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!