Monday, 27 February 2012

Massacre of the Men of Stone

Wood Elves (Gill) vs Men of Stone (Tim) 

Deep within Bloodroot Forest, Felix Wulf led his Men of Stone to war.

Down an ancient track through the trees the towering lizards moved slowly, the most powerful of the strange otherworldly knights marching steadily with them. They did not speak or pause for rest, but marched continuously, never breaking stride, utterly composed and focused.

Felix Wulf signalled the Sorcerer coming on behind that he would streak ahead to scout the path and ensure their safety then he and the mighty tyrannosaur disappeared in the gloom of the close forest path.

No sooner was he out of sight and earshot when the foliage broke as a massive Wood Elf contingent broke cover on both sides of the lane and attacked in sudden and deadly ambush; not one, but two of the frightening Bloodwood Drakes in their ranks. 

Confounded by the sudden onslaught, the Men of Stone turned about to attack but the Wood Elves were too swift and far too bitter from their previous defeat. Warhawks swept in from hidden branches and slew one of the lumbering creatures as flurries of bowfire brought down the second. 

The Men of Stone Sorcerer tried to conjure fell magics of the Sky Gods but fickle chance fumbled his incantations and a terrible explosion was unleashed in his very midst, slaying his own warriors.

The massive Terminator knights charged into the fray but their armour meant nought to the mighty dragons and they were slaughtered by tooth and claw. As the warriors fell the Wood Elves closed in further, wiping out a scouting party as they tried to relieve their comrades.

 The Sorcerer fell, his armour split and filled now with dark blood and the Knights of Ebon Scar were cut down until only one remained. He fought on against impossible odds and then he too, finally was slain.

Immediately, the Wood Elves melted from sight and fifteen minutes later, when Felix Wulf returned, all he found were the corpses.

The entire contingent had been massacred.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Massacre at the Tower of Hashut

Chaos Dwarfs (Tim) vs Tempestrians (Gill) 

Deep in the Worlds Edge Mountains, eastern rim of the Border Prices, one hundred miles north west of Gorak Duraz, fell capital of the Chaos Dwarfs and close to the eastward border of Tempestria, stands a great tower on a rocky plateau.

This is the dread Tower of Hashut.

Fair forgotten histories of the Chaos Dwarfs tell of the coming of Chaos from the north when yet they remained pure of heart; of a time of perilous need when no allies stood beside them to defend against this coming onslaught of Daemon and evil man. The histories tell of a terrible pact made in these hours with a strange and sinister visitor to the halls of Zorn Uzkull; a pact for salvation from this overwhelming attack in return only for the worship of Hashut: lord of Chaos; lord of Bulls.

Fearing for their lives, the Dwarfs accepted, and were damned forever more.

There is more to this tale; far far more; that is told elsewhere; but it is said that the great and terrible Hashut dwelt then and dwells now in an edifice far south and west of Zorn Uzkull; this place; this tower: the Tower of Hashut.

It is a place of evil; the lands about more barren than the rocks of the mountains themselves. All things good shun it, but it is a sacred site for the Chaos Dwarfs; a place of worship to which they can pilgrimage; to commune with their Lord face to face, to ask for his council or ask for his strength.

No one outside of the people of the Chaos Dwarfs knows the truth now. If Hashut resides in the tower or ever did is a mystery that will stand as long as the tower does, but regardless, those warriors that defend the tower are imbued with vitality; filled with hatred of their enemies and granted the boon of frenzy, such that they may rip out the hearts of any who would dare assault their dark god's home.

And thus is it was; on this day in the present time, that the Chaos Dwarfs of Gorak Duraz, the Cunning Stone, stood ready to defend this holiest of places from their enemies; the proud and strong warriors of Tempestria, to the west.

The Sorcerer Prophet watched as the enemy approached atop his Great Taurus, summoning fell magics of ash and fire.

Closer to the tower, the deadly steam-driven war machine known as the Skullcracker, never yet tested in battle, chugged noisily, eager for blood and carnage while flanking the tower strode not one, but two undefeatable K'Daai Destroyers.

The knights of Tempestria charged into battle as the magical bolts and arrows of the foot soldiers and sorceresses filled the air, taking down the Sorcerer Prophet before he could join his legion in battle.

