Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Summer of Hate Part 2 of 4 (Rounds 2-4)

Round Two:

The Orcs and Goblins came on over the fragrant fields of summer, eagerly closing to within striking distance of their enemies.  Dwarves and men stood resolutely in their battle-line, waiting for the Greenskins to come to them.  On Rufus' left, his Orc mobs began closing up to the east-west road, while the chariot clattered over the stone bridge and turned to face the dwarves opposite them, ready to charge next turn. His artillery, finding themselves still hopelessly masked, yanked and shoved their heavy charges forward over the grass, hoping to find targets next turn, and all the while cursing the narrowness of the battlefield.
Meanwhile the Goblins on the left closed to within charge range of the monastery walls...
 ...and the Gobbos on the forest road likewise advanced and re-formed for the charge next turn...


...while from the ranks of the stikkas there suddenly emerged three drooling figures wielding great steel flails, who began moving toward the allied lines, albeit much...much...more slowly than the Goblins would have liked.
A flurry of missile fire now erupted from both sides as each army tried to whittle down the other before the great clash.  On the forest road, Von Nashorn's men launched their bolts into the ranks of Oogie Spazzjabber's boys, but only one Gobbo was perforated.  On the army's opposite flank, the Dwarf crossbows loosed their bolts at the oncoming chariot.  Their fire was cooly delivered and most effective. 
 A bolt feathered itself in the neck of the driver, causing him to pitch out of the chariot and go under the wheels.  The chariot commander cursed and seized the reins, but the deadly rain of quarrels had so discombobulated him that he dragged hard on the reins rather than cracking them, causing the boars to dig their hooves into the ground and nearly throwing the commander out of the chariot.  And there he sat, frantically urging his boars to get moving again and quite unable to do anything useful, while the grinning Dwarves re-loaded their instruments of death.  Ach!  Curse the luck!
Shot from the dwarf flame cannon roasts 9 goblins
Meanwhile near the monastery wall, the Dwarves had been waiting for the moment when they could finally put their new flame cannon to the test.  Aiming at the most obvious target, the Goblin archers directly to their front, they rubbed their hands with glee and touched off their weapon.  A great spurt of smoke shot out the cannon's mouth, and a horrible gout of liquid flame fell directly onto the stikkas.  9 Stikkas went down, including the unit commander.  Shrieks of terror and despair rose from the stikkas who remained, but the close proximity of the army standard amazingly kept the survivors in the battle.

The Goblinoid counter-fire was depressingly ineffective.  The war engines had moved, and so were of no use.  The stikkas aimed their puny bows at the crew of the flame cannon in vengeful fury, but they only managed to hit one dwarf, and the little arrow bounced off his tough hide.  Narchakk and a few of his lads were able to get a shot in at the Red Dragons, but once more their wretched archery claimed no lives.
The armies' wizards all had better luck.  Over in the trees near the manor, the Gobbo shaman cast Leg Breaking against the warrior monks, sending one of the brotherhood to the ground with a shattered femur, while Rufus summoned forth a fearsome undead hero from the bottom most deeps of hell.  The hermit on the mount meanwhile levelled his staff at the  stalled orc chariot and belabored it with 2 cruel forks of blue-white lightning.  The lighting killed one of the boars and struck the chariot commander as well but the poor fellow survived somehow.
The state of things at the end of Round 2:  Things are starting to look lousy from the Goblinoid point of view.  The chariot is all but neutralized, the stikkas are decimated and the fanatics traveled very little distance at all in their initial movement turn, meaning they are now as much a danger to their friends as to their enemies.  It's still early, though, and things may change yet.

Round 3:
But things didn't change.  Not initially, anyway.  The Razorbacks were mightily tempted to attack the temporarily disabled chariot, but with the Goblin fanatics swinging menacingly toward them,the defenders of Muffburg gritted their teeth and chose to sit tight when their turn came to move.  They needn't have worried.  One fanatic swept into the wall of the monastery and killed himself outright.  Another inched an absurdly short distance toward the allies.  The last caromed crazily back through his own ranks, ploughing through the stikkas, Orc crossbows, and Bad Bloody Frumpkin's gobbos.  The Goblinoid missile troops saw the little fiend coming and dove for cover, losing only one trooper for each unit, but Bad Bloody Frumpkin's boys were not so lucky; four of their number being cut down by their own fanatic.

