This was all the brain child of James over at Realm of Chaos 80's and worked a treat - especially the timed turns! Check out his excellent article on GM'ing the game. The basic premise was that we each brought along a unit of baddies and a unit of goodies which were balanced in terms of points. I was very happy to be given command of the baddies and must congratulate my team on their assault of Far Corfe. Well done to Steve Casey and his team of goodies for a sterling defence!
All great games need a story and this was no exception. Rather than mangle it my self here's the background James wrote to set the scene for the game:
Far Corfe was once a thriving economic centre with a wealthy and tasteful artisan class keen to patronise the arts. The key to their success? The humble wool trade. The lolling, grassy hills that surround the town could easily sustain thousands of sheep and the countryside was once awash with numerous little farmsteads specialising in this area. The town's location, built on a crossroads to Altdorf, Erzstadt and Middenheim, also helped, as it was easy to transport goods to and from the rivers that were the pathways of the Empire.
But the town has been in decline for over eighty years. New markets and cheaper produce from Kislev reduced the profitability of wool and though still worthwhile, the industry is not what it was. Nowadays, if you ask the average peasant in the street across the Old World about Far Corfe, they would probably speak about the 'Grand Recreation' rather than its former role as the hub of the wool trade.
Some two hundred years ago, the chief of the Airyaxe Wound tribe, Todge-Dropper the Terrible, unleashed a swarm of orc and goblin raiders against the defences of Far Corfe. Legend said that the previous winter had been so harsh in their mountain fastness, that even the warmest undergarments could do little to ward off the evils of frostbite. Swearing appalling oaths of violence on the altar of Mork, Todge-Dropper set out to destroy Far Corfe and claim their enormous stores of warm, fluffy wool for himself.
As all schoolboy students of history can tell you, Todge-Dropper was defeated and Far Corfe was saved in once of the most remarkable battles in history. Due to a series of remarkable coincidences, field armies of men, dwarfs, gnomes, halflings, wood, sea and high elves were all in the immediate area when Todge-Dropper launched his poorly timed assault.
Dick Fitz Inwell, leader of the Far Corfe militia, couldn't believe his eyes when rank after rank of elite fighting men marched up the road towards the townwalls within hours of him sending out the call to arms. Bjorn Whiffabigun, the dwarf mercenary captain was the first to arrive. Swiftly followed by a combined elvish force lead by the sorceress Pyria Sweetcherry. Their timely arrival meant that Todge-Dropper's vanguard were beaten back and Far Corfe was able to re-enforce itself considerably. Eventually, Todge-Dropper's forces were crushed on the wooden walls of the town, though the orc leader's body was never found.
So remarkable was the victory, that the nations of those involved continued to celebrate it years after the final survivor had died. Every ten years, hundreds of warriors would arrive in the town, from all over the Old World, for a week long festival of feasting and re-enactment. Local tribesmen were employed to dress up as Todge-Dropper's legions and a 'Grand Recreation' was fought (using safety weapons) to the delight of the adoring crowds.
Since the town's decline, the Recreation has become less and less well attended. Though all of the nations involved still send token units of troops. Interest in the spectacle is waning. Mayor Haywood Jablomi, the current ruler of the town, is now faced with being the last leader to organise the event. This year's low key celebration will be the last of the 'Recreations'.
But unbeknown to Jablomi, or the crowds that are forming inside the town, this year's event is soon to spiral out of control. For the winter has been long and harsh....
And something is coming...
That something was Keefe Bullockchopper! Again I'll let James tell you all about him -
The halflings of Pistdorf have long been a insular bunch. The more adventurous sons of the village would wander no further than the bars and restuarants of Far Corfe, happy to ply their cooking trade away and steal glorious helpings from the plates of the careless.
That something was Keefe Bullockchopper! Again I'll let James tell you all about him -
|Picture courtesy of James - Orlygg|
However, some halflings meddle too deeply with the dark magics of cookery and can invoke horrors far worse than burnt pastry on to the mortal plane. History doesn't name the halfling cook who invented 'pub-quiz pie' but the consequences of his actions were dire for his adopted home of Far Corfe.
It was baked in a magic oven for the sole purpose of providing it's consumer with an unbridled command of general knowledge just at the right moment, a moment like when your team is ten points down to the Bogenhafen Barrelsmashers and you have just picked a round of questions about Tilea's minor roads.