Methuselah crashed into the Skullcracker astride one of his Hippogriffs, denying the momentum of its charge, and both he and the powerful beast scored at the infernal machine, as to his left, two powerful units of knights assaulted the mountainous animated statues of the K'Daai.

But neither Methuselah or his beast were a match for the Skullcracker. His hippogriff was chopped and sliced into ribboned flesh and he was sent reeling and unconscious into the mud to crawl feebly and terrified away as it crunched on, almost unharmed.

The knights fared little better against the K'Daai Destroyers.

Meanwhile, from the flank came a mighty Bull Centaur Taur'ruk. He slew the faltering crew of a towering trebuchet then went on to hack into the archers beyond, bringing them down. And as all this was going on, Daemonsmiths hurled fire and death, while their presence allowed ever accurate Deathshrieker Rocket Launchers to strike unerringly at their foes.

Even with fully half of their stout warriors garrisoning the Tower of Hashut, the Chaos Dwarfs devastated the Tempestrian assault, the Skullcrusher and mighty K'Daai Destroyers, charging on into the back field to hunt down any survivors.

The Tempestrian assault had been a paltry thing; barely a threat.

Within their own realm, the Chaos Dwarfs ruled supreme!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Tale of the Knights of Ebon Scar - PART FOUR

The Raptor Riders of Ebon Scar

Each day, long range scouting parties returned to the Fell Bastion of Ebon Scar with further news of the lands beyond the mountain rim of the Vale of Embers. Slipping through the crack between the realm of the mighty Ogryns and the hellish Valley of the Skulls, they had spied another realm; this one ruled by humans: the triumphant Knights of Tempest Falls in the queendom of Tempestria.

Felix Wulf, knightly captain within Ebon Scar, received the news calmly, but did not send out envoys to broker alliance. Nor, however, did he seem to plan immediately for war. The Ogryns, Daemons and fey folk of the Bloodroot Forest were enemies enough for now and closer to hand; but he barked orders anew.

From the wreckage of their arrival on this world, some of his knights yet worked on the esoteric mechanical steeds they had brought with them: miraculous beasts without heads that roared still in rage when coaxed to action. But many of these beasts it seemed, had died in the great meteor's impact and Wulf ordered their riders to go now; to seek out new mounts from the terrible lizards of the Vale of Embers, such that, when the time came, they could meet these knights of Tempestria on their own terms.

The riders caught and captured smaller reptilian beasts, that elsewhere in the world were known as Cold Ones. These were sleek and vicious killers, every one, and the magical artifacts pressed into their skulls by the sorcerers of the Men of Stone did little to quell their aggression; though much to enhance their frenzy.

Taking up great shields and halberds and helmed in great plumed helmets, these Raptor Riders rode forth, quickly mastering these terrible beasts and becoming cavalry unsurpassed either near or far.

Their mechanical steeds were faster; but they had no jaws and no claws with which to rake flesh, and in these qualities, the raptors excelled.

The days were coming closer and closer now to war, as preparations reached fruition. Little remained now to be done before the outer world would learn of the terrible wrath of the Sky Gods.

Of the Knights of Ebon Scar.

Of the Men of Stone.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tactical Review: Massacre on the Bridge of Hel Snatch


Well I really really enjoyed this game.

Visually it was stunning. The bridge I built the other week may be a bitch to store but I’m really glad I built it. It’s a lovely centre piece. And thank God I made it big enough to have several units side by side! I think this game was a bit frustrating for Mike because of the traffic jam effect, but because I’d had the chance to think about it for longer I managed to manage it fairly well I think.

Not perfectly though by any means. I still got some traffic jammage going on preventing charges at a couple of points. The other thing I had tome to do was construct an army with a flyer and some shooting elements so that I could reduce the amount of bulk on the bridge but still have an impact on the battle. That helped a lot. I also think having a Wyvern arrive in the flank must have had an impact on good ol’ Mike’s morale.

The other thing that I liked about this battle was my new Bull Rogue troll model from Banelords. Bull Rogue looked fantastic and also did a lot of damage, really living up to his rep and making him an excellent purchase. It makes a big difference to me having named characters with a long running background and it didn’t hurt that he was good in a fight.


