Apologies for the delay by the way - been fighting off some horrible Outer Mongolian Death Flu - well flu at any rate!
Von Damne's Dependables
CP's rolled - 8
Bluch Norress gestured forward with his great lance and his elite warriors, the Sons of Thunder, cantered forward. Alongside them came the rest of his clansmen, ready to deny the river bank to the enemy. His steely gaze alone was worth fifty spears - the undead horde shambling towards him couldn't know fear. But they should...
Norress' Lancers secure the river bank, although one unit lags behind having crapped out on a danger roll for movement. Again the Troll Slayers spurred themselves on to keep up with the advancing battle line.
Over on the right the Thunderers continued their advance to bring the ford within range of their muskets. Although the bellows of the approaching Trolls rang loud in their ears, the creatures remained too distant for an effective shot.
Arkneld Beulenegger sat back in his saddle, preening himself in the sun almost as much as Lavister, his Griffin mount was. The stench and howling cries of the approaching horde phased him not and he coolly surveyed the battlefield. Seeing the ford was almost secured by the approaching column of Foot and Arquebusiers, Beulenegger spurred his mount across the river.
"Faster Lavister, for soon we shall drive the enemy before us and hear their lamentations!"
With an ambush set, the enemy's flank threatened by Arkneld and the ford almost zeroed in by the Thunderers and Handgunners, Von Damne's defense was looking in good shape...
CP's rolled - 7
Shreevan Zeegal looked on in satisfaction as his army surged forward, as though belched from the belly of a beast. Though they were heading into deadly ground - into the teeth of the Dwarven muskets - the evil Warlord was satisfied that the ford would soon be under siege...
The skeleton horsemen advance to meet Norress' lancers, quickly followed by the baying hounds, who go into overdrive to keep pace.
To their left, the rest of the undead shamble forward in the form of the skeleton archers.
Halting as one in their uncanny way, the long dead soldiers drew back their rotting bowstrings and let loose a volley of black arrows at one of the units of Norress's lancers.
Horses and men cried out alike as feathered death rained down about them. Then suddenly, as one, they turned and fled the killing field.
(In the rules archers can elect to use volley fire - they roll three dice to hit and for damage, pick best one and if the shot is successful the target is driven back a distance equal to the difference in the combat result, rather than damaged or disordered)
The second unit of skeleton archers misjudged the range and their volley fell harmlessly into the river.
Von Damnes' Dependables
CP's rolled - 7
Count Johann Von Damne's chest swelled with pride as his trusty old dependables - his household troopers who formed the backbone of the state's defenses - marched ever onward in their serried ranks. The shrill blare of hunting horns, fife and drum made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end in exhilaration and anticipation - there would be good sport to be had today. Bloodsport in fact...
Sergeants busied themselves up and down the line and orders were barked out. With the well drilled discipline of the parade square the Handgunners moved along the hillside, leaving space for a unit of Thunderers to join them in their vantage point over the ford. Below them the remaining Dwarfs moved across to all the Human state troopers to begin to fan out into their thin red and green line across the ford.
CP's rolled - 8 CP's
Zeegal spurred his terrible mount onwards, keeping pace with the snarling Half Orcs to his left. The puny horsemen keeping guard along the river bank were already marked for death - his Undead Cavalry would see to that. A low rumble of mocking laughter escaped the skull-like visage of his great helm. Today you die, he thought to himself as he watched the prancing of the Human General, marked by the playful glint of sunlight on his golden armour...
Zeegal rides alongside the advancing Half Orc column, while behind them the Giant becomes completely engrossed with a small itch on his toe - remaining stationary for another turn.
Undeterred by the deep and languorous waters of the river, the Skeleton Horse wade impassively in, halting just before the other bank, lined as it is with bright shields and keen lances.
Behind them the hounds bound along with a lucky danger roll of 7", the scent of man and horse flesh mingling tantalising in the breeze.
At the edge of the ford the Trolls, confused by the sudden flight of the Griffin, split their ranks. The foremost splash into the shallows while those behind turn to face the new threat.
The skeleton archers again march forward, halt and bend the yew of their ancient bows with unseen sinews. Norress and his horsemen again were the target, though this time the doughty warriors steel themselves against the oncoming hail of arrows, refusing to be dislodged from their position. The volley directed against the Troll Slayers fell short however.