Sadly, the 'pub-quiz pie' was stolen by a wandering giant the morning of a particularly crucial mid-league quiz night when a careless hobbit popped out for a quick five course meal. Keef Bullockchopper, a previously genial giant, was suddenly equipped with a mind that could unlock the very secrets of the universe. What did he do with this unbridled power?
He decided to rule the world with an iron fist.
Far Corfe was to be his first conquest.
For my write up of the momentous events that were to unfold, I've tried to include as much of the background that my fellow players came up with for their units. However, my memory is patchy at the best of times and most of what I've included is what folk posted up on Facebook to introduce their units. If I've missed anything out any of you wanted to include or forgotten the name of your champion or unit, let me know and I'll edit it in! Likewise if I've got any of the events slightly wrong.
In Defence of Far Corfe
And so on a cold March morning, with the pale winter sun rising behind him, Bullockchopper cast his newly imperious gaze over the small settlement of Far Corfe. Behind him came the sounds of his new found allies forming up in their battle lines - a motley alliance of evil creatures coaxed out of the chill winds of their mountain fastnesses and bent to his new found iron will.
His eye was caught by a flurry of movement within the village's palisade. Pennants and banners fluttered in the breeze and soldiery of all manner of description could be seen hurriedly preparing their defenses. A contemptuous smile turned up the corners of a mouth once more accustomed to affability. Far Corfe was merely the first step of many to greatness for Bullockchopper and none who stood in his way would live to tell the tale.
A fellow Giant lumbered into position on Keefe's left and the harsh bark of the diminutive Black Orc sergeant, Little Willy's voice cut through the morning air, as he shoved his Black Orcs into line. Katyah Bolokov's Hobgoblins looked on in barely concealed disdain from their well ordered ranks although several nervous glances were cast towards the skeletal cavalry formed up on their left. From the end of the line came the arrogant voices and preening of a regiment of Dark Elves known as the All Seeing Eye, eager to satiate their murderous lust. Woan Doomspire, their leader winked his all seeing eye lasciviously at the defenders of Far Corfe.
"What 'appens if you interfere with Nakkers!?"
"Blind if you do! Blind if you don't!"
Sniggers came from the Blockchoppa Boys, formed up next to them, along with suggestions of what their Orcish brothers could do with their nakkers. Mention was also made of how the Blockchoppas could live up to their name and solve the Double Blind Boys' problems of having any nakkers to be interfered with at all.
A quieter but far more sinister battle cry came from Roberto Krieger and his skeletal Riders of the Storm. Cradling the skull of his erstwhile band leader, Jim, son of Morris, Krieger's voice rang out above the dusty whisper of his skeleton warriors,
"This is the End. My only friend the End..."
Silently, the hollow eyes of Lord Roth and his undead knights of Nevermoor looked on impassively as the Orcs whipped themselves into a frenzy.
At the far end of the line came the guttural shouts and bellows of Ogres and Minotaurs.
Suddenly a great shadow was cast across the evil ranks as a great winged shape rose up from the low hill to the east of Far Corfe, almost blotting the sun. Even Bullockchopper himself experienced a fleeting moment of inadequacy and anxiety at the size of the great Wyrm swooping towards his
For reasons beyond all mortal ken, Antonack the Unparalleled had come to the aid of Far Corfe.
Then the sky darkened a second time as the defenders let fly a hail of arrows and shot. Bullockchopper gritted his teeth and weathered the storm of iron and yet one missile found its mark, wounding the Giant. Grimacing in pain, he waved on his troops while ducking back behind the low mound he had stood on so imperiously mere moments before. Discretion was, for now, definitely the better part of valour.
Out on the extreme right flank, Bullend and his fellow Ogre officer, Ol' One-eye drove their mixed unit of Minotaurs and Ogres on towards the village, promising tastier treats in the form of Elf and horse flesh to keep their unruly charges from snacking on the small flock of sheep that lay in their way.
However, the feisty shepherdess, Blo Peep, completely unconcerned for her flock's safety, drove the unfortunate sheep straight into the path of the hulking monsters in an attempt to gain some time for the gallant defenders to draw up their battle lines.
Meanwhile a cunning plan had taken form in Bullockchopper's pie-enhanced mind. Beady eyes flicked from the mound he was now hiding behind and a likely looking horse and cart that lay in one of the fields outside the village. He bellowed an order to the Orcs to bring the cart back to him - what better way to enter Far Corfe than thundering through its defensive palisade and ploughing through its defenders!