Well it was another fascinating game with a very interesting board.  You’ve all seen by now, or at least should see, Tim’s excellent bridge which was where our epic battle was taking place.

For me it was a very experimental army, I’m really lacking in core units for my chaos warrior army so I have to be creative in my army.  Throgg was thrown in so that a small unit of trolls counted as a core choice for example and I dabbled with a sorcerer lord rather than a usual chaos lord.  The sorcerer lord was excellent and the +3 to casing is amazing.

The problem in this battle, much like the previous battle against the tomb kings was the narrow playing area and managing the flow of units.  I tried quick on the left and slow on the right which in essence is an excellent idea however with Tim’s chariots moving 14’ on the first turn I couldn’t get the units out quick enough which caused a massive backlog.  If I could have had more units free then I think that I would have won the battle at a  canter however as it was I was slowly picked off.  Well played Orcs.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Massacre on the Bridge of Hel Snatch

Orcs & Goblins (Tim) vs Warriors of Chaos (Mike) 

The forces of the Orcs were on the march, a cloud of smoke and vapour proceeding behind them as they charged down from their fortress of Gaping Maw.

The forces of Chaos had taken the mighty bridge of Hel Snatch over the river Trebleca, scant miles from the Orc fortress. If they didn't act now then their next visitors would be most unwelcome.

On the bridge, the forces of Dunkel Schloss waited, calling out jeers of challenge, carefully ranked up awaiting their enemies.

The Orcs formed themselves into two waves, a fast, hard hitting forward wave and a slower but denser follow up to mop up the survivors.

Little need be said of the battle that commenced. 

The first wave of the Orcs annihilated the War Wounds sent forward to meet them, overrunning into the waiting warriors beyond.

With so much destruction, the Warriors quivered momentarily in panic, but held firm, the will of chaos driving them on.

They were powerful warriors and battered down the opposition of the first wave. The sorcerer who led the Chaos force unleashed virulent plagues from his magics again and again, bringing down the Giants and chipping away at the onrushing Orcs and Goblins. He laughed maniacally as his power reached out, devastating all around him.

But would it be enough?

An Orc Warboss swept over the river onto the bridge from the bank, coasting over the streams of arrows and magical fire from the Arrer Boyz, and ripped into the Hellcannon and its crew. The monstrous war engine tore chunks from the wyvern's flanks but it wasn't sufficient to bring it down before the Hellcannon and its crew were ripped to shreds. The warboss fell but there was now a very angry wyvern amidst the ranks of Chaos.

The surviving warriors and knights charged but Bull Rogue, mighty troll leader of the Orc army swung his mighty axe, destroying them without resistance. He led the charge on the sorcerer and his guard and crushed him under the gargantuan blade. More and more warriors fell, and though they smote goblins by the dozen, it was a war of attrition and they simply did not have the numbers to sustain it.

It had seemed a close battle but it was over within minutes.

Bull Rogue and his Orcs had won. The mighty bridge of Hel Snatch was theirs once more and, for now, Gaping Jaw was safe.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Tale of the Knights of Ebon Scar - PART THREE

Terrible Lizards 

From out of the dank interior of the Fell Bastion, which now lay buried under a thick coating of ash, armoured warriors emerged carrying strange devices. These knights were huge, far bigger than the scouting parties, dressed in massive clunking suits of armour the colour of stone. Again, without word, they fanned out, cluster after cluster, seeking out the powerful lizards that populated the Vale of Embers.

Herding the mighty beasts with flame and lightning, the Knights of Ebon Scar drew many of them closer, setting up enclosures and trapping the beasts there. As soon as they were captured, other warriors began to study the creatures, experimenting on them with more of their strange contraptions.

All this was overseen by a great warrior never yet seen; a bald headed man dressed in pure white armour. Unlike the others who kept silent or only whispered, this one barked out orders in a strange tongue unknown within the lands of the Empire. It showed traits of the Tilian tongue but even that was alien to it. This warrior's name was Felix Wulf and he oversaw this strange new process as the warriors began to prod and goad the monsters, drilling esoteric cabinets to the sides of their heads.

The foes about them were many and the daemonic legions of the Pernicious Gate were especially threatening; but clearly the strength of the Men of Stone had been diminished by their turbulent entry into this world.

