Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Plain of Crows Part 5 - After Action Review

Lord Thorrir leant upon his Thunder Hammer and gazed about the field.  There were wounds to bind, he thought, and dead to be wrapped up and carried home.  But the madmen had been driven off, and they could return now, those of who his warriors who had lived, to the Thunder Mount in triumph.  A little lightning flickered and thunder muttered far off on the horizon and a drizzling rain began to darken the dust. 

Soon they would be marching home...

...Already some were beginning to sing the old chant of victory, a song in honour of the Ravens and Crows who were already skipping amoung the bodies of the Imperialist dead and dying...It was an old song, and the Dwarves of Thunder Mount sang it well.

It sounded something...

Like this...

Several Points:

1.  Private Weird's idea to try an online Warhammer game was great, and worked out way better than I'd imagined.  I'd love to do it again.

2.  My War Room wasn't really set up well for this kind of thing - photographing my table at night meant schlepping lights and gear up and down stairs which inevitably caused delays and made for a much SLOWER game than I'd have liked-I'm sure it must have gotten on P.W.'s nerves that he had to wait so long between turns...I plan on redoing the war room completely soon, with a few nice lamps with bendy necks for photographing battles in progress in the near future, and that should really clear the road for a lot of fun new on line games, so there's that.

3.  I think this sort of online play is best suited to smaller games because of the big fog-of-war factor.  P.W. and I were playing with 1400 point armies, which actually seemed pretty big once we started playing, just because there's so much stuff to manage.  You can't say "Hey, can you hand me that thing" when the other guy is a thousand miles away, and it's hard to see what he's doing with his guys by squinting at photos on the computer monitor, even when he's done a great job of setting up his table and taking the pictures, as Private Weird did.   Even when you work hard to mirror the other guy's set-up, there are inevitable distortions of distance in the photographs, so it can be hard to accurately gauge the positions of the opposing regiments.  I really think this can be overcome, if you have the patience, by measuring the distance of one or two corners of each unit from your own table edge and one other table edge at the end of each turn, but it is a lot of work.
As well as using smaller armies, I'd also suggest simple terrain.  The terrain we laid out for our battlefield was about as simple as it could possibly be, and there were still discrepancies between our boards.  Sometimes the other guy can get line of site on you on HIS board, but not on YOUR board.  Not much you can do but just embrace the honor system and give him the shot, which is just fine really.  It's just something to keep in mind when you play.

 Captain Borrin Basherson - feeling very cheated out of his prey by the game turn limit

3.  Make sure that yourself and the other guy take the time to get on the same page about key things like deployment limits and game length.  This kind of stuff is pretty obvious when you're playing a game face-to -face but with our game a lot of things somehow slipped through the cracks.  For example - P.W. started with his troops deployed 12" from his table edge, while I deployed 6" forward of my own.  If I had also deployed a full foot into the table, the armies would have come to grips much sooner, and the battle might have looked very different.  Similarly, we jumped eagerly into the game without agreeing as to how long the dang thing would last.  Usually when I play a straight-up fight scenario like Plain of Crows, the 2 sides grapple until one army is wiped out or until one player has had too much beer and whiskey to be able to continue without damaging himself, his models, and the room and house in general. P.W. seems to like to play a game that ends within a pre-designated time limit, which can greatly effect playing style.                                                                                                 

  Ol' Hamm Hanson succeeded in  denying the army's right flank to the Imperialists, allowing Lord Thorrir to pilea disproportionate amount of force onto Lord Asgard's regiment...
4.  For Chrissakes, know the rules of the game you're playing.  It's actually been a while since I'd played Warhammer 3rd edition (Nobody ever wants to actually play it with me), so there were some things I'd forgotten about which surprised me, like how hard it is to hit WS 4, even when you are also WS 4!  I was also entitled to some bonuses to hit for having followed up a push back, and was not aware of them.  If I had actually bothered to research them, Lord Thorrir might have dropped Lord Asgard before the end of the game.

Jenni Troll Spitter did Yeoman work in the Battle, skewering 5 Dwarf Warriors and trimming a wound off Grendir Bagotrix, allowing Ol' Hamm to step up and finish off the Imperialist Wizard.  Hat's off to Jenni and her brave crew!