Rufus Drakk spat green gobbets of Phlegm through his yellow fangs and cursed wildly.  He hadn't expected the humies to  be prepared and waiting for him- he certainly hadn't anticipated their being supported by the cursed Stunties.  Blast it!  He'd have to do something about that cannon!  He spurred up toward the front of the Orc host, bellowing incantations as he went. His standard bearer and shambling undead champion followed him.

Undoubtedly partly inspired by their desire to get away from this flailing, blood spattered maniac, Frumpkin's boys and the Goblin wizard charged the monastery wall.  The stikkas and Orc crossbow boys advanced, flanked on their left by Rufus Drakk and his entourage.  Cursing the now all but useless chariot, Scarffgagg Sorehead bellowed at Narchukk Toungecutter to push his boys further right and the two Orc regiments tried to advance and align for a charge next turn.
On the forest trail, Oogie Spazzjabber's gobbos rushed von Nashorn's men-at-arms, supported on their left by Bungole Bushwhacka, spurring his boar to the assault.

Sporadic shooting added to the chaos.  The Dwarf crossbows loosed once more at the Orc chariot, but the result of their efforts was no more than some damage to the driver's reins.  The flame cannon was busy building up pressure and couldn't shoot, and the crossbowmen on the forest trail were dropping their crossbows and reaching for their swords as the Goblin charge slammed home.
Over nearer the river, the stikkas shot again at the Dwarf cannon and whooped for joy when one of their arrows dropped a dwarf crewman.  Narchukk's boys tried to shoot again and -of course- hit nothing.  On the east bank of the little creek, the stone thrower crew were sick of doing nothing.  They couldn't get a clear line of sight on the hated stunties, but they could certainly throw some rocks o'er yonder and see if they could kill somebody.  No harm in that, right? Using the crude methods they had learned concerning speculative fire, they launched a load of stones in the direction of the Dwarves and, amazingly, got a direct hit on the Razorbacks, putting five of the gallant Dwarves out of the fight...the best showing anybody on the Greenskin side had made yet!

On the western side of the battlefield the two armies were now locked in close combat.  On the forest trail, von Nashorn's armbrustschutzen drew their short swords and prepared to meet Oogie Spazzjabber's gobbos.  At first, the men a arms seemed to be doing well, as they cut down two of the foul green skinned creatures immediately.  But soon one crossbowman had fallen to the attentions of Oogie's standard bearer.  Oogie killed a second man himself.  Bungole Bushwhacka plunged in and cut down a third man with his sword, then his boar tusked a fourth and trampled him.  von Nashorn's men nearly panicked but despite their cruel losses, they stood and fought on.
Over at the monastery a vicious but unequal struggle broke out along the monastery's wall.  The monks killed two gobbos as they tried to vault over the wall, but Bad Bloody Frumpkin dropped two of the holy men himself.  Still the monks held grimly, determined to fight to the last man.
As the Hermit on the mount saw Rufuss emerge from the ranks of his boys, he lowered his staff and loosed two more lightning bolts at him.  The old Orc shaman shrugged off the attack and pitched two fireballs at the flame cannon, killing another Dwarf.
Situation at the end of Round 3: The Orcs have somehow managed to re-form a decent line with which to launch an assault on the allied line at the start of their next turn.  The allied left is weakening but still holding-for now.  The Dwarf cannon has only one crewman left, which means it will require another two turns to re-pressurize, so it is nearly useless.

Round 4:

