Sunday 17 November 2013

Clean Up in Eilnein

Ajax Van Ish met the piercing gaze of the Elven Sorceress with a hard stare of his own. The weariness of five days on the road was barely detectable in the Count's grim countenance as he thanked his new ally.

"Your assistance is greatly appreciated my Lady. The heretics we track are not far but travel in strength. If we are to rescue our countrymen, or avenge them... our best chance is to surprise them in the Woods of Eilnein."

"Our watchers have observed closely the progress of your enemy. Now that they have dared defile the sanctity of our domain we share a common foe. Their pestilence must not be allowed to corrupt this sacred realm."

Lenor Ambypure closed her eyes and shuddered at the thought of the presence of Nurgle's followers despoiling the woods. She rose from the table in one fluid motion and gestured towards the trees that surrounded the glade in which the small council of war had met,

"Count Van Ish, my Gladewatchers will direct your soldiers to a place of ambush. Together we will cleanse this stain from Eilnein."

In the gloom of the dawn, Man and Elf  crept stealthily to their positions. Harnesses were tightened, weapons checked and bow strings strung. The forest road lay still, a darkened artery upon which a terrible infection travelled inexorably on...

Welcome folks to another battle report - this time between a desperate Alliance of Men and Wood Elves and the dread forces of Nurgle that we played some weeks ago. This was also the first time I went down to my local gaming club, York Wargames Society - a great venue and friendly club that I hope to spend much more time at, real life permitting...

Gaj graced us with his convivial presence thanks to a business trip to York and Warlord Paul kindly stepped in as GM. Setting up was slightly unusual as Paul suggested I record my deployment on a sketch map to simulate my forces waiting in ambush. So it was left to Gaj to assemble his column of Chaotics and human prisoners on the road, nervously eyeing the trees!

The Nurgle column shambles along the forest road after a happy few week's of raiding and pillaging.

Ere, Gutrot - you 'eard them tales aven't you? It's always the buggerz at the back wot cops it furst...
Chaos Goblin warriors lead the order of march.. Behind them comes the heavy tread of a unit of Chaos Warriors, followed closely by their dread leader and his three pet Trolls. A unit of Chaos Goblin archers bickers ahead of the unfortunates that have been taken prisoner - best not to linger too long on their fate... The vanguard is led by the Chaos Dwarves and their infernal Bazuka while a second mob of Chaos Goblin archers brings up the rear.

Unseen eyes mark their progress and wait...

I know you can smell them already but wait till you see the reds of their eyes boys...

... until the lead elements of the Chaos army have left the cover of the hedges and strayed into the more open ground of a hilly glade - one of the few open spaces in the woods of Eilnein.

Arrows hiss from the undergrowth, seemingly coming from all directions as hidden units open up on the Chaos Goblin archers from the left and right flanks. The sudden attack, terrifying in its deadliness, panics the foul creatures and they begin streaming through the woods in search of safety.

The Goblin warriors at the head of the column also come under sustained bowfire from the front and despite heavy losses, stand their ground, more than aware of the presence of their masters close behind.

Ahead of them a unit of Pikemen break from their hidden positions, advancing on the road to cut off the Chaos forces escape route.

 Vaguely aware of dim shapes in the darkness, the Goblins continue to flee!

Ee sed the Wood just came alive and took 'im!
Recovering from the initial shock, the Nurgle forces begins to react to the ambush. The Chaos warriors and Trolls advance, whilst the Chaos Dwarves wheel left to counter the perceived threat from that direction. The rest of the column remains tied up in the bottle neck that the forest road has now become.

The Pikemen continue their advance in the face of taunts and abuse from the Goblins! Taunts which are soon silenced by several murderous volleys of arrows from yet another unseen unit of Elf archers.

Come on then Pinkies... Aargh!
The way out is almost sealed...

More assailants make their presence known - a small Elven Kinband hefts their double-handed swords and advances on the right flank.

The foul Chaos Sorcerer strides amongst his cowering captives, suddenly aware of the presence of two other Magic Users on the field of battle.

Fear not miserable wretches - your work exchange program in the Chaos Wastes will not be affected by the current trun of events...

The very woods themselves come alive as Pinethresh, a mighty Treeman discards his leafy disguise and marches on the despoilers.

I hate going North - somehow feels like you're uphill...
With him bound the creatures of the woods and their handlers, intent on halting the Chaos Warriors' advance.

Wildcat, hound and bear alike unite in their hatred of those that would invade their woodland home.

The Animals of Farthing Wood were not happy.

Mystyr Mussel, a powerful wizard with slightly dubious  interests in Necromancy and Demonology moves forward to better target the foe with his fearsome Magicks.