Anyway, a fun game, well played by P.W. and a great time had by all.  Lookin' forward to the next one!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Knights of the Mittel Mark Pt. 1

"Steel yourselves, boys!  And look not behind ye...There's no reason to look back...I can tell you what is there...your women and children are there...your homes, your sons and daughters are there, and they are all looking back at you...and saying with their frightened eyes,'re all that stands 'tween me and that scum out there..
 Ragghh Ha Ha!  No, Don't look back boys!  Look Forward!  See that?  That's a grand hunt in front of you!  Let's go get them, and when you've filled them full of quarrels, then you'll go home, with their heads swinging at your belts...and when your women and pups see you coming, how their eyes will shine, to see their menfolk coming home, bathed in the blood of the foe...It's a grand hunt, boys...Let's Go!!
                                                                                 - Hans von Hirschfeld at the Battle of Scorpion Point


Shown here are two famous knights of the Mittelmark, or the Middle March, the central portion of the Baron von Refn's realm.  Above is Sir Erich von Nashorn.  Below we see Sir Hans von Hirschfeld....Each is shown with his troop of retainers at the Baron's fortified City-Stronghold, The Refnsberg...doubtless in preparation for a march against the enemies of the realm. 

The Knights of the Baron von Refn's realm, a frontier region on the far eastern fringe of the Border Princes, hail from every corner of the Old World.  Most are Petty Nobles who followed their Lord, the Baron, into exile, but many are adventurers and former mercenaries who came to the Raven Standard in the years after the Baron's conquest of the Black River Country.  Amoung them are many Bretonnians as well as Tileans, Kislevites, even Estalians. Loyalty to the Baron von Refn and his campaign to lay claim to this wild and monster- infested slice of the frontier unite them as a mighty warrior brotherhood, despite their cultural differences.

Sir Hans von Hirschfeld was one of a number of knights who followed the Baron von Refn out of his exile from The Empire.  The von Hirshfeld family for many generations ruled a small fiefdom which encompassed an upland plateau rich with game and known as The Plain of Stags.  The men of the family were and are still known as great hunters, and the red stag's head on white shown on their coat-of-arms commemorates their claim of ownership on the rich hunting grounds of the snowy uplands of the Plain of Stags.  For years after the flight to the Border Princes, Sir Hans cherished the Dream of someday returning to the sacred hunting grounds of his forefathers.  The fact of the matter is, however, that the deer and boar hunting in the wild and untamed regions of the Border Princes is actually better than it was in Sir Hans' much so, that, over the years, Sir Hans has forgotten about reclaiming his ancient birthright. Besides, even when the smokehouses are choked and the larders are full, there are so many Orcs and other things tochase about and spear that, as much as they might resent having been chased from their ancestral home, the von Hirschfelds must admit that they have few complaints in their new lands.
The Baron's knights are men of some wealth and property as well as worldly experience.  Indeed they must be, for they must be able to afford to control and defend their scattered holdings against Orcs, Chaos Warbands, and the occasional Undead incursion quite on their own, or with the help of their neighbors, until  the Baron can arrive with his troops. Unfortunately can often take some time.  Of course they must also be prepared to bring contingents to battle on behalf of their Lord and their friends...

Each knight must thus maintain at all times a contingent of at least ten retainers, which he can bring to the Raven Standard in time of trouble.  This is in addition to any other troops he may need to watch over his holdings while he is away.   The crossbow is a popular weapon in the Baron's realm.  It is powerful, cheap to manufacture and easy for the average man to learn to use. As such, these troops of retainers are quite typical of those brought to The Raven Banner by the Knights of the realm.

The von Nashorn family were an important clan in their region of the Empire, one which bordered on Bretonnia, and the von Nashorns still have ties to that distant country.  The von Nashorn's heraldry, a black unicorn on a yellow field, commemorates a family legend, one involving the mighty Zigurd von Nashorn, who in distant days accompanied the Imperial Crusaders into the lands of Araby.  Having won great renown in the crusades, Zigurd came home bearing with him many souvenirs and trophies, one of which was a huge, one-horned, hairless bull-calf creature which folk called The Nashorn. 

The Nashorn grew to be astonishingly huge and strong.  Attempts to breed the beast to the von Nashorn family cattle herd proved disastrous, but Sir Zigurd found another use for the monster...he learned to ride it, albeit somewhat precariously, and for years he bestrode the beast in battle, to the great terror of the Emporer's foes.  The Nashorn eventually aged and died, but the mighty beast captured the imagination of noble family and volk alike, and the family coat-of-arms was changed to show a great one-horned hairless bull in silhouette upon a bright yellow field which was intended to evoke the saffron sands of Araby.  Over the years, however, various ladies of the family exerted their influence to gradually change the coat-of-arms to a graceful horned horse, rather than a one-horned giant bull, as this rather less brutish device was considered more fashionable in the Bretonnian-influenced Border Country...
Of the three WFB 3rd Edition armies I've been working on, my ambiguously Bretonnian/Empire Army has been the poor relation thus far.  Mostly it's been militia and some halberdiers in greens, browns and whites, so a splash of color and professionalism is a welcome addition...