With a shout, Erich von Nashorn plunged into the battle on the crossroads.  Everywhere else, the allied line continued to hold steady.
The goblin fanatic who had cut a swathe of devastation through his own army's ranks went spinning and squealing off into the woodline.  Here he embedded himself in a tree trunk, where he could never be a menace to his own people again.  Not to worry, though, because his mate who had been bouncing around in the no man's land between the two armies turned and followed almost exactly the same path his buddy had carved out n the previous round.  He killed several stikkas.  He killed an Orc crossbow boy.  He killed his army's standard bearer.  And he wounded his own army's commander, Rufuss Drakk.  Ah.  Well.  No biggie, right?
Scarffgagg Sorehead's Psycho Squad finally charge home against the Razorbacks
Over near the river, the dwarf crossbows shot up the chariot again, disabling it for anther round.  Across the meadow, the Orc bolt thrower crew, who had failed their animosity check, decided to help by shooting the chariot as well.  However, they did nothing to it that the Dwarves had not already done.
The long suffering stikkas had tried to run away, but Rufuss had kept them in the fight.  Now they shot again at the Dwarf flame cannon.  They hit grass.  The hit shrubs, they hit walls and dirt.  They did not hit any Dwarves.  At the same time, Narchakk's boys were still trying to shoot some Red Dragons.  They fared just about as well.  Encouraged by their previous success with speculative fire, the stone thrower crew tried again, but their shot buried itself harmlessly in the turf well to the rear of their intended target.

A furious fight now erupted near the riverbank, where Scarffgagg Sorehead's Psycho Squad was attempting to overwhelm the Razorbacks.  Despite a tremendous amount of flailing and hacking, the only casualty was a single Dwarf warrior.  His brethren stubbornly held their position, refusing to give ground.

Over at the crossroads, similar casualties were suffered, yet the result was very different.  The three heros involved in the scrap failed to claim any victims, but a lucky goblin managed to bring down one of von Nashorn's men. Battered, outnumbered, borne backwad for the second time, von Nashorn's men finally broke and ran.  Bungole and the goblins sprang after them, and their thirsty blades drank deep.  When it was over, all ten of von Nashorn's men were dead along the forest trail, and von Nashorn himself was headed for the edge of the battlefield with Bungole Bushwhacka nipping at his horse's hooves.

At the monastery, one of Bad Bloody Frumpkin's boys caught hold of a monk's sleeve...within  moments the unfortunate monk was dragged over the wall away from his fellows and slain.  The goblin wizard had lept the monastery wall and attempted to turn the monks' flank, but was despatched by a stroke from a brother's ceremonial knife.  Half the monks were dead,  but the survivors would fight on.

The duel between the armies' sorcerers continued.  Again, forked lighting leapt from the staff of the hermit on the mount and again the tough old Orc shrugged off the attack.  This time, however, Rufuss struck back.  The fates were strong with him, and the fireballs he flung at the hermit struck and wounded the Dwarf sorcerer twice!
The field at the end of turn 4.  With von Nashorn's  men all dead, von Nashorn himself in flight, half the monks out of action and the flame cannon nearly neutralized, the allied left is in danger of total collapse...still the allied main body remains intact...things could still go either way!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Minotaurs

 In the tangled depths of the Tulgey Wood, a minotaur war band assembles for a raid on the hated human settlements of the Sudmark...while keeping a sharp eye out for the Jabberwocks!
It's hard to say no to including units of minotaurs in one's chaos army.  They have so much visual appeal, looming above the ranks of lesser creatures like beastmen and chaos thugs, and what with their beer bellies and big ol' horns...
Minotaur Chief rallies his Bully Boys for battle...
One thing about Minotaurs in 3rd Edition, however...
I sometimes wonder if the combat power of a minotaur really warrants a 40mm base.  Minotaur units do seem to whither away to nothing damnably quickly in my games. Part of it may simply be that being big and threatening, they tend to attract more attention.  I don't think it's just that, though.  Compare the Minotaur to his lowlier cousin, the chaos Beaman, who costs 10 points.  The Beastman has strength 3, wounds 2, and 1 attack.  The minotaur costs 4 times what the beastman does in points.  His advantage over the Beastman is that he has strength 4, wounds 3, and 2 attacks. His toughness and initiative are no better than his smaller cousin's, but he has a dramatically increased frontage due to his large base so that, if if a rank of 3 minotaurs were fighting, say Elves, the Elves would be able, from their 20mm bases, to bring at least 6 attacks to bear against the Bull-men, meaning that the minotaur's extra attack is no advantage at all in many cases.

The minotaur has a couple of other things going for him.  He has move 6, which makes him almost as fast as an Orc Boar Boy, and he's large, so he causes fear, which is good, but being large also means he's a large target for missile fire.
Minotaurs are further hamstrung by the fact that you can only have 5 per unit.  That's it, and their Blood Greed special characteristic is a mixed blessing at best.  So are minotaurs really worth the points?

