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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Blood Bath at Orc's Drift - The Battle of Kachas Pass

Well - belated Season's greeting one and all and apologies for another prolonged silence! Computer troubles this time I'm afraid - the damn thing has spent most of December randomly crashing which has slightly slowed things down. It all seems to be working now (touch wood) and I've got the first scenario done. As the notes I took during the game were necessarily quite brief in order to keep the action rolling along for the players I haven't written up blow by blow accounts of each turn. Instead I've gone for a more narrative style - oh and in case you missed any of my previous posts - the pics have been restaged under better conditions using the rough and ready shots I snapped during the game.

So put the kettle on, read on and let that tea get cold!

The Battle of Kachas Pass
Erdolas gazed out of the window, brooding over the mountain wastes that loomed to the North. A fitting picture to suit his mood he thought mirthlessly. The Elf captain continued to stare into the distance impassively as a series of emotions rushed through his mind like the storm clouds that scudded across the sky. He didn't like the way things were shaping up - first the disgusting Half-Orc spy had been captured, trying to sneak back up into the mountains with goodness knows what information on the Grand League's already beleagured armies. The foul creature had gone on to taunt the Elves with veiled threats that an Orcish war party was headed their way. 

But then again Erdolas felt a thrill that the time for action was perhaps at hand. For too long had his self imposed exile in this dreary hill fort  dragged on. It was more than time for him to find that glorious death he had been searching for. That glorious death that would silence the whispers of scorn and outrage his fellow Elves had rained down on him at the discovery of his illicit and adulterous affair with the Queen of Fendal Forest.

Well the die had been cast. Erdolas had sent his Lieutenant, Herndil Merl, out with ten archers to search the Pass for intruders. He half hoped his trusty officer would return with good news; that the Orcs had been just a raiding party and easily routed. He half hoped for hordes of the enemy to come pouring out of the mountains and for death amongst the bloody ruin of those he had slain himself...

The lone watchman cast his eyes about miserably. All those wide open spaces, great slabs of rock, towering pinnacles - it was enough to send any Elf mad. He contented himself with watching the wind tearing at the few sad trees clinging to the ground near the entrance to the Pass. It was then that his sharp ears caught the jingle of mail above the gale's roar - was there movement in the Pass?



Soon the rattle and  scrape of ill-tended wargear was joined by guttural snarls and voices as the rocks seemingly came alive with a green tide. The Vile Rune Tribe slithered its way down the slopes of the Pass towards the garrison.


Fangor Gripe, Chieftain of the Vile Rune, ran a course tongue over yellowed teeth as his band picked their way slowly through the screes on the left hand side of the pass. Impatience and anticipation coursed through his veins as he yearned to hear the cries of the wounded and dying. Yet he would have to be sly - should the thrice-accursed dog, Silas Meel, escape during the battle there was no doubt that he would run to his masters in the Kwae Karr tribe. And if that were to happen then word of Gripe's refusal to fight at Fendal Plain during the Goblin Wars last year would get out. Fangor growled savagely, causing a young savage to loose his footing in the rocks - there was no way some Half-breed scum was going to give him the chop...


Meanwhile, the alarm had been sounded and Erdolas and what was left of his garrison hurried out into the compound. Erdolas led a section of his archers to the East wall to keep watch on the approaches to the Pass. Another section of archers headed for the storehouse to check on their prisoner - disgusting as he was the Half-Orc was too valuable to be allowed to fall into enemy hands. The remaining archers went out of the main gate to keep watch on the crossroads. 



The Orcs continued to make their way down from the Pass - the Tribe spltting like some vile Hydra, as bands of Orcs passed to the left and right of the small wood in their way. Smoke now marked their advance as one unit paused to light fire brands.



 Now aware of the danger Erdolas barked out his orders - a flight of arrows soared into the sky but only one found its mark. Unfortunately for the Elves the brutish creature shrugged the missile away and strode on.

Peering through the cracks in the woodwork, Silas Meel saw that his chances of escape were quickly diminishing as his guard detail got closer and closer. A horrible grin smeared itself across his face as the door lock finally failed. It got wider as he savoured the looks of shock on his captors' faces - and jumped the fence! However, he was not home and dry yet as the third detachment of archers turned and petled down the road towards him!


The hillside seethed as the Orcs of the Vile Rune continued their advance - yet only one of the creatures in the lead column fell from Erdolas' bowmen on the East Wall.





Silas, hellbent on escape, ran down the road with the pad of Elven boots close behind. The space between his shoulderblades tingled as he waited for the inevitable arrow to materialise there, yet looking over his shoulder the second detachment of Elves had stopped short by the pallisade wall - cackling, he realised he was worth more alive than dead to them!