However, the Druids who owned the cart had other ideas. In an unusually selfless act they turned the wagon towards the oncoming horde and gave the panicked horse a good slap on its rump. Bullockchopper's eyes widened in anticipation as he watched his prize draw nearer until a sudden flash of flame distracted him. A volley of burning arrows flashed from the bows of Lumpen Cock's elite Halfling archers towards the careening cart. Their aim was true and only then did the extent of the Druids' sacrifice become clear for the cart had been stuffed to the gunnels with barrels of magically brewed and incredibly alcoholic hooch. Seconds later the air was split asunder with a dull whump as the fumes given off by the payload of Brewer's Drop went up in flames. The explosion that followed rocked the very ground.
As the smoke cleared, the devastation became apparent. Orcs died in their droves and scores of Undead troops once more succumbed to Death's cold embrace. Riders struggled to keep control of their mounts across the battlefield. The Elven cavalry managed to master their wide-eyed steeds but some vestige of equine instinct sent the Death Riders clattering away from the towering column of smoke and fire.
The ground shook a second time as Anonack himself pounced on Galrotha's Trolls. The Gorgon's gaze troubled the great beast not and several Trolls fell as his fiery breath licked through their shambling ranks. Perhaps thanks to their leader's ire or perhaps their innate stupidity, the Trolls stood their ground.
The crackle of hand gun fire added to the din of battle - shortly followed by bickering Dwarven voices debating the accuracy of their tactics in comparison to the original Battle of Far Corfe. FitzHugh Jeffingcock and his company of Durregar's Tigers had entered the fray. One of the Ogres rubbed a sore patch on his knee as a result of their gunnery.
With his plan in tatters, Bullockchopper decided that the time had come for decisive action. His army was being blown to tatters and an enormous Dragon threatened to devour one of his most powerful units. Complex equations and algorithms raced through his elephantine brain as he considered angles of take off from an elevated position, the air flight velocity of an unladen Giant and the kinetic force his own mass would exert on impact with a Dragon's cranium. Calculation done, he shouldered his club and set off up the mound in front of him at a brisk trot.
In all of the long aeons of his existence, Antonack had presumed himself to be have experienced all the world had to offer. In fact, the great Dragon had almost become weary of life so great was his boredom at the lack of novelty in his life. What happened next changed all that for Antonack, unparalleled among all Dragon-kind for he was to see a sight so unexpected that his lust for life was rekindled for a brief few moments.
Out of nowhere, Bullockchopper fell on the Wyrm like a thunderbolt, albeit a ginger headed, screaming thunderbolt with a bad case of halitosis. Their heads connected with an almighty crack and Bullockchopper roared a challenge before the concussion caught up with his nervous system,
"'Ave that ye great wing-ed Tallywhacker!"
Although Antonack was not physically wounded by this startling assault, his entire psyche was shaken to the core. Being headbutted by a flying Giant was not something he could ever have foreseen and the novelty of the experience had sent him back to the memories of his youth when he had once gamboled and played in a world newly born and full of possibilities.
Idly he swiped at the Trolls in front of him and ignored the furiously scowling Gorgon still trying to catch his eye but it just wasn't the same. He felt the urge to return to his younger days, to explore new places and see how the world had changed and master it anew. With that the venerable Dragon turned and lumbered away from the fray but sadly this new lease of life was not to be.
With his great teeth still bared in an inscrutable smile, Antonack was pursued by the gangling Trolls and savagely beaten to death. Thus fell Antonack, Unparalleled in life and now in the manner of his death,
The tide seemed to be turning for the forces of evil. Krieger picked himself up and shook the dirt from his robes. Lord Roth nodded solemnly at the Necromancer's order to join forces.
Krieger's sonorous voice spoke once more and a dozen skeletons reassembled themselves from the wreckage of the exploded cart.
The fleeing Death Riders managed to rally their unruly steeds, ready once more to advance upon the village.
Yet again did very earth tremble as Willie Effinstop finally dragged himself from his alcoholic stupor. Things had not gone well since he had decided to try and redeem himself for the unfortunate encounter he had had with a Bretonnian knight who had mistaken him for a Giant, In fact Willie had just suffered an unfortunate and extremely active growth spurt and certainly was not the Giant in question who had been rampaging through the countryside. Having been forced to kill or be killed, Willie had lived in exile in the mountains, hiding from questing knights and bounty hunters alike. By coming to the aid of Far Corfe he had hoped to clear his name but he hadn't reckoned on the presence of the Red Fury and their belligerent captain, the Golden Helmet. Drink had been his only solace so far - that and keeping out of the cocky Bretonnian's way which was no easy feat being over forty feet high.
