Saturday, 15 August 2015

Whatever happened to the Red Duke? A Warmaster 3,500 point-a-side Battle Report - part 5



With a roar and the sound of crashing trees, the Jabberslythe burst forth from the forest in a shower of splintered timbers.

Using Initiative the Jabberslythe then charged into the flank of the Skeleton Cavalry. Likewise the Harpies, thirsty for revenge and the odd bone or two to chew on, crashed into the unit of Skeleton Cavalry that had attacked them the previous turn.

Next, a unit of Gor's used their Initiative to charge the three units of Skeletons that it had fought the previous turn.

In the Beastmen centre, three units of Gor's and the Chaos Spawn then used their Initiative to charge the Crypt Horrors directly in front of them.

Command orders were then issued by the Beastmen leaders, starting with the Bray Shaman in the Summoning Circle. The Shaman attempted to move the Ungors in to assist the Harpies and Jabberslythe pounding on the Skeleton Cavalry, but unfortunately failed in getting his orders across. On the Beastmen right flank, the Wargor "Jim" successfully ordered the Shaggoth forward twice sending it into the brigade of Dire Wolves. "Jim" then managed to get the Chaos Giant to lumber forward twice but fumbled on moving it a third time. Not surprisingly the Chaos Giant goes wild! Heading for the nearest table edge, and fortunately just missing the Shaggoth, the stupid brute leaves the battle (Personal note: damn giants, this is the second time this has happened to me in a battle!).

After that spectacular mishap, the Centigor Hero then failed to order forward the Chaos Hounds! Malagor, frustrated by these mishaps, then ordered forward the Gor's at the Standing Stone into line with the Ungor Raiders. Malagor then followed this with ordering up the Bestigors to join them, thus re-establishing the Beastmen centre right battleline and protecting access to the Standing Stone.

Finally the Beastlord on the Tuskgor Chariot bellowed commands at the Minotaur's but also failed to get his orders through. With that, the Beastmen Command Phase came to an end and the heroes moved up to take better positions for the next turn.

The Ungor Raiders opened the shooting phase, firing on the Ghostly Legion and inflicting several hits but not enough to inflict any loss of a stand.

Malagor then attempted to cast Hunting for Gor. Despite being in the Summoning Circle he failed to cast the spell by 1 point! The Minotaur Shaman, obviously inspired by Malagor's spell prowess, then promptly failed to cast Power of the Herd. Meanwhile, the Gor Shaman in the Summoning Circle wanted to cast Chaos Bolt on the Skeleton Cavalry, but the linked melee in front of him meant that he couldn't cast the spell.

The combat phase opened with the Shaggoth against brigade of Dire Wolves. The Shaggoth managed to score 7 hits against the Dire Wolves, who lost two stands. In return, the Dire Wolves scored enough hits to Badly Wound the Shaggoth. Being Badly Wounded meant that the Shaggoth was now down to 4 hits and 4 attacks.

Two of the Dire Wolves were forced back as a result of loosing the first round of combat with the Shaggoth. The Shaggoth, eager for dried bonemeal, lumbered forward after them and a second round of combat ensued. This time the Shaggoth, still realing from its wounds, didn't fare as well with both sides scoring only two hits each. Having one outstanding hit, the Dire Wolves lost another stand resulting in a unit being destroyed and both sides falling back.

In the centre of the table, the three units of Gors and the Chaos Spawn took on the Crypt Horror unit. The Beastmen managed to score a massive 11 hits to the VC's single hit in response, whipping out the Crypt Horrors in their first round of combat.

Flushed with victory, the Gors and Chaos Spawn Advanced into Ghostly Legion. Due to the Advance, the Red Duke became Overrun and was forced to fall back to the brigade of Grave Guards behind the Ghostly Legion.

Checking again for Primal Fury, the Gors kept their senses and for a second time didn't go feral. The ensuing combat was fierce with both the Gors and Ghostly Legion loosing two stands each before both sides fell back a few centimetres each.

To the left of that engagement, a single unit of Gors faced down three units of Skeletons. The Primal Fury check showed no extra aggression from the Gors. The Gors managed to score 3 hits to the Skeletons 1 hit (after armour saves), but each of the Skeleton stands engaged in the combat were Supported by their comrades behind them. In the end, the Gors lost the combat, falling back 1cm.

