited and then slowly emerged, looking after both withdrawing armies.

They had survived and their village had survived with them but how long would it be before their enemies returned?

As for the victory of the Vampire Counts. It was a victory also to them. The Skaven were far more dangerous to their existence. They hoped as the vampires did that the undead would take Fortress Malefic and drive the rat men out.

Only time now would tell if this would come to pass.