Monday 29 November 2010

Impasse at Ortar Pass...

Thought I'd try my hand at another rules set. This time a solo game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd edition. I have fond memories of the games I played as a lad and the book has been a constant source of bedtime reading (I know - sad isn't it!) since I got another copy off ebay some time ago. To make it work as a solo game I'm just putting myself into the role of each force on their turn - a little contrived but I'm really just playing this game to refresh my memory of the rules and try out a few things.

First impressions - my fond memories obviously didn't include the many consultations of tables, rules, stats and modifiers that have slowed gameplay down somewhat! Always loved WFB3 for all the minutiae it goes into with special formations, weapon modifiers and the like so I'm enjoying it - just miss the pace of the brilliant skirmish games I've had with the likes of Skulldred and Havoc.

Anyway got one turn played yesterday afternoon!!

Bit of background - thought I'd set this in the Orc's Drift campaign -

With the Goblin Hordes mobilised against the Grand League in the East, under the agreement between King Fyarr and the Goblin King, Murgol, various lesser chieftains saw their chance at some easy pickings. Fingral Crackscratcha was one such opportunist. His columns of orc warriors trailed the seething mass of Hill Goblins swarming towards the defences of Ramalia, peeling away in the night down the mountain pass that led towards Ortar itself - Fingral had no desire to fritter away his strength against the Grand League's army in a pitched battle with only Goblins to cover his flanks.

As dawn sullenly broke, the grey sky glowered over the hamlets and farms that lay on the outskirts of the city. Fingral licked his lips in anticipation of the slaughter. His leering grin froze - something glinted in the pale and watery sunlight. The faint call of horns rose up and tiny points of light moved through the fields as the sun caught shields and breastplates. They formed up into little squares that blocked the highway. It could mean only one thing - Ortar was defended.

Hidden eyes had watched the Orcs from the woods that bordered the mountains and now Man, Dwarf and Elf stood united against the invader.  Cursing with displeasure Fingral jabbed his blade at the thin line of soldiers. The orc columns began to pick their way through the rocks and onto the plain...

The Impasse at Ortar Pass

Orc Turn 1

The lead elements of the Orc column form up - Ruglud's Armoured orcs take the centre with Fingral and his bodyguard. Covering their right flank is Wyva Longface and his boyz, whilst Gronit Dead-eye's archers bring up the left. The shaman, Dravid Coppafeal, leads two drooling trolls on the extreme left and his doltish apprentice, Avva Badded, prances and gibbers between the two orc mobs. 

All units advance on the Grand League units defending the highway.

Dwarfs can be tricky to hit as they're quite short. Dwarfs hiding behind a wall with crossbows are even trickier so Dead-eye's archers let loose at the Norse Berserkers gnashing their teeth in front of the farm house. Even so, having just moved up, their aim was off - only one Norseman was hit and wounded by the wild hail of arrows.

As they hadn't got their hands dirty with any combat yet the orcs continued their relentless advance...

Eager to get the slaughter underway Coppafeel unleashed three deadly bolts of ligtning towards the Bergjaeger (human scouts) cowering behind the wall by the farmhouse wit their bows. Four hits struck home sending three archers convulsing horribly through the air. The fourth mopped his brow, patting the blackened stone wall thankfully that had deflected the bolt.
Grand League Turn 1
Hurriedly Men and Dwarfs rushed to take up positions by the highway to meet the green tide surging down from the crags. In the centre the Dwarf clansmen anchored the line, a small unit of Norse berserkers on their right and the Ortar militia on their left. Two sapper teams watched on ready to begin digging defenses for the brave few to retreat to if needed.

To their right the Wood Elves who had been so useful in tracking the Orc's movements prepared their advance through the wood to fall upon the enemy's right flank. Next to the militia a small troupe of Wardancers stretched and kicked, warming themselves up for the coming struggle. The bear and hounds of the Elven Beastmasters watched on impassively, while a band of gladerunners peered into the distance ranging their foes. The Elven general, Mellthathar Althathar and the sorceress, Paldaniel stood shoulder to shoulder with the great protectors of the wood - Atkrinson the Rowan, a mighty treeman and the mysterious Zoat warrior, Raphellicus. At the end of the line another Beastmaster soothed his impatient feline charges.