It was not clear whether he was roused by the destruction of a year's supply of Brewer's Drop or the death cries of Antonack but nevertheless, Willie tottered dutifully forth. Lurching unsteadily, he lost his footing and staggered wildly towards the Budderdorf Gate, crushing several unlucky Dwarves and Elves and part of the fortifications they were defending. Things were going from bad to worse for the luckless Willie...
Back over on the right linguistic difficulties and Bretonnian arrogance were causing havoc in the defenders' battle lines. As the Elven cavalry wheeled their horses around, vying for the perfect position from which to launch their charge against the Minotaurs and Ogres they faced, the Golden Helmet, commander of the Red Fury, his own personal retinue of foot knights left the safety of the hedge-line. Ignoring the horrified cries of his allies (and the jeering of Berto El'end and his Tilean crossbowmen), the captain, standing proud amongst his men, led the advance, exhorting the flower of Bretonnian chivalry heroic deeds and a glorious death.
Those brave cries were strangled however as 'Ol One Eye left his comrades as they charged towards the mounted Elves. The Ogre champion chuckled throatily as he looked forward to deflowering the stunned Bretonnians.
Bullend led the charge against the Elven riders and after several rounds of combat and a brave fight, they broke and ran from the field of battle. Unable to restrain their blood greed the Minotaurs and Ogres pursued them and spent the rest of the afternoon festing on horse and Elf flesh.
Over on the left flank, the Dark Elves, Hobgoblins and Black Orcs sweated over their long route march, yet flinching not in the face of massed bow and crossbow fire.
With the entrance of Effingstop, the evil Giants took their cue to charge into Far Corfe's defenders. They slammed into Chip Cockhammer's Blasting Boyes and Gaylan Firefox's Floral Tribute Bande. Both Elves and Dwarves fell to their brutal attacks but the plucky defenders refused to budge.
Grantnackers boys finally got stuck in with elements of the Duregar's Tigers - much to the Dwarf reenactors' disgust. There was no way the original Tigers had entered close combat this early in the original battle and these Orcs weren't even from the Airyax Wound Tribe!
The rest of the unit had even more Orcs in the form of the Blockchoppas to deal with, further exacerbating the Dwarfs' rage at the inaccuracy of the unfolding events.
Bullockchopper's club had cleared a Giant-sized space on the other side of the palisade and he deftly stepped over it into Far Corfe itself. However, the expected sight of Elves running in all directions emitting girlish screams of terror never materialised. Gaylan, head florist of his Elven Floral Tribute Band had been inspired by the almost Elven level of arrogance exuding from the slim figure of Iva Sweetcherry, first lady of Far Corfe and primadonna without compare! Haywood Jablomi, the village's mayor had also shrugged off his usual indecisiveness and exerted bolstering influence on the hard pressed defenders.
With a grim nod of satisfaction from Durregar's Tigers that a historical inaccuracy had been righted, the Bretonnians fled from the Ogre champion. With Berto El'end's Tilean abuse and even some of the Tileans' crossbow bolts embedded in his men's throats, the Golden Helmet's courage went flaccid and he gloriously retreated at speed. On the other side of the gate, Chip Cockhammer was leading a spirited defense against his Giant attacker. With his Blasting Boyes cheering him on, the fearless Chip laid about the Giant's ankles, toppling him like a great fir.
FitzHugh's anger at the Orcs' refusal to stick to the script of the Battle of Far Corfe sent the errant Greenskins packing and the unfortunate Orcs found themselves fleeing in disarray.
With the splinter of more of Far Corfe's log palisades being crushed underfoot, Willie Effinstop wobbled round to pick a fight with Bullockchopper himself, accusing the smaller Giant of looking at him funny and knocking his gallon mug over. Thinking fast, Bullockchopper grabbed the Elf Champion and attempted to lob him into Effinstop's gaping maw in an attempt to distract his attacker. Unfortunately his aim was off and the agile Elf landed cat-like and unscathed!
After several rounds of trading head butts both Giants were on their last legs. However, Effinstop's great size advantage only hampered him in his effort to stoop low enough to knock heads with his relatively diminutive opponent. The immense drunk once more lost his balance and gave up the struggle against gravity a second time. Bullockchopper stepped deftly out of the way and escaped injury. Some of Gaylan's flowery acrobats were not so lucky...
