Friday, October 19, 2012

The Plain of Crows Part 3: The Battle Rounds 1-3...

 Lord Thorrir's Deployment!

 Lord Thorrir's Companies advance out of the elemental plane of bricks and drywall and onto the Plain of Crows.  Order of deployment from left (foreground) to right (background) is:  Red Dragons, King's Axes, Skull Poppers, (With Old Hamm) and the bolt thrower.

 Units are deployed in even line abreast.  Front of base for all units is 8" from rear table edge.

Yellow string on my board marks left and right table edges.  Red Dragons are set up about 4 inches from (my) left table edge.  (From now on, we might consider establishing a North/South/East/West for internet games, just to help make it plain who is where and in which direction they are facing.)  Or maybe not.  I dunno.

Spacing between each of the infantry companies is about 2 inches.

Bolt Thrower is deployed 7" to the right of the Skull Popper's flank...Ach!  Eclipse!  Must work on improving the lighting situation in the war room prior to next game...

Private Weird's Table can be seen at his site,  here...

 The battlefield on my table...immediately prior to P.W.'s first turn...

                                                                   Round One

Table at the end of P.W.'s first turn...He has moved his entire line of battle forward their full six inches, and launched his wizard, via a flight spell, to within 7 inches of my bolt thrower.  On his right flank, he has formed his crossbowmen into a wedge...

View Lord Asgard's opening moves on Private Weird's table, here

...As Borrin Basherson led his Red Dragons out onto the plain of crows, and saw the great black birds skipping here and there amoung the heaps of ancient bones, he was chilled by a dark premonition, a fang of fear and doubt that cut at his heart...  A long line of dwarves stood upon the dark plain opposite Borrin and his comrades.  In the hands of some he could see short, powerful bows that looked like they might pack as fearful a punch as a crossbow.  Borrin and his lads had no bows with which to shoot back.  

Then the strangers began to sing, a deep bass rumbling and roaring that swelled and rolled across the dreary plain, and that was very odd, for the Dwarves of the Thunder Mount never sang in battle, but went into the fight grim and silent as death.  Suddenly Something jumped up quick in Borrin's mind, a memory from long ago of himself as a boy sitting at the feet of the old veteran, One-eye Wooden-leg, and listening in awe to old one-eye's tales of blood and death and glory.  "You take it from me, boy, said One-eye, drawing on his pipe, his lone blue orb blazing above his grey beard. Never volunteer.  Never volunteer for nothin'!!!"

"And here I am, thought Borrin,  I volunteered to accompany Lord Thorrir.  Perhaps not the smartest thing I've ever done."  Ach.  Forget it.  Such thoughts won't do.  He shook the darkness from him and led his battle brothers forward.  The Red Dragons occupied the left flank of the line of battle.  On their right, the King's Axes shifted their great blades off their shoulders and advanced in line with Borrin's company.  All along the line the Dwarves of  Thunder Mount advanced...

 Movement Phase: 

I move all my infantry companies straight forward their full three inches...

On the Far right of the Thunder Mountain Dwarves' line, the Crew of the Bolt Thrower Jenni Troll Spitter watched as the strange Dwarves stepped off and began advancing rapidly toward them in a long line.  Old Snorri Hawkeye, the spotter, gauged their rate of march through his spyglass as the crew screwed one of the great bolts back into it's sticking-place and leveled the giant crossbow at an oncoming company of Lord Asgard's Unifiers...
"Elevation:  seventeen!  Fix it there!  Alright lads...Here they come...Ready...5...4...3..."

There was a crack and a flash like thunder and lighting from the enemy lines and suddenly, with a great shout, a tall (for a dwarf) proud figure leapt skyward. Straight up out of the ranks of Lord Asgard's Unifiers he sprang, high into the air...impossibly high... his wild white beard and robes billowing about him, his blue eyes blazing, he looked down upon the Thunder mountain Dwarves from on high and shouted.
"LOOK!  He bellowed in a voice like an avalanche,  See what I can do!"
Like a falling star, he plummeted toward the ground and alighted a few yards in front of the startled crew of Jenni Troll Spitter, the power of his magic crackling about him, even as he touched the earth.