I wonder if the designers of WFB3 weren't a little bit unsure of that themselves.  In the Rule Book, the base size given for minotaurs is 25mm, the same as the beastmen, and some of Citadel's earlier Minotaur models, such as the fellow above, were well suited to a 25mm base.  But the book also shows several photos of Minotaurs mounted on what are clearly 40mm bases.  By the time we get to Warhammer Armies and Realm of Chaos, the requisite base size has been changed to 40mm, and by then Citadel was producing considerably larger minotaur models. 
We know that there was confusion about the desired size of the Fimir models.  The sculptors created models that were larger than the game designers had intended, with the result that you ended up with a figure which some players felt was underpowered for the 40mm base which the model's size demanded.
Was there at some point a confusion with minotaur figures similar to that which occurred with the fimir?  I've always wondered about it, but I suppose I don't care that much.  I still like minotaur models, so I'm pleased to add these Bovine Belligerents to Buzzgobb Phesterlicks's chaos horde.
Happy Hackin'!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Summer of Hate: Part 1 of 4 (Background and Round 1)

The Rules:  Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition
Points:  2005
Armies:  Orcs and Goblins vs. Dwarfs and Empire
Number of Turns: (Randomly Determined) 9
The Game:

In the Spring the vast sheets of snow and ice which blanket the upper slopes of The World's Edge melt and send a thousand silver streams racing down to swell the dark waters of the Black River.  The river's fringes climb high, drowning the sandy bars of the Troll Banks, where Black Annie holds court with her many sons, chasing the Trolls to the uplands for months.  It floods the evil, Chaos-warped glens men call the Slithy Toves, where nameless things creep amoung the hoary bowels.  It rises as a moat about the Flea Fell, where the Skaven dwell, flooding their lowermost tunnels and leaving them isolated for some two months.  During Spring few evil things can cross the great river, swollen and wrathful in his flood, from their dwelling places in the east, for in his violence he smashes all boats and drowns all swimmers.  In the lands of the Prinz von Refn, men spend the springtime in the knowledge that they are relatively safe from the nameless perils that dwell on the east bank, and eagerly channel the spring snowmelt into fields and pastures that soon grow lush and tall, green and gold, and orchards where fat yellow apples soon bloom amoung the boughs.

But as the Spring wanes and summer returns, the river drops.  In the mid-year heat, the Troll Banks rise once more out of the dark waters, leaving behind many pools amoung the sandy bars and willow thickets where fish and eels and stranger things are trapped for the benefit of the returning Trolls.  The dark moat falls away from around the feet of the Flea Fell, leaving the Rat Men free to roam.  The great river becomes lazy, slow flowing, black, like the blood of a man who needs for water.  Now the Orcs and Goblins can set out on great ramshackle rafts to seek the Western bank.  Now the fell host of Buzzgobb Phesterlick can venture toward the setting sun in their long, black boats.  Now the Skaven can set sail in their weird craft, all churning waterwheels and black sails hung about with clouds of warpstone smoke, to raid and wreak havoc in the realms of men and dwarves.  Summer is a time of violence and wrath in the Black River country.  Summer.  The Campaign Season.  Season of hate.

They had landed on the west bank before the stars had begun to fade, and had hidden their rafts in the deep thickets along the bank.  The boyz, big and little, were silent, as even Greenskins can be when they know they are in the midst of some great enterprise.  The many uncertainties and fears of the crossing behind him, Bungole Bushwhacka lifted himself onto the back of his great warboar and turned his wet, cavernous nostrils upward, inhaling the night air.  Carried on the evening breeze like exotic perfumes were the scents of early summer grass, dandelion, lilac and jasmine.  He snorted.  Disgusting.  As if in agreement, his boar abruptly farted out an appalling, oily miasma that left some nearby gobbos coughing weakly and blinking through watery eyes.  Bungole grinned and inhaled again, savoring.  "'At's more like it,"  he grunted, and spurred his boar up the bank.  Up ahead, he could see the considerable bulk of Rufus Drakk and his own boar, outlined against the sky.
"Oy, Rufus." 
The great, hooded figure half-turned tward him in the darkness.
"Hrm?"
"Is we where we supposed to be?"
"Urrm," the Shaman nodded, and raised a crooked claw in a vaguely northwestern direction.
"Over dere a ways is a liddle creek as got no name.  We'll send some boys to find it.  En den we cross, keep it on our leff, and after a ways, we come to a liddle town wot's got a fort an a temple an such.  Been dere before.  Long time ago.  Pulled some good loot outta dere."
"No need ta send ya boys,"  Bungole sneered, spurring up his mount.  I'll find yer liddle creek, then I'll come back and lead out da furst mob.  Oo's leadin out?"
"Tounge Cutta."  Rufus grunted, tersely.
"Awroight.  'Ere I go."
Soon he was scuttling along on his war pig, crossing the gentle, grassy slopes at remarkable speed.  It didn't take him long to find the creek.