“Who will say that this is not our land?  Our fathers bought it with their blood; we will hold it with our flesh!  Come, a thousand enemies!  Come a thousand and thousands more!  We shall still stand here…and hand this good soil to our sons and daughters who come after us when we are dead!”                                                                                                    
                                                                                   -Erich von Nashorn at the Battle of Scorpion Point

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A 1970's John Blanche Original...sigh...

Sigh.  When it appeared on ebay a few weeks ago, I had no intention of ever actually attempting to get my hands on was priced at about $800.00 and that was just too much.  Wistfully, I kept an eye on it...and began to have hope as, unbought, it dipped, week by week, from $800 to $700 to $600.00...When it fell, at last, into the $500 range, I began to make serious plans to recruit the wife's aid into making it a birthday present in the coming year...even sent the seller an offer...and the last minute, somebody sniped it for $465.00. Looking back on it, $465.00 seems...very reasonable...if you happen to have an extra $500.00 laying around during the Christmas Season.  I should have just damned the torpedoes and gone for it...sold the dog or whatever it took to raise the cash...Regrets...I've had a few... 
 Sigh. This is really my favorite period by an illustrator I really love...flame-haired space girls in sky-high heels survey an alien landscape of strange green hills and silver water-falls...
There was no Warhammer, at this point, and Blanche was just wandering around in fantastic landscapes ...quite without rules...just doing what he felt...strange worlds and beautiful girls in...really impressive shoes.  It's reminiscent in many ways of Fantastic Planet, a film I really love, but it's far better...because it's Blanche.  Imagine a film like Fantastic Planet, but with Blanche at the helm...
 Sigh.  I try to comfort myself with considerations know...even if I had bought it, it was a very small piece, only about 1 foot by 2 feet, so its not as if it would have dominated one wall of my library or anything...
 ...No, it's not working.  I'm depressed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sleekrist Kizzenkillum and the Gorgon

There had always been something wrong with Sleekrist.  That was what his father thought, and often said, even well within Sleekrist's hearing.  The boy was too pale, too unnaturally slender, and the women of the town were frightened by his eyes; they were like bright fires ringed in dark bruises, flecks of blue flame which bespoke something that was like lust, or hatred...or an unflinching recognition of unthinkable truths.  When he reached manhood, he left home without a thought.  Starved in the little towns amoung lonely green hills spotted with sheep, he sought for a feast in the Great City. 
In the Great City, he found a banquet laid for him. A fine feast of corruption laid out upon a bed of debauchery.  The coiffed and painted women of the city were not like the country women.  They loved his dark and  devouring eyes.  "Exotic!" they called him, "Unworldly!"  And in their luxuriant bowers they coupled with him, surrendering themselves to his every perversion...offering up, to him, it seemed, cries that sounded like prayers.  All the cruel delights civilization can offer, Sleekrist sought and sampled.  It was never enough.  He became lost amoung strange streets, searching, with a ravening desperation,  for the great pleasure that would at last soothe the yearning that gnawed incurably at him.  In a dark place, far deeper within the City than ordinary men can venture, he found the hidden temple.  High above him a pair of mighty horns swayed in the shadows.  A key to unworldly secrets and sensations was pressed into his bony hands.  The shadow of the great horns nodded once and vanished in a cloud of perfume smoke and incense.

He knew he wasn't alone, after that.  A great God looked down on him and found his ugliness beautiful, his worthlessness valuable, his sick perversions fine and sacred things.  But the City was old and wicked and full of Secrets.  And the bull headed God was not the only lord who held a fiefdom there.  There, too, was the minor chaos power Settaideh, serpent Goddess of luxury, avarice and ancient secrets beyond the ken of men.  On his travels Sleekrist found her temple, and found, too her high Priestess, Saataveh of The Robe.  From the meeting of these two grew something which fools might mistake for love. 