The advance was sounded and the army surged forward - the Elves took to the wood, the Men and Dwarfs stepped off the road ready to meet the Orcs and the archers and crossbowmen licked their wounds behind the wall that ran along the highway.

As the trolls began to bear down on the Dwarf crossbowmen they opened fire - 5 bolts hit home causing two wounds. One of the great beasts staggered, almost mortally wounded, until it seemed to recover. The dwarf's cheers faltered as they saw the crossbow bolts pop out of the deep wounds they had inflicted. The troll, having successfully regenerated the damage, continued shambling towards them.

The Bergjaeger also let loose a volley but this time at the Orc archers - three arrows found their mark but failed to cause any damage, the points skittering off rusted mail shirts and tough orc hides!

Meanwhile the first real fighting broke out on the battlefield. As Wyva's orcs stepped nervously into the wood there worst fears were confirmed. Three enraged wildcats pounced on the unfortuate orcs' flank. Seconds later a ripple of fear swept the Orcish ranks as Atkrinson crashed into them. A guttural command from Longface steadied them but their predicament worsened as an enraged Zoat joined the fray. Four Orcs fell to the wildcat's ferocious claws and another was trampled beneath the Zoat's thundering hooves. As if this wasn't enough Atkrinson crushed another three. A rout was narrowly avoided by Wyva's threats and oathes but the Orcs were pushed back out of the wood.

The rest of the Alliance units edged forward, strengthening the line and the various magic users prepared their incantations.

Gaspar the Wise, the dwarf wizard sent a terrible wind against the Orc archers forcing them to the ground - the Alliance line would be safe from their arrows for the moment. The druid, Breward, created a magical bog in front of the trolls blocking their path, happy in the knowledge that his actions would not cause the death of even these foul creatures. Suffering no such scruples, Pennan Tellur, arch-mage of Merlinas, sent forth a trio of magical lightning bolts in response to Coppafeal's magical attack on the archers. One of the trolls was incinerated, its ability to regenerate negated by the flames.

And so ends the opening turn of the game - the Alliance appear to be mounting a strong defense but does Fingral have a few tricks up his sleeve? Can three units of orcs and a couple of trolls really constitute the true fighting strength of his tribe...

Tune in next time for the next gripping instalment! 

Saturday 27 November 2010

A right "hand"-some lot...

Got the last of the warriors of the Severed Hand Tribe finished. They comprise the main fighting strength of the tribe - just got a few archers and Hagar Sheol, their chieftain to do  now...

No shields this time I'm afraid but if you look closely one of them has a little frot and back plate on their armour where I managed to fit a small design.

I'll have to see how I go with the rest before Christmas - got plans to make a couple of dioramas as presents. What with all the research for painting schemes, learning how to use styrofoam, building and painting minis I'm going to have to get done Orc's Drift may well have to take a back seat till the New Year...

Next challenge - learning how to make convincing cherry trees covered in blossom and paddy fields for a Japanese scene involving samurai and geishas for the wife (hope you're not having a sneaky read dear as it will spoil the surprise!).

Once I have that under the belt I want to have a go at a naval diorama for my Dad - he is currently writing a book on one of our more illustrious ancestors - Captain Mansfield, who commanded the Minotaur and saw action at the Battle of the Nile and Trafalgar among other engagements! I'm hoping to recreate one of his smaller exploits - the chase and capture of the French ship Franchise, assisted by the Thunderer and Albion. So that's realistic water with waves and adding rigging to 1/1200 model ships!

Thursday 18 November 2010

Keeping the Wolf from the door...

Thought I might while away the evening with a little game to see what the old second edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules are like. Also gave me a good excuse to use my recently finshed Golgfag's Ogres.

For a scenario I thought a night raid would work well for the ogres - their objective - live captives of course! I had a bit of a think about additional rules to simulate the dark but in the end the table I was playing on proved small enough for them not to have a great effect on the game.

So the scene is set - the small hamlet of Herdwick lies huddled in the foothills of the Varg mountains. Reports of similar settlements that lie further along the lonely mountain pass being ransacked in the long winter nights have begun to filter down with terrified survivors, and talk of giant men from the North has spurred the commander of the local commander to install a garrison.