Von Damne's Dependables
CP's rolled - 6
Von Damne gave the order and slowly but surely his army began to move in a great, almost balletic display of drill and discipline. The line would hold, the ford would not be given up, there would be no retreat, no surrender...
The great snaking column of spearmen and halberdiers began to undergo a transformation. Its head detached itself as the Elven spears, resplendent in the sun in their glittering scale mail, moved forward to block the mouth of the ford. The Halberdiers came to a halt, preparing themselves for the maneuvres that would see them secure the Elves' flanks.
With much clashing of axe blades and bellowing of war cries, the Troll Slayers continued their advance, eager to get to grips with the monstrous adversaries they had spied across the river.
Their cries were echoed by those of Norress' horsemen as they thundered into the Skeleton Horse wallowing in the bend of the river. The gap in the line caused by their headlong charge was quickly filled by the third unit of lancers, who had finally cajoled their panicky horses back towards the enemy.
Lances crashed home, timbers shivered and age-old breast plates smashed asunder. The impact of the Lancers charge rippled through the Undead ranks, throwing them into disorder.
The unit of Lancers who charged elected to take a danger roll to ascertain how far they would move in their charge. If I have this correct, this meant that they could ignore the movement penalty of the river (DV2 or 2 CP's to move in/out/through the river) by rolling the number of dice equivalent to the river's DV (Defensive Value) along with their own dice for the danger roll, and taking the lowest score. Having gone for a danger roll this also meant they didn't have to spend a CP to overcome the Fear the skeletons cause, and being cavalry with the Impact ability they didn't need to spend a CP to initiate a melee as this happens automatically with units with that ability.
I changed the Undead's abilities here a lttle too - because the lancers won their melee rather convincingly (the difference in Combat rolls was 10!) and also possess the Drive Back ability, this would have meant the Undead Horsemen would have to flee 10". This didn't feel right for Undead, which I'm used to being immune to psychology from WFB, so I also gave them the steadfast ability - immune to Drive Back and Beat Back (the infantry version of Drive Back). Thus did the Undead Horse become disordered.
"To hell with this..."
The great hero roared and together they soared over the startled enemy ranks. The great beast came to ground in a flurry of wings and claws to the rear of the Skeleton archers. Arkneld again leaned forward to whisper in his faithful steed's ear,
"They don't bleed old friend, but we can kill them..."
Meanwhile the complex manoeuvring within the Alliance lines continued, as the Handgunners and Thunderers widened their lines to allow a second unit to take up position on the hill top.
CP's rolled - 7
With the threat of the Griffin gone, the Trolls once more turned their attention to their advance across the ford. The Half Orc column followed up in their wake.
Zeegal watched Arkneld's flight of fury with an interested eye. He noticed that the beast's flight had not escaped the Giant's notice either and settled back in his saddle to enjoy the spectacle of this clash of the titans.
With a roar, the Giant roused himself from his inspection of his big toenail and loped over to Beulenegger and his mount. A flash of fear passed across the hero's face as the Giant hefted its huge club and dealt a brutal blow. The Griffin staggered under the impact, letting out a shriek of pain. One wing hung limply and the stricken monster held aloft its ruined front paw in agony.
This was an interesting little encounter! In hindsight I should have been a bit more cautious or used the Monstrous Creature's Impact ability to initiate a melee with the Skeleton Archers for free. However, I wanted to see how tough it was - or how good at killing monsters the Giant was...
The Griffin took the risk of landing within the Giant's move range, although the Giant was lucky to only spend one CP on a danger roll for movement - and then rolled a sufficient amount to bring him into contact. There was a difference of 4 between the two combat results which means that the Griffin had to roll 4 D6 to ascertain whether it had survived. A roll of 13 or more would have killed it (note that any 6's "explode" and mean another die has to be rolled!). Luckily I rolled a combined score of 12! However, this means that the Griffin receives 4 damage points which I'll have to spend 4 CP's on next turn to get rid of and return the Griffin to full operational capabilities...
The skeleton archers again loosed their arrows at the Empire lines - this time targeting the Elf spearmen. Their ranks fell into disorder as Elves fell clutching their wounds.
Over in the swirling melee in the shallows of the river, the Skeleton Horsemen rallied themselves (cost of 1 CP) removing the disordered token that had been inflicted by the Lancers.