They recognised the strength of these terrible lizards and they planned to add it to their own.

As his men worked, Felix Wulf took up his Quake Clubs and ventured out into the wilds of the Vale of Embers, alone. Without fear he journeyed up into the forests and there faced the apex predator, the most powerful creature within the Border Princes, the dreaded Tyrannosaur.

Enraged in blood frenzy, the Tyrannosaur brought him to battle but such was the power of Wulf's strength at arms; such was the magic in his gigantic clubs; that he brought his attacker down.

Then he sat and waited for it to wake up.

When it did he departed, letting it follow his trail and again they came to battle. Again it was defeated. And again Felix waited.

The third time the beast attacked, its fury was like the tempest. It fought harder than any foe he had ever met and almost defeated him. Both warrior and dinosaur tumbled down a rocky slope, still fighting, still trying to kill. Trees were felled. Birds and animals fled. Still they fought.The sounds of battle could be heard at the Scar where the rest of the warriors continued to work, and then finally the cacophony ceased.

Days went by, and finally, as the work of the warriors came to an end, Felix Wulf returned to the camp, the great Tyrannosaur at his heel. Neither one had broken. Neither one had submitted. But a deep respect or predator to predator had been formed. Joined forever as twin-souled warriors were dinosaur and man.

And now the work was completed.

The terrible creatures of the Vale of Embers had been tamed by the magics of the Men of Stone, the strange cases attached to their skulls alternately making them docile and then, when needed, overcome by murderous fury.

With armoured shins and coils of razored blades around their ankles, the dinosaurs roared at the call of their powerful masters.

 It was almost time to go to war!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Tale of the Knights of Ebon Scar - PART TWO

The Whisperers

The Knights of Ebon Scar went forth, encircling their strange bastion and then pushing outwards, clearing the land there of life and foes. In their arms they carried weapons that spat fire and flame, mystical and frightening devices never before seen, at least outside of distant Cathay. The huge lumbering reptiles fell back from this onslaught, realising quickly that these new inhabitants of the Vale of Embers were dangerous. 

Soon a camp was erected, the settlement of Ebon Scar fortified, the knights standing guard as strange sounds issued from the Fell Bastion. And all the time the gigantic warriors moved silently, never speaking out loud though somehow still knowing the mind of their masters behind their death masks. 

Then from the dark confines of the Fell Bastion, six more knights came, though these seemed not of the same ilk as their brethren. Though muscular and lean by the standards of the men of the Empire, these six did not adorn themselves in the thick armour of the other knights. Keeping light and mobile, they crept into the undergrowth at the edge of the still smouldering scar and crept away. 

Where the other knights had kept silent, this scouting party whispered; and though the words were far too quiet to be heard by their compatriots, somehow the meaning was again transferred as they slipped through the rocky undergrowth and slowly set out to explore this new realm.

There was no human life anywhere within the valley; only the huge and terrible lizards that existed here as, up until now, the undisputed rulers of this narrow land. The scouting party widened their search, heading up to the foothills and into the mountains themselves that hemmed in the vale. Their leader whispered into the tiny bead at his mouth and within the hour, miles away in the valley floor, other scouting parties left the Fell Bastion and slipped away in other directions. Soon, to every angle of the compass, scouting parties went forth to test the lands about for peril and opportunity, stealthily moving so they disturbed nothing, only eliminating beats they came across by necessity to clear a path. 

In time they reached the peaks and looked beyond the Vale of Embers into the adjoining valleys. To the north, the first scouting party looked out across the wide lands of the Empire. With eyes that were eagle sharp and esoteric devices of scrying that they placed to their eyes, they saw the tilled fields and tumbledown civilisation of mankind. With cold stares they assessed the threat these farmers posed and whispered again into the tiny beads at their throats. 

To the west the mountains grew tall, dense and snow-capped, but the whisperers pressed on undeterred. Bloodroot Forest crept up the sheer sides of the cliffs here and in the boughs and shadowed interior of the trees, the scouting party picked out flitting movement and watching eyes with their keen senses. However when the scouts moved in to investigate further, the shadowy cloaked figures withdrew. 

The scouting party whispered again into the beads at their lips then moved on. 