Effinstop flailed as he went down like a sack of hippopotami, wiping out a large part of the newly animated skeleton warriors the necromancer had just raised to aid Bullockchopper against the Elves and Halflings who still defended the walls. Krieger rolled his eyes in despair at the prospect of having to rebuild his regiment anew and eyed the fresh corpse of the fallen Giant with envious eyes. Sadly his efforts in the battle had depleted his necromantic powers too much to attempt raising such a gargantuan zombie. As for Willie - at least now his troubles were over and he had given his life in service of others.
Berto El'end's wide grin was suddenly wiped off his face as the Golden Helmet fell to 'Ol One Eye's onslaught. There was now nothing between him and the rampaging Ogre champion and thoughts of home and how quickly he could get there suddenly occupied his mind.
Bullockchopper kept up his slaughter of the Elven swordsmen, laughing contemptuously at Gaylan's desperate and ineffectual attacks. The surviving skeletons clambered over dead Giant and palisade alike and joined their general inside the village.
Puzzled at the necromancer's seeming unwillingness to attack, Haywood Jablomi suddenly started at the disturbance in the ground before him. To his horror the turf and clod was rent asunder as five skeletal warriors hauled themselves from the worm's embrace before him. Krieger looked on with satisfaction that his plan was finally being realised.
Back over on the left, the first elements of Bullockchopper's evil alliance made it through the hail of crossbow bolts to the village walls. Little Willy let loose a terrible war cry and charged his big boys into their tormentors. Behind him the Dark Elves and Undead horsemen continued their long advance.
The Halflings, having gotten rid of all the targets in front of them with their expert archery (a most impressive tally!) now charged gallantly into Krieger's skeletal flank.
Things looked grim for the Earl Farkwart and his fellow defenders as the enemy closed in...
Berto El'End's Tilean crossbowmen died well in the face of 'Ol One Eye's onslaught, while the Durregar Tigers behind them formed a hasty firing squad, ready to receive the Ogre's charge once the Tileans met their inevitable doom.
Lord Roth swung his deadly Hell-honed blade but alas the ancient hero was too slow for the spritely and strangely warlike Halflings. He fell against their expert swordsmanship.
Having been forced to rout from the Durregar Tigers' deadly handgun fire, the remnants of the Orc horde crept back towards the village in single file.
'Ol One Eye, barely pausing to chew on a tasty Tilean morsel, crashed into the Dwarven firing line without injury - in their haste the Dwarves had no time to prepare their muskets.
Yet again the lithe form of Gaylan darted under the swingin club of Bullockchopper but again failed to wound the tough old Giant.
Haywood Jablomi looked round desperately for support but found himself alone and facing an excutioner's squad of skeletons. However, his desperate flailings saved him from death and he staggered back with gaping wounds ruining his once expensive robe.
The Troll Guard had been busy eating Dwarves and the last few were forced back from the palisade, Chip Cockhammer leading a desperate last stand - it looked as though the center might fall and Bullockchopper's forces would take the village...
With the left flank in danger of being overwhelmed by the trailing force of Dark Elves, Undead and Goblinoids it looked as though Bullockchopper was about to make his first step towards world domination...
His rival commander, Jablomi was fleeing the field with five skeleton warriors in hot pursuit...
And Bullockchopper fell.
Some say that the effects of the Pub-Quiz-Pie had finally worn off and Bullockchopper found himself restored to his amiable old self as the battle hung in the balance. Others (mainly Elves and their kind) assert that the great Gaylan Giantslayer claimed his first kill and earned his name. What is undisputed is that the Bullockchopper died with an Elf blade stuck in the only place Gaylan could reach - a place that certainly had the Giant living up to his name, albeit in a way he probably didn't expect.
With the fate of their general unbeknownst to them, the evil army fought on. The Halflings were pushed back and forced to rout by Krieger's Undead...
And the Dark Elves and Hobgoblins finally crashed into defenders of Far Corfe like a great wave.
Galrotha's Troll Guard was running amok in the ruins of the Buggerdorf Gate...
'Ol One Eye was preparing to finish off the Tigers...
and the axe was about to fall on gravely wounded Jablomi...
And yet, on the cusp of victory though they were, the Evil alliance crumbled. Without Bullockchoppers iron will holding them together, their old enmities and animosity resurfaced and as dusk fell Hobgoblin, Dark Elf and Undead alike vanished into the shadows, leaving the defenders of Far Corfe to count their blessings and their dead.