The villagers sleep uneasily as the local soldiery set a guard, wondering what the night will bring...

Turn 1

Golgfag narrowed his beady eyes as they swept over the flickering lights in the village below. Supplies were getting low and his belly was rumbling. At a grunted command his raiding party shambled down the slopes and into the small wood that bordered the settlement.

Monday 15 November 2010

The wolf that one hears is worse than the orc that one fears...

... and there's no missing this lot!

So finally finished Golgfag's Mercenary Ogres (minus Champion) and another vote of thanks to Leadasbestos of the LAF! They've been somewhat time consuming but a lot of fun!

Anyway here's the pics -

Thursday 11 November 2010

Leader of the Pack...

Well progress on Golgfag and his boys moves on slowly but surely.

Next up is Golgfag himself - here's the original background behind this regiment of renown -

The wars between the Goblins and Dwarfs had just begun when Golgfag and his Ogre band emerged out of the northern darkness. Golgfag was the chief of the Rutdrogg clan, and he saw the impending war as a good opportunity to gather loot and fresh meat. The Rutdroggs shambled out of their mountain homes and straight into the employ of Bogdan Legbreak, the chief of the Goblins of the northern Misty Mountains.

After a limited period of service Golgfag had taken part in several early actions of the war. The Rutdroggs proved themselves to be excellent troops, if somewhat undisciplined. One night after an especially long and intense drinking bout Glogfag and Bogdan, who had never liked each other anyway, fell to arguing. Within moments the whole Regiment was up and blood was flowing freely. By morning Golgfag's Regiment had fought its way out of the Goblin compound and taken to the woods.

Golgfag soon found employ again, however, this time fighting for the Dwarfs against his former allies. In this capacity he and his champion Grat'hud led a Dwarf party into the Goblin's stronghold and slew Bogdan in a bitter fight. Golgfag later established himself as one of the most adventurous leaders of the war and collected a great deal of gold, loot and captives before returning to the frozen north.

EQUIPMENT Armament - Two-handed mace. Armour - Shield, Mail Coats

BATTLECRY The Ogre language in bestial in the extreme, and not easily translated. A phonetic transcription would be something like, 'Gruugh aghhhhh aghhhh waaaaaa.' Experts claim to recognise some elements and offer the following broken translation. 'Remove yourselves from your current physical location, failure to comply with our request could result in severe physical discomfort of a kind which could seriously curtail your social life.' Recent scholarship has shed new light on this strange cry. It now appears to mean, 'I get so angry when I don't have a cooked breakfast.'

DEEDS The most popular stiory about Golgfag concerns the time that he was captured by the Dwarfs. He was imprisoned in the famous Black Hole of Raven's Hold, along with several dozen assorted goblinoids. Crammed into a tiny space, with no air and hardly enough room to breath, the Dwarfs expected the occupants to die. However when they opened teh door the following morning the Dwarf jailers were aghast to see Golgfag chewing on the remains of the last Goblin. The cell was otherwise empty, although there was good deal of gore and blood on the floor. The Dwarf leader was so awed by this feat that he ordered Golgfag to be taken a long, long way away and released.

SHIELD Each Ogre carries a large round shield, this is strapped to his back in combat so as to enable him to swing the mighty war mace.

UNIFORMS Rutdroggs have long tunics down to the knee, with heavy breeches and boots. Over their tunics they wear mail armour, and over their backs they have long furry cloaks. Their skin coloration is swarthy, with longish black or grey hair.

I've carried on with the Rutdrogg/Red Wolf theme on the shields - very enjoyable painting in different tones of one colour and they seem to be turning out alright. Just got to think of something suitably impressive/vulgar/funny/brutish to go on their banner...


Wednesday 10 November 2010

It'll be all Wight on the night....

Apologies for the terrible pun!

So more skiving off from the Orc's Drift project - seems a bit daunting at the moment when my painting time keeps getting eroded by work and involuntary evening naps!

To get the ball rolling again I've been treating myself by painting some minis I've had a while now and here we have a terrible triumvirate of tortured and tatterdemalion teratisms to add to the Baron's band of Lost Souls! The eagle-eyed among you will recognise them as the rather fine Barrow-Wights from the old Citadel Lord of the Rings range.