The bolt thrower crew glanced at each other for an instant, then, as one and without a word, bent immediately over their weapon, swung it round toward the wizard and launched one of their fearsome bolts directly at him...

Shooting Phase:  I fire my bolt thrower at the wizard.  I need a 4, 5 or 6 to hit, and roll a 6!  The war Gods like me today.  To wound the Wizard's toughness 4 with my strength 5 weapon, I need a 3 or better and roll a 5.  I'm on a roll.  My bolt thrower inflicts d4 wounds.  Anything but a 1 will kill the wizard.  My luck finally goes south as I roll a 1.  Still, pretty good.

In the front ranks of  Lord Thorrir's Skull Poppers, Old Hamm Hanson, the Wizard of the Thunder Mountain expeditionary Force, saw the enemy wizard no sooner touch the ground than be speared by a bolt from Jenni Troll Spitter.  Incredibly, the Wizard didn't fall.  The gallant old Dwarf staggered back, dragging the bolt from his body with a tremendous effort of will and casting it aside contemptuously. 

Hamm didn't hesitate. Stepping forward from out of the ranks of the Skull Poppers, he called upon the powers of the elementals, felt a terrific heat gathering within him and all about him...In an instant he was wreathed in smoke and flame!  Gathering a portion of this dreadful power into one of his gnarled old hands, he launched a ball of concentrated flame-power at the reeling wizard.

 Off balance from the pain of his wound, the courageous sorcerer was overcome by old Hamm's magic and consumed by the terrible fireball...

Magic Phase:  Old Hamm needs a 10 or lower to pass his spell casting check this turn and rolls a cool 3.  He throws his fireball.  He rolls to see how many wounds he inflicts and rolls a 5.  3 wounds.  at strength 3, his fireballs need a 5 or 6 to wound Lord Asgard's wizard.  I roll two 3's and one 5.

Borrin Basherson saw a cloud of flame and smoke blossom on the far side of the Dwarven line and heard a roar of approval from his comrades on the right flank and center.  He couldn't see what had happened, but it sounded good...well, whatever had happened, they were still outnumbered, and these Unifiers still looked like tough customers.  Ahead of him, he could see the enemy archers reforming into a wedge.  He knew there was no way he could reach them before their arrows began to fall inside his formation.  Some of his brothers would die.

On the right flank Lord Thorrir grinned through the drifting smoke as he jogged forward with his Skull Poppers..  The joy of battle was rising in his limbs, and his mighty Thunder Hammer was light in his hand...

Reserve Move Phase:
On the left and center my Red Dragons and King's Axes move forward 3 inches...The Skull Poppers and bolt thrower, who were engaged this turn, cannot exploit the reserve move phase and lag behind a bit now.

Round Two

The battlefield at the end of Private Weird's second turn, seen from behind P.W.'s lines.  P.W.  is shuffling Lord Asgard's company toward his right flank, screening them with his spear regiment as they move.  The crossbows fire at the Skull Poppers and have inflicted 2 wounds on them. The rest of the army advances slowly but menacingly toward the Lord Thorrir's line.

You can watch Private Weird take his turn here!

On the Left flank of the Thunder Mountain line, Borrin Basherson heard the Captain of Lord Asgard's crossbowmen shout a command and braced himself.  To his surprize, the arbalestiers turned away from him and fired across the Red Dragons' front, toward the Thunder Mountain right.

"Heads up, Lads!"  shouted Lord Thorrir as a shower of bolts arced toward them.  Instinctively, the Dwarves hunched forward, as if they were marching into a strong wind, trying to make themselves smaller.  One bolt rang off Lord Thorirr's gleaming shield, but another buried itself in a Skull Popper's thigh.  The Dwarf shouted angrily and fell out of line, trying vainly to pull the barbed shaft from his leg.  He was soon left far behind his mates. 