Twisted and destructive though it was, the devotion of these two Lords of corruption to one another soon aroused the Jealousy of the God of Pleasure.  The Judgement of the Bull-God upon these two disciples who had strayed in their devotions to their respective cults was horrific indeed.  Sleekrist's sensitive skin shriveled and fell from his bones, leaving his unfleshed form nerveless and insensible to pleasure.  Saataveh's body was twisted into something perhaps even more terrible: a dreadful, writhing, sexless, serpent thing, forever unable to give or to receive the delights of the body.
Sleekrist and his lover fled the Great City. They went east, traveling by night...through the wilderness, past the far borders of The Empire, to the very edges of the Old World...the Eastern Frontier of The Border, for a long time, they gnawed at themselves in their despair, Sleekrist's mind decayed in his senseless body, and he became more and more mad, while his lover's own mind became more and more that of an animal and less and less that of a woman.  Yet, their magic remains powerful, and they are loyal puppets of the God who has crippled them. Still they serve him, hoping beyond hope that, should they do enough slaying in his name, Slaanesh will one day return their long-lost forms to them.

Sleekrist Kizzenkillum is a chaos sorcerer in the Chaos horde of Buzzgobb Phesterlick.  He never goes into battle unaccompanied by his 'lover' Saatevah, the Gorgon.  Saatevah's mind has become increasingly less human and more snake-like in recent years, and, to ensure her cooperation in battle, Sleekrist must bind her as a chaotic host before taking the field.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

MST3K - 5,000 Piece Fightin' Men and Monsters Set

I've accepted my posting this here as an inevitability so I might as well just do it now...wonder if the mst3k guys could have imagined that there would be a whole subculture out there who would see this and think  "Great Scott...that would make a fantastic WARGAME!"


Sunday, December 2, 2012

French & Indian War Party

A couple of weeks or so ago my wife asked me for a list of Christmas gift suggestions.  At the top of the little list which I gave to her I wrote, in rather largish letters, Black Powder: Battles with Model Soldiers in the Age of the Musket, by Rick Priestly and Jervis Johnson.  For years I've toyed with the idea of 28mm gaming in French and Indian war and American Revolutionary war settings, I've even bought some buildings and boxes of cheap second hand minis on ebay...but I've never found a set of rules that really drew me into investing in it... Could Black Powder be what I've been looking for?  Well, Hell, Rick Priestly wrote it...that's a point in it's favour, right?

 These seven Coureurs do Bois and four Indian Warriors are all Old Glory figures that came loose in a box along with a bunch of Dixon militia, Roger's Rangers and some very nice, but tragically out-of-scale RAFM British and Mohawks... They didn't come out all that well, but I'm hoping to get better as I get more comfortable with the period...

 I only discovered the existence of the Black Powder book very recently, but the reviews on Amazon sound promising.  Some of the reviewers hint at a set of rules reminiscent of the 40k ROGUE TRADER book...with a reasonably simple combat system and considerable emphasis on character and plot-driven games...just what I'm looking for...The reviews were encouraging enough to move me to dig these guys out of their box and take a stab at painting them...
Rick Priestly admirers will get a chuckle out of a review written by a Warhammer 8th Edition fan, a certain Jman1234, who despairs over the fact that Priestly, the man who "Ruined Warhammer 40k and Fantasy" (?!) should be allowed by someone, somewhere, to write another set of wargames rules...

 If Black Powder shows up under the Christmas Tree, I may
be inspired to begin creating my campaign setting, but right now, I don't have anything other than photos of these French and Indian Warriors.  I don't know who they are, where they live, exactly, or what they are all about..though they certainly look like trouble makers extraordinaire...

Hopefully Santa's Trolls...or is it Dwarves?  Mind Flayers?  Yeah, Santa's Mind Flayers...No, Mind Flayers don't work for Santa, Elves do.  Okay, hopefully Santa's  Elves are bundling up a copy for me as I write...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Plain of Crows Part 4: The Battle Turns 4-6

 As Private Weird's army positions itself for the climactic clash, I have to take a save for my bolt thrower crewman who was wounded by the skirmishers in P.W.'s shooting phase...His heavy armor saves him as I roll a 6, the only roll which could have saved him!

The table at the end of P.W.'s 4th turn....See Private Weird take his 4th turn here!