Rufus Drakk's Orc and Goblin Army: (2005.5 points)

Rufus Drakk-lvl 15 Orc Wizard w/ war boar, magic Enchanted Wound sword......................253 pts
Spells (Randomly determined)
lvl 1:Hammerhand, Ignite Missiles, Dispirit, Fireball, Immunity from poison, Summon Skeletal Champion
lvl 2: Rally, Raze, Stop Undead Instability
Bungole Bushwhacka - lvl 15 Orc hero w/ war boar, light armor, crossbow, bodkin bolts....114 pts
1 lvl 10 Orc hero w/ light armor, shield, xtra hand weapon.....................................................64 pts
1 lvl 10 Orc hero w/ light armor, shield, bow...........................................................................65 pts
3 lvl 10 Goblin heroes w/ light armor, 1 w/ 2 handed weapon, 1 w/ bow, 1 w/ hand weapon
and shield..................................................................................................................................90 pts
1 lvl 5 Orc hero w/ light armor, standard, shield, war boar, army standard............................157 pts
1 lvl 5 Goblin wizard w/ hand weapon......................................................................................45 pts
Spells (Random)
lvl 1:  Part Water, Leg Breaking, Enthuse

6 stands of snotlings.................................................................................................................150 pts
19 Orc Boyz w/ light armor, shield, xtra hand weapon, standard, musician............................199.5 pts
19 Orc arrer boyz w/ light armor, shields, bows, standard and musician.................................220.5 pts
26 goblins w/ hand weapons, javelins, shields, light armor, standard and musician...............121.5 pts
19 goblins w/ 2 handed weapons, light armor and standard.....................................................100 pts
19 Gobbo archers w/ standard..................................................................................................70 pts
3 Goblin fanatics......................................................................................................................90 pts
1 light stone thrower and 1 bolt thrower, no armor for crew...................................................89 pts
1 Orc war chariot......................................................................................................................62 pts
10 arrer boyz w/ light armor and crossbows............................................................................115 pts
Baggage Train (Flo's Field Kitchen)...........................................................................................0 pts
Total:.......................................................................................................................................2005.5 pts

                                                                               * * *
Brother Smyte rose earlier than usual. Outside the little monastery, it was still very dark.   From out of the east, a hot wind was blowing.  It had rattled the shutters of his tiny room, its fingers had crept round them and into his sleep, had drawn him up off his cot and out into the little walled compound.  In the east there was as yet no hint of dawn, but the hot wind bellowed in the high branches.  From the corner of the monastery yard, he could vaguely see shadows of men moving restlessly in the tall tower above the manor wall.  Somewhere off to the west a dog barked agitatedly, its voice half drowned by the wind.  And he felt something terrible.  He remembered the horrid wail of the Chaos hounds above the little hamlet of Frog Hollow years ago, remembered hurrying through the night with his brothers and companies of men gathered hurriedly from settlements up and down the river...too late.  He remembered men and women and little ones, who'd been pulled apart and scattered amoung the ruins of their little settlement.  Terror settled on his shoulders like a leaden shroud.  And he knew.  Something, the Great Lord, perhaps, had come to him in the dark hour before the dawn, had tried to warn him.  He had doubted.  He had delayed.  He had not wanted to understand.  He had wasted precious time.  No more.  He rushed to brother Felix's door.  Felix emerged from the shadow of his chamber blinking, astonished.  Brother Smythe's lips spoke words as if with their own life, independent of their owner. 
"Something is coming.  Take a mule.  Go first to the manor.  Tell every man within to stand to. Then go swiftly along the west road to where the Dwarves are camped.  It is half a league, and there is no time to spare.  Go.  Go, Brother! Swiftly now!'
From Brother Felix's mouth came forth some feeble, half formed questions. 
Brother Smyte felt panic rise in him at Brother Felix's dely.  "Ask me not what I know or how I know, but I know!  We'll say now, if you like, that the Great Lord has spoken to me.  If I am wrong, then laugh at me tomorrow in the light of day and I'll laugh with you, and weep, too, for the joy of having been in error. But if I am not, then we have not a moment to lose.  Enemies will soon be upon us and we must make haste!  I will rouse the others, and we shall arm ourselves and stand to the wall.  Go now, before it is too late!  Brother Felix blinked at him.  Then, without a word, still in his night shirt, Felix raced down the hall and out toward the yard and stable where the monastery's two mules dozed contentedly.  Brother Smythe  rushed along the hall, his fist hammering on closed doors.  This time, he thought, he would not be too late.
Nor was he. 