The Skeletons lumbered after them hacking the Gors as they were forced backwards. During the pursuit, the Skeletons inflicted 4 hits on the Gors, who themselves gave as good as they got scoring 5 hits back on the Skeletons. Again however two Skeletons stands were supporting the fight. So in the end, even though the Gors did more damage, they lost the fight by one and fell back 1cm. Both sides lost a stand each as a result and a unit of Skeletons was finally ground into bonemeal and destroyed.

The Skeletons kept the pressure on the retreating Gors, pursing them a second time and inflicting 3 hits to the Gors 2 hits after armour saves. The supporting Skeleton stands again added to the pressure on the Gors and once again they fell back. This time 2cm. The Gors lost another stand and had two hits outstanding. The Skeletons also lost another stand and had one hit outstanding. As this was now the end of the third round of this engagement, it came to an temporary holt until the VC's turn.

Only one engagement was left to resolve. That of the Jabberslythe and Harpies against the Skeleton Cavalry at the Summoning Circle. The combat was linked and so resolved together. The Jabberslythe scored only 2 hits whilst the Harpies managed to score 3 hits. In response, the VC's scored 3 hits. So the Beastmen scored a total of 5 hits to the VC's 3 hits forcing the Skeleton Cavalry to retreat 1cm after the difference was divided amongst the units engaged in the combat.

The Beastmen pressed forward after their quarry...

...reengaging them and scoring a total of 9 hits to the Skeleton Cavalry's meagre 2 hits. As a result, the Skeleton Cavalry lost three stands for a single Harpy stand lost to the Beastmen. Again the Skeleton Cavalry were forced to retreat 2cm and had lost now a unit of Skeleton Cavalry.

The Beastmen pursued again for a third and final round of combat for this turn. This time the Skeleton Cavalry were in disarray, as they failed to land a blow against their foes, thanks to the Beastmen's armour saves. Another stand was lost to the Skeleton Cavalry and once again they had to retreat 1cm. Despite this retreat, the movement of the Skeleton Cavalry meant that they were still contacting the Harpies. So with these units still locked in combat, the fighting carried over to the next turn. With this the Beastmen players turn came to an end.

The final position after the combat at the Summoning Circle


The command phase for the VC's began with the Mounted Wight King attempting to move two units of Dire Wolves back into the fight with the Shaggoth. But, as had become all too familiar, the Red Duke's subordinate failed. Next the Lich succeeded in moving the Skeletons into the flank of the Gors.

It was then successful in ordering forward the Ghostly Legion forward to charge the Gors and Chaos Spawn.

Next the Lich called forward the depleted Crypt Horrors and succeeded in having them charge the Bestigors in the centre.

The Lich then succeeded in shoring up the Vampire Counts battleline by moving up a brigade of Skeletons .

Finally, its amazing run of successes with command rolls continued with the Lich Lord ordering the isolated single unit of Dire Wolves forward to attach the Shaggoth.

Its job more than adequately done, it passed command over to the next leader. The Lich on the VC right now took up the orders. This Lich ordered forward the Skeletons back into combat with the single stand of Gor's they fought last combat phase.

The Mounted Wight at the rear of the VC's battle line finally succeeded in ordering forward the brigade of Zombies and Grave Guard. However its second order failed. The Red Dukes displeasure would surely be felt by this spirit after the battle!

Now the Red Duke took command. Issuing a summons upon the Winds of Magic, the Terrorgheist took to the skies and soured overhead before circling and slamming down into the Bestigors.

Finally, the Red Duke ordered forward the unit of Dire Wargs into the woods on the Beastmen's right side. The plan was to then have them flank the Bestigors and hit them in the side. But the Winds of Magic must have been a maelstrom so close to the Standing Stone because the second order failed to reach the creatures. With this failure, the VC's Command Phase came to and end and the VC heroes moved to take better positions across the field of battle.

The Dire Wargs hide in the Woods awaiting the call to attack the Beastmen

The Lich Lord that had outshone its comrades during the Command Phase, successfully cast Raise Dead on the engagement involving the Ghostly Legion, Gors and Chaos Spawn.

The Lich on the right flank attempted, but failed, to cast Raise Dead also. As no other shooting units or spell casters were in range, the Shooting Phase came quickly to an end.

The VC Combat Phase opened with the Dire Wolves savaging the Shaggoth by scoring 3 hits on its protoplasmic hide whilst receiving only 1 hit in return.

The Shaggoth, badly wounded, fell back 2cm but the Dire Wolves pursued their quarry and continued to savage into it. The second round of this combat saw the Dire Wolves rip to pieces the Shaggoth by inflicting 3 more hits, whilst receiving only 2 hits on themselves. The Shaggoth, being badly wounded, only had a total of four hits and so was torn apart. The Dire Wolves losing a stand in the process.