Private Weird's crossbows score two wounds on the Skull Poppers.  I roll a 1 and a 6 for their armor saves.  1 Skull Popper down.

As the armies closed the distance between their lines the companies began to jostle and maneuver for advantage.  With a shout, Lord Thorirr ordered his line to pivot left and wheel forward. A drum rustled and trumpets rang as the Thunder Mountain line swumg sharply forward, pivoting smoothly on Lord Thorirr's Skull Poppers...

Movement Phase:

The entire Dwarf line wheels 90 degrees left, with the front left trooper in each formation moving a full three inches from his start point....
...the front right corner of Ol' Hamm Hanson's base should be just about exactly 11' from Mouse's table edge when the move is finished.

Shooting Phase:
On the fire right, Jenni Troll Spitter's crew swung her round and back onto the enemy regiment they had initially targeted.  They couldn't afford to make any mistakes...Only they and their war machine stood between the enemy army and Lord Thorirr's flank, but their blood was up now and they quickly gauged the distance and fired at the 12-strong company of Dwarves nearest to Lord Asgard's spearmen.  Fierce exhultation gripped them as they let their weapon fly and watched the long, deadly bolt lance directly into the enemy ranks.

My remarkable string of good dice rolls remains unbroken.  I roll a 5 and hit the enemy unit.  Rolling to wound, I roll a 5 again, which wounds the dwarf easily.  The bolt passes through to the second rank.  I need a 4 to wound the second Dwarf and I do, indeed, roll exactly that.  Passing through this Dwarf, the rapidly slowing bolt now rolls a 3 to wound, which is not enough to wound. 
The wounded Dwarves need to roll armor saves in succession. (if applicable). If the first Dwarf makes his save, the bolt is stopped and the second Dwarf does not need to roll.

 Magic Phase:  Ol' Hamm decides to forego fireballs in the interests of speed.  (He wants to be able to move in the reserve phase)  so no magic this turn.

Lord Thorirr grinned as he watched his companies swing  into line line like a well oiled machine and continue their advance.  Then glancing back toward the enemy, he saw something happening which he had not expected....  

The enemy spearmen had moved forward in a long line, screening The Unifier's company as it turned and began a rapid flank march behind them.  Thorirr cursed and spat savagely on the rocks.  Asgard was avoiding him!  Coward!!!!  A battle of attrition was not what Thorirr wanted.  He wanted a direct fight with Asgard!  Things were not going the way he had intended...the army continued it's advance...The Red Dragons on the left stuggling to keep up now...

 Reserve Move Phase:

The whole army (except the bolt thrower), moves forward a full 3 inches...the Skull Poppers and King's Axes are on line with each other.  The Red Dragons, who had the farthest to turn, are now 3 inches behind everybody else...

Just a thought:  Although I do like using real-world dice, I wouldn't be against using the dice rolling link that Thantsants gave us.  Not because I'm worried about any of the other Oldhammerers cheating, but because I wouldn't want anybody to think that I'm fudging this remarkably good series of rolls that I've been getting...hopefully my good luck will abandon me soon...

Round Three

Watch P.W. take his third turn here!

The Dwarves of Thunder Mount ground their teeth as another cloud of arrows rose into the air and fell toward their lines...This time it was The King's Axes who were the target.  With no shields to protect them, they were soon falling out of ranks, some wounded, some dying..."Don't stop lads!"  Shouted Captain Floi Haybeard, We've got to grab 'em by the belt!  Shake a leg!"  The Dwarves surged forward, desperate to get out of the killing zone and into close quarters with their enemies...