To the east, the furtive scouting parties spied huge lumbering creatures, bald-headed, heavily muscled Ogres that gave them pause but did not shock them as much as it might. Clearly, the scouts had seen such creatures before, far off in the mystical realm from whence they’d come. They remained hidden, whispering news of these observations again into their magic beads. Then quietly, for now, they slipped away. 

It was to the south east that the scouting parties fell silent suddenly, perhaps for the first time showing trepidation, if not outright fear. 

For the valley they beheld was corrupted beyond anything they had hitherto seen, the land itself blackened and distorted; mutated into an otherworldly hell of blood and screams of torment. The trees and rocks and creatures had been totally consumed by the power of chaos and cavorting and screeching daemons held sway here in total domination. 

The scouts looked at one another grimly. 

Despite the peril of their arrival on this world, they had thought themselves at least free from the power of Chaos. It was a foe they had faced all too many times and one they took no relish in meeting again. Though it was an enemy they would not shirk from.

Once again the scouting party whispered into the enchanted beads at their mouths and then cocked their heads as though listening, though no one was there to speak to them. Perhaps, somehow, they listened to the spirits for guidance for surely such powerful warriors must be in league with powers beyond mortal ken. 

After a moment they glanced once more down into the tainted valleys, then training their enchanted weapons on their back-trail, they slowly withdrew.

The Men of Stone had thought at first to remain in their Vale of Embers to await the time of their departure, to have little impact on this world. But there was Chaos here, a dark root of corruption that could not be ignored and would have to be exorcised without mercy or care. 

There was nothing for it. 

The Knights of Ebon Scar were going to war!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Tale of the Knights of Ebon Scar - PART ONE

War in the Sky 

Come one and come all to listen to a legend, spoken of only in fear by the peasants of the Devil’s Pathway; of mighty warriors, dark portents and mighty battle. Come hear tell of the Men of Stone; the indomitable warriors; the powerful Knights of Ebon Scar. 

Deep in the heart of the Black Mountains lies a secluded valley cut off from the flow of time where huge reptilian creatures wander still, where once, in eons past, they might have wandered far. It is a place ne’er visited by man, for the fell lizards do not welcome visitors except with clashing jaws or crushing charges. It is a valley, known to the few who now remember it, as the Vale of Embers; so called because of the vats of volcanic embers that disgorge, at all times, drifting flakes of smouldering earth rock.

Despite the inevitable rumours of hidden riches, through the centuries, no one travelled to the Vale of Embers and no one made it their home.

That is, until the Night of Blazing Portent.

On this night, in coldest November, omens such as had never been recorded by human hands were seen in the night sky. Above the Border Princes, the stars were diminished by the flicker and flash of mystical light in the heavens. Like the fireworks of Nuln only infinitely brighter and far more foreboding, the outbreaks of light crashed and sundered the night along with peals like the deadliest of thunder.

Two thousand years before, a twin-tailed comet heralded the comic of Sigmar, greatest warrior of the known world, but now another comet came. Fearful peasants gazed up at it as it issued from the heart of the most spectacular and final flash of fell light in the sky. Surely this comet was portent of ill tidings. Surely it foretold of doom. 

Shutters were snapped; doors bolted. Charms were caressed and prayers made to Sigmar, Morr and other darker gods. But still the comet came.

And this time it did not pass in the night, vanishing like a shooting star. It grew and it grew; brighter and hotter, bigger and closer, until the night sky above the Border Princes was blazing on fire with its approach.

And then it fell, soaring over the Black Mountains. For one awful moment there was blackness, as it plunged into the Vale of Embers, and then the night was lit once more by a mighty explosion.

The smoke from it filled the Border Princes from the Black Mountains to the sea and all through the land, the people, animals and darker things, burrowed deep into their homes in terror. As far away as the Southlands and stout Kislev, the impact was heard and felt but none knew of the reason for this dread omen, save perhaps the silent Slaan in their far off ziggurats of stone. They knew what this portended and they shuddered with fear for the long awaited final phase of their plan was therefore soon to come as well. In their darkened chambers they started to initiate their scheme.