 Borrin Basherson and his Red Dragons swung up along the Thunder Mountain left, skirting the treeline, making for the hated enemy archers.  Borrin heard another cry as yet another of the King's axes went down under enemy arrows and swore he'd get even with those bowmen just as soon as he could get his hands on them.  As the Red Dragons came up almost abreast of the King's axes, Borrin suddenly got a broader view of the enemy front--and saw a sight which made him doubt his senses for a moment.  Directly in front of Lord Thorrir's Axemen a naked Dwarf was bellowing almost incoherently at the head of his troops, apparently daring Lord Thorrir to come on...

 View from behind Lord Asgard's lines as the two army close in on each other...

 In the front ranks of the King's Axes, Captain Floi Haybeard stared at the naked, hairy Dwarf bellowing his defiance and shouted to Lord Thorirr, "My Lord!  Isn't there some sort of religious taboo against killing crazy people? Aren't those who slay the mad cursed?"

"We'll find out!" snarled Thorrir, stomping furiously forward.  Lord Asgard's challenge bothered him more than he liked to admit.  But he wasn't about to risk the lives of his lads and the safety of his King's realm for mere pride.  Asgard had brought more warriors...well, Thorrir had brought better gear...his Dragon shield and fine mithril armor were heirlooms of his proud house.  His great hammer he had made himself with long tedious labor and at great expense.  Old Hamm himself had laid the final enchantments on it...his wife had sealed the magic into the weapon with a kiss...
 But Asgard's taunt humiliated, goaded him, infuriated him, soured his battle joy....curdled it into black hatred.  "Put your pants on, Unifier!"  Thorrir roared. "I'm coming to kill you!"

 Movement Phase:

Ol' Hamm and the Skull Poppers advance 2 inches forward, then wheel backward one inch, pivoting on the front left model.  The Red Dragons advance straight forward 3 inches, narrowly skirting the woods on their left.  The King's Axes charge.  It's close, but they connect with Lord Asgard's company with 1/8 of an inch or so to spare....on my table, at least...what do you see for it, it the same distance on your table, or do my guys come up short in B.C.?


Crossbow bolts began to fall all around them.  From his position sheltered behind Jenni Troll Spitter, Snorri Hawkeye could see the enemy skirmishers shooting at them from the trees.  He realized suddenly, in a calm, quiet sort of way, that he and his boys would die here today.  Their weapon was not designed to be effective against troops in dispersed formation, but against densely packed troops and big monsters.  Yes, he thought.  Those crossbow rats will kill us, but we'll do our best to help out the other boys before we die...Bolts stuck in the wood of the venerable old bolt thrower. One rang off Snorri's armor, sending him staggering just as he yelled "Loose, boys!  Loose!"  The bolt flew low and true, slicing through the ranks of the dwindling enemy company to their front, sending blood and severed chain-mail links flying...

Ok. I'm having that feeling again.  That blend of glee, guilt and oppression that comes with having just rolled remarkably well...but with no-one here but me to confirm how the dice came up.  Anyway, here's what happened.
Having just rolled a 6 for Snorri's armor save, I shoot my bolt thrower at the 10 strong company of Dwarves to my front, and roll a 6.  Hit.  Rolling to wound, I roll a 6 again.  Rolling to wound the Dwarf in the second rank, my bolt now at the reduced strength of 4, I roll a 5.  My last roll, at strength 3, I roll a fail on that one.  Still, two more of Asgard's brave followers down.

Close Combat:

The King's Axes broke into a loping run, quickening swiftly into a charge.  They did not cheer or sing or shout as they closed with the enemy.  All their efforts were focused on picking out their opposite numbers in the enemy ranks...sizing him up in those final few seconds before the ranks crashed together...what were his strengths?  What were his weaknesses?  What were his weapons and gear?  How to take advantage and win? These thoughts and these alone occupied the minds of the Thunder Mountain Dwarves as they closed in on their enemies...When at last they unleashed their blows against the foe, then they would shout.  When the battle was over, whether won or lost...when it was time to bundle up their dead and bear them home to their pale and weeping wives, then they would sing...  

Ok, P.W.  Did you have thoughts on how you wanted to run the hand to hand combat?  I think our generals are supposed to work out their attacks simultaneously, since they have the same initiative, then my lvl 15 hero should go, then your troopers, and my troopers last, because they have the initiative penalty for 2-handed weapons...also I can't remember...did you have another hero in that unit?