The Skeleton Cavalry were now up against the Harpies at the Summoning Circle. As this was a continued melee from the previous turn, neither side received a charge bonus. The Skeleton Cavalry suffered 1 hit, but failed to inflict any hits against the Harpies. Once again the Skeletons were forced to fall back 1cm.

The Harpies swirled through the air and came back in for the kill. Pressing home their attack, they scored 2 hits more on the Skeleton Cavalry. This time however, they received 1 hit on themselves also. The Skeletons continued to fall back, loosing another stand. Yet again, the Harpies press home their attack for the last round of combat this turn. This time both sides score 1 hit on each other. As such, both sides fell back forming defensive lines as best as either could.

Next, the Terrorgheist dived in to attack the Bestigors, who also had been charged by the Crypt Horrors. Amazingly, after armour saves, the Bestigors hit back harder against the Terrorgheist and Crypt Horrors than they themselves suffered. Inflicting 5 hits on their enemies, they received 4 hits on themselves. Forcing back their foe, the Bestigors pursued.

During the pursuit, in their second round of combat, the Bestigor armour bore true, saving a hit and bringing the total number of hits to 1 hit each side. The fighting saw the last stand of the Crypt Horrors killed. But due to the draw both sides had to fall back, ending the fighting.

The two units of Skeletons facing down the one remaining stand of Gor's on the VC's right flank were the next to fight. This remaining stand of Gor's managed to inflict 2 hits on the Skeletons but was wiped out by the 3 hits scored in return. Being the first round of combat, the Skeletons were then able to Advance straight into the flank of the Chaos Spawn & Gor units, almost surrounding them.

This now brought the Skeletons into the main combat in the centre of the table. As such, it was now time to resolve what would prove to be the main fight of the battle.

On the Beastmen side, three units of Gors and a Chaos Spawn faced down four units of Ghostly Legion and four units of Skeletons. Many of the units on both sides had suffered heavy losses.

Doing a quick headcount of the losses incurred so far revealed that this would be a highly significant battle. If the Beastmen lost only two more units, they would be driven from the battlefield! Given that one of the Gor units was down to its last stand, and many of the Beastmen units were surrounded, things looked pretty grim for Malagor and the Beastlord!

The Chaos Spawn, having been charged, performed a Stand and Shoot attack at the Ghostly Legion unit directly in front of it. Shooting forth its pseudo-pods, it scored a single hit.

Next the melee raged forth. The Vampire Counts forces scored 9 hits on the Beastmen, who responded with 8 hits in return. The VC's had, in addition, six support stands, whilst the Beastmen had only one in return. All in all, the VC's scored 15 to the Bestmen's 9. The Gors lost 3 stands, whilst the VC's lost 2 stands of Ghostly Legion. The single stand Gor unit was whipped out, and a second unit lost two stands. This meant that only one stand stood between the Beastmen and defeat!

As this realisation set in, and as the Gors were forced to retreat 2cm, disaster followed. Surrounded by Skeletons on nearly all sides, the two remaining Gor units and the Chaos Spawn were forced back into enemies and summarily destroyed. Panic ensued as the Gors are cut down on all sides and lost, being unable to retreat. The loss of these two units took the Beastmen over their Break Point Value.

Malagor, seeing this disaster, took to the skys and headed for safety deeper in the woods, leaving the remnants of the Beastmen army to their own devices as all and sundry began to rout.

The Beastlord, braying orders in a vain attempt to reorganise his faltering army, saw the writing on the wall. Reluctantly, he too turned his chariot around and headed for the safety of the forest. All hope lost, the Beastmen deserted the field.

The Red Duke looked on in grim delight. A good days fighting, all be told. He had secured both the Summoning Circle and the Standing Stone, two centres of power that would enable him to build back up his power after the defeat at the hands of the Bretonnians. Moreover, he had secured a hiding place deep within the Forest of Chalon where he hopped to remain hidden until he was ready to release bloody vengeance upon the peoples of Bretonnia.

Well it was a great game, but it took ages to play. Several sessions in fact! I really enjoyed the house rules for the Beastmen Army List. As I was the Beastman player, I may be partial here. However, having a choice of so many Monsters and the different types of Beastherd really feels right for a Beastmen Army. The updated Beastmen Army list really distinguishes itself from the other Chaos army lists. Definitely plan on more forays as the Beastmen player.