On the left flank a unit of Forresters reveal themselves rejoicing at their handiwork as the Goblins continue to flee.

Magic arcs out from the undergrowth as Ariel attempts a leg breaking spell on Chaos General's steed. The spell fails and the Chaos Lord roars in fury as he directs his Trolls towards the tree line on his left flank. Convinced that his enemy lies that way he advances to exact his revenge.

Unable to spy any targets amongst the trees, the Chaos Dwarf Bazuka team fires their weapon in the hope of flushing the ambushers out. The round screams through the air, exploding near the noble Zoat, Dhomesthos. The formidable creature lets out a bellow of pain as shrapnel tears through his tough hide.

Over on the right, frustrated at the lack of success of the several minor spells he has cast, Mystyr Mussell turns to the Dark Arts. Muttering forbidden incantations and words of summoning a demonic presence begins to form before him. Beads of sweat break out on the magician's brow as he struggles to form the words of control and tendrils of ethereal mist snake threateningly toward him...

The Power of Christ compels you! the Power of Christ compels you!
The hail of arrows cease but the surviving Chaos Goblin warriors have to meet a new threat head on as the Pikemen charge forwards. Their champion, Dieter Junt lays about him, gladly accepting the Goblin leader's challenge. Despite mounting casualties the Goblins refuse to break.

Count Ajax Van Ish finally takes the field with his retinue of knights. They emerge from the same copse as the Pikemen and advance towards the head of the Chaotic column - and the ragged line of human prisoners.

The trap now complete, Ariel Firbreeze, Captain of the Wood Elf elite Guard leads his archers out of their hiding places to seek new targets.

The Trolls continue their rampage through the wood.

 The wounded Zoat, his position revealed, falls back.

On the right flank, ignoring whatever eldritch events were overtaking Mussell, the Elven Kinband and a unit of Scouts advance on the Chaos Dwarves as they attempt to move up in support of the beleaguered advance units.

Lenor Ambypure steps forward to assist the Zoat. Before her the second unit of Gladewatchers charges bravely into combat with the Trolls - a desperate gambit ending in the massacre of the whole unit.

Wood Elf forces manoeuvre ready for a charge on the right.

Pinethresh and the animal handlers meet with the elite of the Chaos army on top of a low rise. The hounds and bear are mercilessly hacked down - the Treeman holds the line.

More Goblins are impaled by the forest of pikes arrayed against them. One particular soldier in the back ranks earns renown for his third kill! Again the Goblins refuse to break and even begin to threaten to block Van Ish's line of advance as they are pushed back again.

With the demise of the Gladewatchers, Lenor casts hammerhand on herself and charges the Trolls - painfully aware that escape would be impossible. The Zoat, still shaken by the Bazuka blast, loses its nerve and flees back to the silent depths of the forest. Unshaken, Lenor even manages to score a wound and pushes the Trolls back!

Mystyr's struggle with the demonic entity he sought to control ends in failure. Wreaths of mist snake down his throat and nostrils and a terrible transformation takes place.

The now desiccated husk of the wizard is possessed by the demon, and the newly formed, wraith-like creature casts its eyes on the new plane of reality it now finds itself on!

This was a great bit of GM'ing from Paul - as I completely fumbled my magic saving throw (needed to bring the demon under control and so gain access to any Level 1 or 2 spell in the book!) with a double 6 meant that something nasty had to happen. With my Wizard now possessed, control of him, and all his spells, passes to Gaj, who then promptly spent all his remaining magic points raising a large unit of skeletons (I told you he 'd been dabbling in Necromancy!) in the middle of my ambushing units on the right flank...

At the sight of such terrible apparitions, the Gladewatchers fade away into the trees, still intent on being a thorn in the side of the Chaotics bringing up the rear of the column.

The Wild cats and their handler have second thoughts though and seek the safety of the glades once more.

The Bear and Hound handlers fall with their charges but Pinethresh crushes another warrior. The titanic struggle hangs in the balance...

Count Van Ish continues his advance, finally bypassing the melee between the Goblins and Pikemen. The path is now open for a glorious charge to rescue the townsfolk!

A bird's eye view shows the confused series of combats that the ambush has deteriorated into! At the top of the table the Chaos Goblin warriors still refuse to break against the overwhelming odds of the Pikemen. Van Ish stands poised to rescue the prisoners, amongst whom a foul Sorcerer of Nurgle lurks. The Wood Elf Guards stand ready to take on the Chaos Warriors should Pinethresh fall, or assist the human Knights. Behind the confused tangle of prisoners the Chaos Dwarves, having seen off the Wood Elf Kinband (now fleeing through the woods bottom right) are now engaged with the Gladewatchers. Behind them, the newly raised skeletons advance towards the centre. The Trolls and Chaos General now find themselves somewhat isolated after their wild goose chase through the woods - having killed Lenor Ambypure and seen off the Zoat. A small unit of Human Forresters skulk in the woods at the bottom left, looking for a few potshots against the Chaos Dwarf Bazuka team. Finally bringing up the rear is the unit of Goblin archers who have still to join the fray!