The Defenders of Muffburg: Dwarf and Empire Army (2005.5 pts)

1 lvl 20 Dwarf hero w/ mithril heavy armor & 2 handed sword..........................................198 pts
1 lvl 15 Dwarf wizard w/ dispel magic scroll......................................................................303 pts
Spells: (Random)
lvl 1:  Cloud of Smoke, Cure Light Injury, Leg Breaking, Dispirit, Strength of Combat, Wind Blast
lvl 2: Mental Duel, Lightning Bolt, Steal Magical Power
1 lvl 15 Human hero w/ light armor, shield, magic mace of mighty striking........................113 pts
2 lvl 10 Dwarf heroes w/ light armor, shield, hand weapon.................................................182 pts
1 lvl 10 Human hero w/ heavy armor, warhorse, shield, hand weapon................................65 pts

19 Dwarves w/ light armor, spears, shields, standard, musician.........................................252 pts
19 Dwarves w/ light armor, hand weapons and shields, standard, musician.......................231 pts
10 Crossbow Dwarves w/ light armor..................................................................................130 pts
Dwarf Flame Cannon w/ light armor for crew......................................................................125 pts
24 Helblitzen w/ light armor, standard, musician.................................................................234 pts
10 Armbrustschutzen w/ light armor.....................................................................................100 pts
8 warrior monks (Flagellants) w/ hand weapons......................................................................72 pts
Baggage Train (Piet's Beer Cart)................................................................................................0 pts
Total:.....................................................................................................................................2005 pts
And the Battle Begins...

The two armies deploy for battle.  The Allies have sensibly tried to negate the Orcs' numerical advantage by using the river and the fortified monastery to anchor their flanks.  The Dwarf Crossbows are arrayed on the river shore, covering the 'Razorback' and 'Red Dragon' Companies as they form battle line.  Imperial Helblitzen, led by Hans von Treuehardt, support the Dwarves on their right.  On the little knoll behind the Crossbbows, the mysterious dwarven wizard known only as 'The Hermit on the Mount' has positioned himself, ready to call down magic on the heads of Orcs and Goblins alike.
Barely visible in the background, the monks can be seen gathered behind the rear wall of their monastery, while the knight Erick von Nashorn leads his men at arms out of the manor behind the woods...
 ...moving to take and hold the crossroads on the east side of the hamlet.
Last but not least, the Dwarven Flame cannon takes up a firing position cozily close to the monastery wall, sheltered by a clump of shrubbery.