With a shout and a crash Lord Thorrir and Lord Asgard's companies at last came together.  Lord Thorrir, boiling at the image of Lord Asgard taunting him in the buff, finally lost his Thunder Mountain composure and huurled his great thunder hammer directly at Asgard's head.  Some cool inner voice warned him that this was probably a dumb mistake, as he would be unlikely to recover his hammer for the remainder of the duel, but Thorrir had gone quite round the bend by now, and could not restrain his arm.  The hammer crashed directly into Asgard's skull, and there was a flash like lightning as the fearsome weapon did it's work...Meanwhile, Floi Haybeard was busy, too,cutting down an Asgardian Imperialist with his terrible great sword, Icicle.

 In the ferocious meelee, Lord Thorrir scores a wound on Asgard, which is doubled by the magic of his hammer...Floi also gets a wound on a Dwarf, which needs to be saved at -1, I think.
Lord Asgard's unit is Pushed back 2" and Lord Thorrir's unit follows up.  One of Thorrir's troopers laps around Asgard's right flank.


Borrin's Red Dragons move straight forward 2", at which point they are brought to a halt by having come within 4" of Lord Asgard's Dwarves.  No more reserve moves for them.

Old Hamm Hanson could see that he was in a tight spot.  The SkullPoppers were tough fighters, but they now had three Asgardian companies closing in on  them to their front and right.  "Hold, fast boys!"  Shouted Hamm, beginning to gather the power of his magic within and around him...a sharp breeze suddenly cut across the plain of crows, stirring the beards of dwarves on both sides.  Suddenly, Old Hamm seemed to swell, to grow in stature and in breadth...His eyes flashed a bright electric blue as he inhaled deeply...and seemed to keep on inhaling, sucking what seemed like half the sky into his lungs...finally, his body huge and round as a boulder, his cheeks puffed out like cannon balls, Old Hamm let go his breath in a tremendous gust of wind that scattered crows, stripped leaves from the trees,and knocked Dwarves off their feet...

Old Hamm casts GUST OF WIND at the 10-strong regiment of Asgardian Dwarves...

Tune in next week for another thrilling episode...

Turn 5:

Thrill to Private Weird's 5th Turn here! 


Their minds full of Red Murder after the loss of their three brothers to the Imperialist archers, The Red Dragons, hungry for vengeance, finally advanced to within charge range of their hated enemies.

The Red Dragons move 3" straight toward the crossbow/bow Dwarfs.  There is no other movement.

His subordinates bleeding and maybe dying all around him, Snorri Hawkeye struggled to load and fire Jenni Trollspitter for one last shot...In one last act of bitter defiance, he raised his fist in the air and thrust his thumb toward the uncaring sky.  The Imperialist Dwarves who saw Snorri in these, his last moments were never sure what he meant.  In some Dwarven communities the 'thumbs up' sign is taken to mean, "All ok!" or "good job!"  Of course, there are other Dwarven communities in which the gesture is meant to graphically and offensively depict a certain obscene act...
Snorri tries to load Jenni Trollspitter for another shot, but as he's by himself, he'll have to wait until next turn to actually shoot(If he lives that long, which seems unlikely at this point.)


Lord Thorirr Maul punches at "Stupid Lord Asgard-the-Cheater-Who-Says He-Won't-Fight-With-His-Axe-Then-Picks-It-Up-Again". (As Asgard will always be known in the Maull Clan)

 Lord Thorrir rolls 2 3's, 1 5 and 1 6.  He gets 1 hit, but fails to wound Lord Asgard when he subsequently rolls a 3 to wound.  Boo.

Humiliated by his excruciatingly poor performance on the previous turn, Captain Floi Haybeard singles out Asgard's standard bearer for special treatment.  Hoping to do something cool which will make everybody forget how lame his last turn was, he rolls poorly again(!) but still manages to get 1 wound on the standard bearer with his 2-handed sword.......your turn, P.W....