 As the Elves began to gain on him, Silas found quickened his pace and sprinted up a nearby hillside, spurred on by desperation.  


Back in the compound, the spy's original guard detachment had wheeled round, and under Erdolas' orders were now headed for the North wall, to meet the developing threat there...


While the Half-Orc had led more than half of the Elven garrison a merry dance, Fangor had maneuvered his troops into position virtually unopposed! The North wall and stables now looked somewhat vulnerable as half of the tribe and Guthrum Mane, their unusually sober Rock Giant, continued their advance. 


The other half of the tribe seemed to be making for the woods by the Merlinas road - no doubt to cover their advance from the so far, rather ineffectual Elvish archery. Seeing that he was in danger of being outflanked and surrounded, Erdolas sent another volley at the lead elements of this Orc column, sending another brute to an early grave. The detachment on the North Wall also let fly only to see their arrows fail to pierce the Orcs' thick skins and mailed shirts.


Suddenly, the Elf Captain's already grim visage paled further. His eyes narrowed to flint-coloured slits as he strained to make out what the Orcs were waving back at them - it couldn't be... 

It was...

 A low gasp was let out by the archers around him as the news spread along the line - Herndil and his night patrol would not be back to reinforce the garrison. Certainly not in one piece anyway.

Bits of them could be seen adorning many a crude Orcish trophy necklace...


Hearing the cries of horror from their brothers-in-arms, the archers pursuing Silas Meel gave up the chase - they were needed back at the fort now more than ever.


Even as his would-be captors turned, ran and took up new firing positions by the Barracks, the sly Half-Orc stole his way back. Busy in their vengeance, the archers were oblivious to the spy's machinations as they scored three hits on the lead flanking column - two Orcs fell gurgling and clawing at the arrows through their throats.


Meanwhile, things were looking grim as a large portion of the Orc force made it to the perimeter wall relatively unscathed.

Fangor Gripe and his mob rushed over to the back of the stables...


... whilst a second group of Orcs pressed against the West wall of the compound. Guthrum's migty frame also loomed menacingly over the stables.  


The orcs bringing up the rear paused to light the tar-soaked torches that they carried.


 The Orc's flanking force continued their march into the wood that bordered the Merlinas road.



As if all this wasn't bad enough, many a nervous glance was exchanged between the Elven defenders as the stables began to revererate from Guthrum's mighty blows. Fangor's mob cheerfully joined in the giant's wanton vandalism, despite the fact that their weapons were only able to scratch and scour the masonry. Then smoke began to rise from the West wall as torches were stacked up against the log ramparts....


Faced with a sea of snarling green faces leering through the smoke and flames, Erdolas' detachment lost their nerve and backed away from the pallisade.


Yet did the Elves have some kind of devious plan up their sleeves? Perhaps so, as the archers manning the North wall also pulled back towards the centre of the compound - leaving the pallisades seemingly undefended...


The Elves outside the outpost moved into better firing positions to cover the road to Merlinas, still unaware of their unpleasant stalker. Drawing a bead on the Orcs busy with their fire brands, the elves all found their marks, but only two of the vile creatures fell dead.


Now was the Orcs chance to pounce - The beseigers leapt the still burning West wall and spilled  howling into the compound.


Fangor's mob sidled away from the stables towards the North pallisade, ready to exploit the Elves' weakness there.


Eager to mete out revenge on their tormenters, the Orcs in the wood charged down the Merlinas highway, catching the small detchment there by surprise with their swiftness. Behind them the trailing force of Orcs moved up in the hope there would be something left for them.

The Elves, however, soon recovered from their shock and easily dispatched one of the clumsy beasts. In their rush, the orcs failed to spear any of the lithe forms that danced before them, instead pushing the elves back by weight of numbers.

The Elves held their nerve - only to see one of their number struck down in their midst! Whirling round in the direction of the blow, they were greeted with the mishapen visage of Silas Meel - spy, now turned treacherous assassin! Despite this sneak attack the Elves still remained cool and tightened their sword grips for the next round.


Guthrum Mane, thoroughly enjoying his new game,  continued to demolish the now distincty rickety looking stables, grinning foolishly and humming a tuneless melody in time to his strokes.


Faced with hordes of Orcs pouring into the compound, Erdolas ordered his archers to form into one rank. Unleashing a volley at close range saw three of the interlopers fall. Undeterred by the hail of arrows the frenzied Orcs hurled themselves at the archers - only to be met with a wall of shimmering steel. Elvish blades saw three more of the creatures slain - two at the hands of Erdolas himself! Shaken by the unexpected resistance the orcs failed to bring any of the Elves down and found themselves pushed back against the pallisade wall they'd just scaled. Only Fangor's terrifying bellows from across the compound stopped the yellow-bellied curs from fleeing!