Rufus Drakk gnashes his fangs in frustration as he tries to cram his horde onto the narrow field in front of the Allied position. Without proper room to deploy them all, he is forced to push some of them off to his right, across the river.  Perhaps the chariot can gain the bridge near the Allies' right flank and turn it?  Seemingly hopelessly masked, the stone thrower trundles along in the wake of the chariot, hoping a hole might  eventually open up, allowing them to lob some shot somewhere where it will make a difference.  Their mates on the bolt thrower set up their machine across the stream to their right.  Rufus deploys his main strength, his fearsome Orc mobs, together on his army's left, hoping they'll have more room to maneuver there.  Behind the Orcs, a mob of Snotlings trails along, uncomprehending, but game for whatever may transpire.
Rufus and the Army standard Bearer occupy the Arm's Center, Orcs on their left, Goblin mobs on their right.  Orc Crossbows advance behind the Gobbo archers, hoping stikkas hurry up and run away so the Orcs can have a chance to shoot.  The right flank of the army trails off in confusion amoung the great gnarled trees.  The Goblin wizard takes up a position here, hoping to aid his Gobbo mates with a decent spell or two.  Bungole Bushwhacka also hugs the treeline, hoping to avoid the Dwarf Flame cannon and get up around the Allied left flank and into the enemy's rear...
...While on the army's extreme left, Oogie Spazzjabber's 2 handed weapon gobbos surge up the forest track toward the crossroads, where Erick von Nashorn and his men will soon be positioning themselves to receive them...

Round One:


With a rattle of drums and a chorus of loud bellows and weird shrieks and squeals the Goblinoid host advanced onto the narrow field between the woods and the river, eager to get at the allied square who stood waiting calmly, to receive them.  On the East bank of the little river, the chariot raced forward, its boars snorting and farting furiously.  Bungole Bushwhacka and the goblin shaman moved up under the cover of the treeline.

The allies held fast, indeed, they felt they could do little else...if they advanced to fall into line with the brethren holding the monastery wall, they would mask the fire of their steam cannon hidden carefully beside that same structure.  Only on the far left did the allies make any moves...Von Nashorn led his crossbowmen onto the crossroads, where they prepared to perforate some of  Oogie Spazzjabber's Gobbos next turn.

The crossbow dwarves near the bridge were the first to fire.  They raised their weapons and loosed at the orcs manning the bolt thrower.  Their bolts fell upon the weapon and its crew with alarming accuracy.  Most buried themselves in the war engine's thick timbers, but one caught the loader in the belly.  He keeled over backwards into the grass, then turned over and began crawling in the opposite direction of Flo's Field Kitchen as quickly as he could.  He was out of the fight for good.
The steam cannon began to whistle, rattle and clank, quivering with the power of it's load of pent up vapor.  It would be ready to fire on the enemy next turn.

Nearer the woods, the stikkas loosed their arrows at the Red Dragons, but their puny short bows were out of range and their arrows fell short.  Narchakk Toungecutter's boys decided to shoot, but having failed their animosity test, they peppered Scarffgag Sorehead's psycho squad who were standing next to them.  Despite the extremely close range, however, they managed to wound no-one at all, drawing no blood from their targets, only puzzled looks and nasty sneers.  Near the riverbank, the crew of the bolt thrower swore to avenge their punctured mate.  Filling the air with deadly curses, they let fly at their hated enemies and in a terrific anticlimax...hit a molehill about twenty feet in front of their machine. 
Narchukk's arrer boyz shoot Scarffgagg's Psycho Squad, but their archery is so harmless that the Psychos fail to notice or care...

This remarkable display of mass incompetence and stupidity drew loud jeers and guffaws from the Dwarves, but they grew more grim-faced and stern when a shot from the stone thrower killed one of the Red Dragons.

As the battle lines closed upon each other, the armies' wizards began their own struggle.  The Hermit on the Mount found that he was positioned too far away from the enemy to be able to engage them with most of his spells, but he was able to lock the Goblin Shaman in a mind war, briefly plumbing the lurid depths of the little creature's brain and extracting three magic points from it.  The Gobbo Shaman staggered and clutched at his aching temples but still managed to cast enthuse on Bad Bloody Frumpkin's Gobbo boys; they'd have a little extra charge for the rest of the day.  In the center, Rufuss Drakk drew two blazing fireballs from his hairy palms and sent them hurtling toward von Truehardt's hellblitzen, felling two of them.

The situation at the end of Round 1:  The Orc Chariot has sped to the bridge and is preparing to cross it after making a hairpin turn.  In the Orc army's center, Rufuss Drakk and the Army standard have sensibly dropped back a bit to avoid being targeted by the Dwarf Steam Cannon next round.  (That's what Gobbos is for, eh?)

To be continued next week...