For weeks the smoke filled the sky; and in the Vale of Embers, those mighty lizards who had not perished in the blast gazed with uncomprehending eyes into the place of devastation where the comet had struck. It was a huge scar on the land; an ebon scar; that ran fully two miles before the trail of the comet reached its end. There, a huge glowing fortress lay upon its side as though flung down from the heavens; a mighty edifice of steel, fashioned by lore unknown and skills undreamt of. 

From where the mighty bastion had come, no one knew or could guess but clearly, it issued from some far flung mystical realm; some harbour of fell warriors who came now to take this land for their own.

For five days, the Bastion of Ebon Scar remained still and silent as the ash of its arrival slowly settled over it, cloaking the metal beneath layers of white. No sound was heard from within and no light issued from its doors.Until finally, on the sixth day, under the dark moon Morrslieb’s baleful glare, the drawbridge fell and illumination and steam came from within.

Striding from the smokey innards came warriors, never before seen on that great continent: armoured knights of such girth and strength; such indomitable armour; that no man could oppose them. 

The Knights of Ebon Scar paused at the foot of their drawbridge, silently turning their heads from one way to the next, looking out upon this Vale of Embers that was now their home. No speech came from their lips, but as though an inner voice instructed them on this quest, they all stepped into motion synchronistically. 

They strode off into the mists to establish this lands as theirs, and following them came many others. 

The Knights of Ebon Scar had come to the Old World. 

The Men of Stone had arrived. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

How to Build a Bridge

With my push to make my campaign games more "realistic" in terms of the terrain that's fought over, I realised I needed a bridge.

But that was only the beginning of the thought process as the bridge size was going to be critical. Too narrow and it might look good, but the game played on it would be frustrating as units queued up to fight a one on one battle in the middle.

I decided to go for a bridge wide enough for three normal units (or a combination of larger and smaller units).

Here's how I went about it:

1) Decide that what you need is a preposterously over sized bridge.

2) Get some foam board from a hobby or art shop (Hobbeycraft sells this in England).

3) Gather a shockingly large amount of spare wood you happen to have lying around.

4) Use a craft knife to cut the foamboard into the appropriate sizes. My bridge is 17" wide. The level section is 22" long and the ramps are about 11.5".

5) Eat some Bran Flakes.

6) Glue on "hinges" made from cardboard. These allow the bridge to be set at different heights with the ramps then at varying pitch.

7) Write a note to yourself to not glue wood on later that will completely undermine the original plan to have bridge as adjustable (I missed this step).

8) Pile two paint pots up into an intriguing paint pot pyramid.

9) Reinforce the underside with hard balsa wood pieces while taking a refreshing drink of lemon.

10) Cut some appropriately shaped moulding wood to and hang from the side of the bridge to give a decorative look and an illusion of thickness.

11) Use old VHS video tapes to hold the wood in place while it glues.

12) Add balsa wood on the edges of the upper side of the bridge to make an edge to it.

13) Remember to put that Homebase receipt someplace safe.

14) Make some legs from wood and decorate them with more moulding.

15) Realise the legs are too narrow and rip them off.

16) Take a photo and email to friends so they think you're a cool dude. Place miniatures and tower on bridge for scale demonstration. Ensure VHS tapes remain in shot for nostalgic purposes. 

17) Cut some new legs from insulation foam using a saw. Cut grooves in them to make them look like layered stone and paint them accordingly, dry brushing through various shades of grey.

18) Add more decorative moulding to the top of the bridge and use paper sheets to cover the cracks where the foam board joins are.

19) Paint the parts of the bridge that are going to be exposed black then dry brush through several shades of grey.

20) Try to ignore discarded fragments of broken legs.

21) Buy a black towel (or towelling material) of the appropriate size and dry brush Scorched Brown (I used a duplicated colour from B&Q). This is also how I did my war board blanket by the way. 

22) Drybrush the towel Bestial Brown in patches.

23) Take a bath. Use towel to dry yourself.

24) Place over a radiator.

25) When dry, drybrush the towel Bubonic Brown in overlapping patches so that all previous colours are still visible. 

26) Drybrush Bleached Bone in the same way. 

27) Put the towel on the bridge and set it up.

28) Realise it is preposterously big and you may have made a terrible mistake.

29) Console yourself with the fact that it is chuffing cool!