P.W.'s turn and movement phase:

As P.W.'s army advances, his archers fire on my King's Axes...these are the only troops in my army who didn't have shields, and so they get no armor save...three gallant Dwarf Guardsmen down.
 Lord Thorirr snarled in frustration as he watched Lord Asgard's column flank march into a new position directly in front of Floi Haybeard's axe-dwarves.  He felt himself pinned on the horns of an unpleasant dilemma: should he leave Hamm and the Skull Poppers to hold the army's flank on their own, or leave Floi to battle it out with Lord Asgard alone?  He had to make a decision...  Abruptly vomiting a stream of curses, he turned and grabbed old Hamm Hanson by the shoulder.  "Hamm!  Hold the flank.  Hold them off as long as you can!  I'm going to help Floi!"
"Hrrmm??  Me??" stammered the old Wizard...
But Lord Thorrir was already gone, his short, tree-trunk legs propelling him at a surprizing pace toward the King's Axes...
All three Dwarf regiments advance 3 inches straight forward toward the enemy.  Lord Thorrir leaves the Skull Poppers and runs 3 inches toward The King's axes...

Shooting Phase:

Back at the Bolt Thrower, the crew watched a Dwarf go down under their fire and hauled another bolt back into place, grinning as they did so.  As they worked, they heard a faint voice waft over the no-mans land between the two armies...a gallant, last call of defiance....
"What did he say?"  asked a crewman...
"Something about the Dwarves stand united, I think..."  said his mate.
"But...THEY attacked US!"  said the first crewman...
"Hey, pay atttention!  snapped Snorri, don't shoot yet!  Garn!"
The great bolt hurtled prematurely from the giant crossbow and stuck, shivering, in the ground at the feet of the first rank of Lord Asgard's Dwarves.
Relieved, Lord Asgard's warriors could hear Snorri Hawkeye loudly berating his crew on the other side of the field...

 I fire my bolt thrower at the same unit I hit last time.  Jenni Troll Slayer has done me good service so far in this game, but this time I roll a 3.  Close, but I need a 4 or better to hit.  Miss. 

Magic Phase:

Old Hamm Hanson, Distracted, perhaps by the sudden disappearance of Lord Thorrir, casts a fireball at the 10-strong unit of Dwarves, but the Elemental powers are not with him this time.  Although he easily passes his spell casting check, he only manages to conjure up up 1 fireball, which rolls a three to wound.  Not enough.  A couple of Lord Asgard's Dwarves get their beards slightly singed, but that's all.

Reserve Phase:
On the left flank, the Red Dragons move forward their full 3 inches.
In the center, The King's Axes move forward two inches, slowing their pace a little to allow Lord Thorrir to take his place in the front right corner of their formation.  The Skull Poppers hold fast.
Snorri Hawkeye punches one of his crewmen in the head for missing, but other wise the bolt thrower does nothing.

My positions at the end of my turn:

The front LEFT figure in the Red Dragons is 11" from my left side of the table, and 24" from my rear table edge.

 The front Right figure in the King's Axes is now Lord Thorrir, and he is 21" from my rear table edge

The front right figure in the Skull Poppers is still Hamm Hanson, and he is 16 1/2" from my rear table edge


  1. Hey Mouse,

    Looks good. I like your measurement idea. Let me just go and try and match that set-up and post it. And then let's dice for first turn. This should take me about 15 minutes, hopefully. Talk soon.

  2. Mouse, I'm busting a gut laughing at my attempted mirror of your set-up - I think I blew the forest placement - your left flank is about to walk into a forest!!! How far do your forests extend out from the table-edge?

  3. Fine. Laugh at my tactical acumen. (or lack thereof).

    You are actually right. The woods are directly in front of my Red Dragons...Don't worry. I have a plan. It may not be a GOOD plan, but I have a plan.

    We should each have a wood about 2 feet deep and 1 foot wide on the left corner of our table edges...

  4. wait...that's not right...arrgh! Let me check!

  5. Ok...a 2 foot deep and a 1 foot wide forest should be in the RIGHT corners of our respective table edges...sorry...and yes, my Red Dragons should be marching straight toward your forest...

    1. Hey, this whole mirroring is definitely part of the fun! I'll publish my set-up in a couple of minutes.

  6. Ok, whew, posted my deployment. Hey, Mouse, I think I'm going to roll for first turn now, (I gotta be up in a couple of hours). I rolled a...5!

    1. Ok...Let's see if I can beat your roll, and then I'll set up the unifiers while you turn in...I guess after that, we can just take our turns at our convenience...