The Elves' victory cry was soon drowned out by the terrible rending sound of timbers stressed to breaking point and the roar of crumbling masonry - Guthrum stood back wheezing from the dust, but happy with the heap he had turned the stables into!


The Elves' woes were to be compounded further. No sooner had one wave of attackers been repulsed than another swarmed in. 


Fangor and his mob had scaled the North wall and now menaced the second line of archers. With their backs to the opposite wall, the Elves prepared to sell their lives dearly. Two Orcs fell to their first volley.

The beleagured Elves out on the road fared no better - although the combat was fought to a bloodless draw, they were once again pushed back by the slavering multitude in front of them.

Silas Meel, now somewhat nervous about the presence of many savage looking Orcs who didn't seem too fussy about whom they bludgeoned to death, broke away from the combat and slunk off in the direction of the cross roads to Orc's Drift.



Back in the compound Erdolas urged his warriors to exploit their advantage, Slaying another Orc, he led the Elves forward, pushing the Orcs further back towards the smouldering log wall. The Orcs in their confusion again failed to kill any of their quarry, now turned hunters.

Yet help was at hand for the green skins - Guthrum Mane charged into the Elven line, closely followed by Fangor Gripe's unit! The fighting was savage to behold on both sides - driven to desperate measures the Elves wiped out the remnants of their original attackers - another three orcs falling to Erdolas himself! In answer to the bloodshed, Guthrum casually crushed one of the wearied Elf guardsman, while Fangor's mob brought down another.


Erdolas' detchment again fought for their lives. Turning on their new attackers the Elves felled another Orc but failed to wound the Rock Giant. The Orcs on the other hand failed to penetrate the finely wrought chainmail of all the Elves but one, and forced the defenders back.

Desperate to aid their brothers-in-arms, the second line of archers levelled their bows, took careful aim... and fired into melee that boiled in front of them! Three orcs were struck but their thick hides and armour saved them. Not so fortunate was the Elf who stared disbelievingly down at the strangely familiar arrowhead that now protruded from his chest! Perhaps ashamed at this terrible deed, the detachment made for the East wall, vaulted it and skulked behind the pallisade!

Noticing a familiar figure slinking sneakily away from the field of battle, Fangor disengaged himself from the fighting and marched over to the now vacated South wall - yes it was that filthy spy Silas... soon Fangor would be free of the worm and the threat he posed to his position and very life....



Once again the Elf detachment defending the road fought their Oricsh attackers off, only to be pushed back again - this time into the hollow of a small hill - now they were surrounded and hemmed in - things did not look good!


Erdolas looked around him, undaunted by the carnage. The crushed remains of the last two of his kinsmen lay dead at the feet of the montrous Rock Giant and the baying pack of Orcs pressed in, eager to taste his blood. As his blade silenced another foe, Erdolas allowed the trace of a grim smile to flicker across his face - it looked like his long yearned for glorious end was at hand...


Slowly and inevitably, however, he was forced to give ground as his attackers stepped over their dead, warily jabbing at him with their rusty and gore-stained weapons.


Locked deep in combat, the Elf hero was in no position to notice the third unit of Orcs enter the compound - whether that would have gladdened his heart or sapped his resolve no-one would know.

Fangor Gripe, meanwhile, stalked over to the gate, glaring balefully at the receding back of Silas Meel. Seeing a chance to redeem themselves, the last detachment of Elf archers once more jumped the log wall back into the compound. Taking aim, they let fly their arrows at the Orc Chieftain's wide and inviting back. Four arrows struck home, the Elves gasped, time itself seemed to slow... and yet the tough old Orc picked himself up completely unscathed!



Spurred on by their Warlord's bloodcurdingly roar of defiance, the Orcs at the base of the hill easily swatted away the Elves' desperate attacks. Slashing and hacking, they tore two of their opponents down, whooping with wild abandon as they gave chase to the sole survivor as he broke and ran up the hill.


Not wishing to tempt fate further, Fangor Gripe dived over the pallisade, away from the keen eyes of the Elven archers, and gave chase to the Half Orc spy. Seeing the danger, Silas gave a pitiful squeak and redoubled his awkard gait into the semblance of a sprint.


Gradually Erdolas became aware of a slackening in the ferocity of the Orcs' attacks. As he wiped the blood and sweat from his brow he was amazed to see the hated creatures backing away, licking their wounds. Then a deep roar came from behind him - Guthrum had claimed the pleasure of gutting the lone Elf for himself. In this brief respite, Erdolas looked around to see a sea of green and savage faces filling the compound as the Orcs of the trailing force maneuvered into position, ready to charge the last remaing archers.