...In the storm and fury of the close-quarters struggle, Lord Thorrir and King Asgard traded blow for blow, mailed fist against axe.  Most of King Asgard's blows rang and rattled off Lord Thorrir's magnificent mirthril armor, but one particularly cruel and well-aimed stroke fell hard off Thorrir's helm, driving fragments of steel into the scalp above Thorrir's eye, nearly stunning him for just a moment.  Thorrir tried to get Asgard within range of his mighty fist but the wily Dwarf King circled continually back out of his reach.   Beside Thorrir, Captain Floi Haybeard lunged forward at the Asgardian Dwarves, swinging wildly with his great sword and...tripped over a root and face-planted in the dirt at the foot of Asgard's standard.  (Floi rolled to 3 dice to attack and rolled an impressive 3 1's.)  Yelling and cheering and cackling with glee, the Asgardian Dwarves closed in around Floi, determined to pin him to the ground with their swords...but Floi's standard bearer seized his captain by the collar of his armor with his free hand and hauled him to his feet, undoubtedly saving the Captain's life.  Here and there, a Dwarf staggered, wounded out of the fight, or went down under the press of the shield-wall or the blow of an axe, but in truth, the two sides were well matched, and few Dwarves became casualties.  Still, the weight of Thorrir's attack drove Asgard back, moment by moment.
Again, Thorrir tried to land a blow on Asgard and failed and again Asgard's strokes rang off Thorrir's armor.  Dirt in his eyes and beard, livid with fury at his humiliation and berserk with the lust to redeem himself, Floi Haybeard drove at Asgard's standard bearer, and with a terrible blow, nearly sheared the unfortunate Dwarf in two.  Pressing forward, his Axe-Dwarves clustering close around him, Floi seized the standard and held it high, bellowing in his triumph.  A flurry of fighting, brain blasting in it's savage intensity broke out as the Asgardians attempted to recapture their standard, but the sons of the Thunder Mount just barely beat them back, and in the desperate struggle, the Asgardians were pushed back yet again....

Magic Phase:

Old Hamm keeps on emptying his lungs at the Asgardian Dwarves closing in around him on three sides...hoping to hold them off just a little longer...He has now spent 5 of his 10 magic points.

Reserve Phase:  There is no reserve movement.

The table at the end of my round:

By my count, Lord Asgard's unit should have 13 figures alive and fighting, and Lord Thorrir's should have 16.  Lord Asgard's rear rank should by now be about 12" from his table edge.  Let me know if that squares with what you have...

...And I pass the dice to you...

See Private Weird's final turn here!

Turn 6:

The blood was now running steadily into Lord Thorrir's eyes, and he was starting to curse himself over throwing his hammer at Crazy King Asgard...he readied himself to throw another punch through the haze of his own blood...and then...and then?  And then...Lord Asgard cupped a hand to one ear, as if listening intently..."Wait!  he shouted...I hear something!  Someone needs me!  The Dwarves of clan Prince August need our help!  Wherever Dwarves need help, there we must go!!!  Come on, lads!  Let's hoof it! "  And the whole regiment about-faced and began to flee off the Plain of Crows...
Lord Thorrir and his Dwarves stood staring in amazement and confusion.  Some of the King's Axes lunged forward, eager to cut at the backs of the retreating Imperialists.  
"No! Let Asgard run home like a whipped puppy, if he wants!"  said Lord Thorrir loudly enough, he hoped, for Lord Asgard to hear...

On the extreme flanks of the army, the order was not heard.  Furious at seeing his quarry escape, Borrin Basherson dashed toward the withdrawing Imperialist crossbow Dwarves, drew a pistol from under his beard, and fired at their retreating backs...but they were already too far out of range.  (he rolled a 2).  Borrin threw his pistol in the dirt and spat.

On the opposite flank, Old Snorri Hawkeye, his crew lying bleeding all around him, was in no mood to just let the Imperialists off the hook so easily.  He wheeled Jenni troll Slayer about to face the accursed skirmishers who had dropped his friends and loosed...  The skirmishers were hard to hit in their loose formation, and Jenni Troll Slayer's bolt stuck uselessly in the ground amoung the fleeing Dwarves.  (Snorri rolled a 3).

To Snorri's left, Old Hamm, seeing stars from having been hurling his halitosis at the Asgardians for so long, watched in amazement as the 3 regiments which had been closing in on him turned and legged it for parts unknown.  The Skull Poppers gazed at each other in astonishment...
"They're giving up!"  soomebody said.
"Ol' Hamm scared 'em off!"  somebody else shouted...then there was a wild cheer and the Skull Poppers were hoisting Old Hamm on their shoulders and carrying him about in triumph.

Lord Thorrir leant on his Thuner Hammer and gazed about the field.  There were wounds to bind, he thought, and dead to be wrapped up and carried home.  But the madmen had been driven off, and they could return now, those who had lived, to the Thunder Mount in triumph.  A little thunder muttered above the sunset and a drizzle of rain began to darken the dust. 

Soon they would be marching home...


Bearers of the Thunder

 Shown here are four great heroes frequently seen at the fore-front of the Expeditionary Forces of the Thunder Mountain Dwarves.  In the center, and most conspicuous, (as he invariably prefers to be), is the King's General, Sveinn Donnerkind.
 General Sveinn as he most prefers to be seen: from a vantage point somewhat lower than his own.