      I rolled a...(drum roll)


      hrrmmm....bird of ill omen...Merde! First move to you...

  7. Alright! I'll start my first turn tomorrow, well I guess later today, probably after 10:30pm sometime...this is fun already! And yes, we'll just take turns whenever each of us can. Thanks again for embarking on this adventure with me, Mouse!

    Have a great game!

    1. Sounds great! And thanks for the game...I think you had a really good idea here..this should be interesting and fun..

  8. This will surely be a sorry tale in the Dwarf sagas!

    I know you're both relying on trust for the dice rolls which is most admirable and should be the way in any game, but I wonder if this would help at all -

    Its what we're using for our remote game that is almost ready to kick off...

    As for lighting - I've found even with three lamps there are still dark shadowy area!

    1. Thanks very much for the tip on dicelog, Thantsants! I think this could be a useful resource...

      As for lighting...The Big Board is set up in an ancient attic with only one electrical outlet. I do have skylights, which helps, but I have a long way to go, I think, before I can really put together some nice-looking battle reports. My goal is to get some nice overhead hanging lamps, and then one or two free-standers with bendy-necks so I can tweak the lighting as much as possible. Also, some nice landscapes on the walls. It would be much more satisfying, I think, if I could see Lord Thorrir's warriors marching out of a nice pastoral or alpine backdrop than materializing out of the wall!

    2. AHHHHHHHH!!! You killed Grendir Bagotrix!!!! How could you???!!! He was just an old wizard flying through the air...who was hoping against hope to cast Hammerhand and somehow charge that pesky bolt thrower!!

      Anyway, Mouse, grand, grand stuff! I love your write-up, as always. The contrast idea works really well too, ie. your silent grim lot and my singing fools, er, I mean my singing Heroes, Every One of Them. And I find it very enjoyable seeing our mirroring in action. It feels kind of like a pleasant trip to a Parallel Plane or Bizarro World, or both. But speaking of mirroring, should I move some trees over on your right flank so they are closer to your bolt thrower? The ones on my table seem further away.

      As for Dicelogs and such, Thantsants, that is a nice suggestion, but Mouse, I am all about enjoying this little piece of theatre we are creating and I completely trust you and any dice roll you will make. I hope you this will work for you too. Besides this is game for Gentlemen and Veteran Gamers, I'm sure between the two of us we have had hundreds of games over the years. And having said that, Hey! Look! I just rolled all 6's for my crossbows!!! (He-he) Anyway, I'll post my next turn in the next couple of days. See you on the battlefield...

  9. Hi Mouse,

    I just posted my Turn 2 on my blog. Please put your save results in my comment section.

    I love this game so far!!

  10. Hey Mouse,

    I'm just about to set up your Turn 2 on my table. I hope to have my Turn 3 posted in about an hour or so...

    Hey, don't worry about the dice. I trust you. And all of the Classic Warhammer Enthusiasts reading your blog I'm sure will trust your dice rolls too. And besides, a dicelog just doesn't feel very 1987.

  11. I just rolled my saves (or rather lack of them) from your poxy bolt thrower! My first guy had no save (he just has light armour and a shield), the second one failed his attempt. Two beautiful pre-slotta guys down. Mouse, you must stop this already!

  12. Alright, Turn 3 is up on the blog!

    There are a couple saves for you to make (but you really don't have to make them...)

  13. Hey Mouse,

    Looks great! I know I have said this before, but I really enjoy seeing our game from two point of views, and seeing our parallel-universe tables! And Mouse, I really dig looking at your Dwarves, both your army and the ones you chose for my army.

    I have my Sister-in-law and her family invading (I mean staying in) my downstairs this weekend. And they go to bed at 10:00! And my table with our game is down there with them. Anyway, I'll aim to post my next turn sometime late Monday night. This is a wonderful adventure so far!

  14. Hi Mouse,

    My Turn 4 is now up on the blog.

    1. Ok! Thanks, PW.! I should have mine up tomorrow...This is fun...