That brief moment of calm was torn asunder as Guthrum's terrible glaive smashed into the ground just where Erdolas had been standing. Recovering from the near miss, Erdolas was unable to find a chink in the brute's tough hide.



Licking his chops in anticipation Fangor savoured the moment as he raised his sword and brought it scything down onto the rapidly slowing and wheezing form of Silas Meel. Gravely wounded, the Half Orc turned on his hunter like a animal at bay. Contemptuously smashing aside Silas' underhand stab, Fangor again raised his sword high. When it fell the only threat to his Chieftainship and life had simply ceased to be...


Casting their eyes at the the two possibe targets in front of them, the newly arrived Orcs in the compound wisely chose to charge the last detachment of Elf archers - rather than the manic Elf champion locked in his death struggle with the giant!

Storming through the hail of arrows unscathed, they hacked down one of the unfortunate defenders for the loss of one of their own. The Elves were forced once more out of their own fort and gleefully the howling mob followed!


Feeling the deadly lethargy of fatgue creeping into his limbs, Erdolas backed away from his towering opponent towards the barracks in the hope of gaining some cover from the giant's wild and clumsy attacks. Again and again the massive glaive came thundering down; again and again the weary Elf dancd painfully out of the way, only to see his well aimed jabs and thrusts turned by Guthrum's tattered chainmail.


Alone on the crest of the hill the routing Elf stopped. A burning desire to avenge his kinsmen raged through his body. Gripping his sword with renewed vigour he turned... and was cut down by the baying pack of Orcs as they came piling up the slope after him!



Over on the West Wall the Orcs continued to push the Elves back in a surprisingly bloodless scuffle - perhaps limbs on both sides were beginning to hang like lead from the rigours of battle - even the surprise flank attack by Fangor Gripe failed to claim any of the defenders' lives!

Epilogue

Yet slowly and inevitably the Elves faltered and one by one the mob dragged them down until there was naught but bloody ruin...

 
In the shadow of the barracks the last stand was fought out. A green throng soon gathered to watch the spectacle as Elf and Giant fought out their terrible duel.

Cheers went up as the Elf was sent sprawling like a rag doll, caught by one of Guthrum's murderous blows. Cheers went up when the brute let out a bellow of pain when the Elf's blade found a soft spot.

And yet this strange dance could not go on forever. A feeling of     tranquility smoothed Erdolas' troubled brow - now was his moment.

With lowered sword, he stepped forward to embrace the release  from his shame he had long craved...


Victory Points

Elves - 38
Orcs - 9

So a pyrrhic victory to the Wood Elves of Kachas Pass who earned 38 points for killing all those Orcs! The Vile Rune Tribe only got their paltry looking 9 points for killing 9 Elves by the end of the 15 turn limit I had set - the epilogue is what I felt to be the inevitable conclusion had we played this scenario to the bitter end!

The unexpectedly stiff resistance put up by the plucky Elf garrison meant that the Vile Rune Tribe wouldn't be able to show up at Orc's Drift until turn 10 - a little tardy to say the least!

Next up - when I get the time to rephotograph and write the action up - is Ashak Rise


7 comments:

  1. Cracking game and a cracking story! Love the minis too(:

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  2. Great battle report and excellent photos. Seemed a cracking game

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  3. Certainly was - we played all four scenarios over one weekend so although loads of fun, it did turn into a bit of a marathon!

    I'm afraid the other scenarios may be a couple of weeks in coming - up to my eye balls in 1/2400 ships that I'm painting up for a Trafalgar diorama for my Dad's birthday at the end of the month...

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  4. Beautiful, Mr. T - just beautiful. Nothing else to say really. Nice to see a warhammer game not restricted to 6 turns. Funny how something like that allows a giant to spend time destroying a building and still participate in a game - you'd never see that in modern warhammer...

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  5. Sorry fella - there seems to have been some kind of fault that's stopped me accessing the comments recently.

    Thanks very much for your kind words - wait till you see what went on in the next couple of games!

    Apologies by the way for the snail's pace these reports are appearing at. The currennt delay is being caused by the Battle of Trafalgar diorama I'm painting up for my Dad's 60th weekend after next - still got the whole French fleet to paint up yet!
    Things should start moving quickly after that so keep your eyes peeled!

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  6. I love these battle reports, there's so much love gone into the setting of the scene. I love the old school mini's it's like staring back into my childhoood. Yours and kingsminis blog have spurred me on to create my own so thanks for the amazing pics!

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  7. Cheers Headnhalf - great blog! You can't have too much old school goodness on the interwebz!

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