 Sveinn Donnerkind left the Thunder Mountain colony while still a young Dwarf, intending never to return.  Although there are none in the Black River country more formidable than Sveinn in a fight, Sveinn is in fact quite short, even for a Dwarf. In his youth his affections for a certain maiden were rejected, supposedly for reasons related to his small stature, and it is said that he has never quite recovered emotionally from this bitter rebuff.  Sveinn briefly considered taking the path of the Slayers, but decided that this choice was a bit too likely to result in death, and so he vanished from the lands of his forefathers, spending the next few decades wandering throughout the Old World, even straying as far afield as Lustria, before finally turning his steps once more toward home.  Though regarded at first with a degree of amusement and suspicion by his countrymen, the prodigal son soon proved the worth of his considerable experience gained in the far corners of the world.  Within a hundred years or so, he had worked his way up to the position of Commander of the King's Expeditionary forces. Though fearsome in combat, honest in his dealings, shrewd in command and wholly dedicated to the cause of his people, Sveinn is also vain and highly sensitive about his height and of the way he is perceived by others.  He cultivates an extravagant beard of rich golden curls, braided and sometimes decorated with gems.  To compensate for his relatively diminutive height, he wears a preposterously large helmet crowned with a set of enormous bull's horns, and has a habit of standing on top of things, (tree stumps, ale kegs, dead enemies, etc,) so that he can look down on others from a dignified height. 

When going to war, Sveinn wears the hide of a slain chaos beastman, late of the Horde of Buzzgobb Phesterlick, over his shoulders.  This habit is the source of a degree of tension between General Sveinn and Lord Thorirr Maull, the Lord of the Upper Hall, who also wears the skin of a dead beastman and claims, with some justification, to have been the first to have done so.  The inference, of course, is that General Sveinn is copying Lord Thorirr's rather flamboyant personal style, a charge which the General denies with some heat.
 The strange Dwarf known to most as The Hermit on the Mount has a proper name but he never uses it and neither does anyone else. The Hermit lives in a small cave just beneath the crown of Thunder Mountain's highest peak, and rarely emerges from it unless he is called to battle by General Donnerkind.  Then, let the enemies of the Dwarves beware!  For the hermit is an elemental sorcerer of fearsome reputation, and is certain to be in a bad mood when brought to battle, for he does not like to be disturbed from his meditations and communions with the spirits of Earth, Air, Water and Fire.  It is said that Dwarves and even men can go to him for advice, or for the telling of fortunes, though his price is high, and usually takes the form of complicated and life-endangering favors, rather than of coin.
 Hermann Hackemson was chosen by the King himself to bear the precious battle Standard of the Mountain Folk after Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, Chaos Warriors, and monsters of every description failed to kill him.  He seems to have been touched with a sort of unnatural luck which keeps him alive and intact long after everybody around him is dead.  Thus he makes an excellent army Standard Bearer.
Hamm Hanson, more commonly known as Ol' Hamm, has been around for about as long as anybody can remember, and has fought in more battles against Orcs, Chaos Creatures and Undead than he, himself, can say.  He tends to be by turns gentle and kindly and sharp and irritable. He is currently locked in ferocious combat with the armies of the Dwarf King Lord Asgard.


They're not everything I'd hoped for, but I'm still glad I'm finished with this set of Command figures for my Dwarf Army.   One of the Problems I had with the Sveinn figure was that the casting had seen a lot of use, and a lot of his detail had been worn off or distorted, (if you look carefully at his nose, you can see it's a bit squashed, like he's been in one too many brawls...actually, I think he's just been tipped over on his face too many times...)so I kind of struggled with him...I might try to find a fresher casting and try again with him someday.  As for the standard bearer, I'd love to be one of you marvelously talented fellows who draws and paints your own banners and shield designs freehand, but I can't even draw a straight line, so I am making do here with a photo copy of what I think is an epic 40k Squat standard...At least the standard has mountains on it, and I was able to get a mountain motif on the standard bearer's shield...

Still and all, for now, it's pretty pleasing to know that my army is a big leap closer to being a real army now that I have my General, Army Standard and 2 wizards painted.  After this I have a battery of stone throwers, 20 crossbowmen and 10 Giant Slayers to go to get to my near-term goal of a 2,000 point force...slowly but surely, the Army' coming along!