As the battle reaches a climax, the Elves try to press home their attack. The Gladewatchers struggle with the Chaos Dwarves to no avail.

Pinethresh pulps another warrior, but the fell creatures refuse to be routed...

Dieter Junt and his pikemen finally see off the Goblin warriors...

Count Van Ish issues the order to charge...

Count Ajax Van Ish crested the rise, his retinue arrayed about him in all their finery. The creak of the horse's tack, the jingle of mail against plate armour and the glint of the early morning sun on cold steel - all these things he took in and more. His steed surged powerfully beneath him and a rush of exhilaration swept over him as his trumpeter began to sound the charge.

And yet something wasn't right. The clear clarion call of the trumpet suddenly faltered and was strangled. A strange miasma rose from the midst of the terrified villagers and snaked its way towards the brave knights. With it came a terrible cackling from the decayed ruin of the Chaos Sorcerer's throat. The Knights' advance faltered as they were engulfed by the fetid cloud. Armour once burnished to a brilliant finish became tarnished and blackened. Fastenings and buckles quickly corroded and fell away.

What emerged from that corrosive cloud was a shadow of the once proud troop of Knights. Weaponless and defrocked of their gleaming armour, Van Ish and his men struggled to control their horses. In horror, the Count realised that victory had been snatched from him by means most foul and underhand.

Many an abomination had been put to the sword or arrow today, but the steady tramp of the skeleton warriors and the bellowing of Trolls in the near distance were enough to convince Van Ish that his cause was lost. It was by no means a certainty that his Elven Allies would carry the day in the face of such odds, especially as the malodorous column seemed to be pulling back. Trying to ignore the desperate pleas of the townsfolk he had come to rescue , Count Ajax turned with heavy heart.

Thanks again to Gaj for being a most entertaining adversary - love your immersive play style ; )
Thanks also to Paul - I've long fancied trying out a scenario involving hidden movement and sketch maps. The damnation of Mystyr Mussel was a genius touch too - don't think I've laughed so much during a game of 3rd ed!


  1. Awesome Battle report! Sounds like you had a great time. I like the use of the hidden deployment rules!

    1. Thanks Mouse - certainly was a blast. The hidden deployment rules were great fun and certainly produced a few puzzled looks from onlookers trying to work out what was going on!

  2. Wow! A hell of a battle and great write-up. Looks like you used everything but the kitchen sink too. Brilliant stuff.

    1. Damn - I knew we forgot something!

      Glad you enjoyed it Gareth.

  3. You have surpassed yourself this time Thantsants! A fantastic narrative, well done for bringing it to life so well.

    Thanks to both players for being such a pleasure to GM for and may I echo the message of thanks to the York Wargaming Society also.

    Over to you Gaj!

    1. Most kind of you to say Paul and thanks again for some fine GM'ing!

  4. Hah - beat me to it!

    By about a month :D

    But, Mr T - you have clearly been practicing your pun-fu! A rich and as yet untapped vein of punnery executed perfectly - you've set the bar very, very high!

    But, let me echo your thanks - I said it then, I'll say it now and I'll say it again when I get to it on my blog - that was the best game of warhammer I've ever played. The perfect model of what oldhammer is all about - well worth the 266 miles to York! I'm trying to blag more business in the region now...

    Let all readers see this as the model game! This is the thing you're striving for! Only made possible, of course, by a responsible and (very) capable GM. Get one as soon as you can!

    So, thanks, Thantsants and W. Paul - looking forward to returning the favour one day.

    1. Ha - I was beginning to get worried you might beat me to it! Looking forward to reading your version of events.

      Actually I should thank you for the inspiration for my pun foolery - your excellent work with Rogaine and other household product inspired names from the River Chai report - that and your Nurgle boys made a terrible mess of the table!

      I'd have to agree while we're in superlative mode that this was the most enjoyable game I've had to date - thanks again to both of you.

      Here's to the continued economic revival and increased business opportunities for you in North Yorkshire ; )

      Mind you I hear it's nice down your way too if I can persuade the family to let me disappear for a day should we ever bob down for a long weekend's holidaying...

  5. Love these Oldhammer scenarios. Great narrative and it looked like a blast to play.