Thursday, October 31, 2013

ORCTOBER OFFENSIVE!!! Or: Slahzgore Ironbelly's Orc Chariot! Or: Mouse's Oldhammer Orc Army so far...

In honor of Ernie's ORCTOBER project, I end this month as I began it, with an Orcy post!  I originally intended to have my first regiment of undead, a nice unit of skeleton reapers, ready for Halloween, but I was only able to finish about half of them.   Oh, well.  Next year, maybe.  Anyway, I got Slahzgore Ironbelly painted, and here he is, in his Orcy chariot, along with the rest of what I've got for my painted Orc and Gobbo collection so far....

 Slahzgor is an Orc hero well known for his daring and murderous depredations in the Black River country.  I plan to use him as my Army Commander until I really get the army rolling.  Eventually, when I get up to around 3k points or so, I'll bring in Big Blackie, my Level 25 Black Orc Horde Commander, and Slahzgor will become an independent character model, but for now I think he'll do for a general..  According to Warhammer Armies, Orcs are supposed to have Wolf Chariots, but that just seems all wrong to me, so I swapped the wolves out for some old school boars.  Note the raven nailed to the front of the chariot, a crude and defiant message undoubtedly aimed at the Baron von Refn, whose famous Raven Standard has flown above many an Orcish defeat in this region over the last twenty years or so.
So far I've got Slahzgor, here, Bungole Bushwhacka, another independent character, 36 Gobbos, 24 Orc arrer boys and the Leadbelcher.  Not a bad start, but I've got a long way to go to hit my goal of 6,000 points.  
To get the army 'legal' I need the compulsory 20 Orc warriors and 20 stickas, all of whom are currently sitting rather impatiently on a bookshelf, giving me dirty looks and waiting for me to get around to them. Another unit I want to get to soon is a nifty company of 20 Orc boys with extra hand weapons.  (Still need to acquire 4 troopers to finish the unit).  Anyway, hopefully I'll get another regiment or two done before the end of the year, and get them into action against the Baron and the Dwarves of Thunder Mount in the New Year.  

 Happy Orctober!
"ERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!!!"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Report: My Expedition to the Lost Worlds

 So.  This past weekend I climbed into my time machine and traveled to my childhood buddy John's house for a weekend of old-school gaming.  I brought Fourth Reich and Full Metal Planete, a lovely old game, and my Lost Worlds books and minis, which I was eager to try out.  John had purchased Black Morn Manor just for the occasion and we were looking forward to giving that a spin as well, but the only game we ended up playing was Lost Worlds, 'cause we had just that much fun with it.  Even John's wife Maggie was charmed by the concept of the characterful little books with their matching minis and tried a couple of games.

 LW is a very fast and very simple game, but we were impressed by the amount of work which must have gone into the system to make it function as smoothly and in as much detail as it does.  The game books themselves are strictly bare-bones, and provide you with NO background, fluff, or scenarios.  I can see that after a short time, simply matching one character against another would get pretty monotonous,  but I can also see a good deal of potential in it for creating your own fun little scenarios and adventures, especially when you just don't have the time or space for something like an Oldhammer game.

 I had books and minis for 6 characters:  The Skeleton, Wraith, Dwarf, Barbarian, Forest Troll and Gargoyle.  First in the arena were the Dwarf and Skeleton, and in the ensuing series of combats, the Dwarf soon emerged as a top contender.  He quickly reduced the skeleton to kindling  in three back-to-back fights, then took down the wraith and the barbarian in that order, and without  much more trouble.

Next we tried pitting the Wraith and Gargoyle against each other.  I had assumed that the Wraith would be pretty tough...y'know...Nazgul and that...but he actually folded up very quickly under the Gargoyle's attacks.  Weenie. 

We then decided to give the Gargoyle a worthy adversary and put him up against the Dwarf, our champion up to that point.  In the first fight, the Gargoyle broke the Dwarf's axe coming out of the gate, leaving the stout little chap with a huge negative damage modifier and no way to inflict a significant wound on his enemy.  After a few rounds of stubborn but pointless resistance, the Dwarf wisely decided to head for the hills at a brisk jog, leaving the Gargoyle in possession of the field.

After stopping for an hour or so in a nearby grove to replace his broken axe-handle, our Dwarf returned to try again.  A tough and lengthy contest ensued in which the Gargoyle soon proved his worth.  I had assumed that he would be designed as a fairly weak hand-to-hand opponent, with  his main asset being his air-mobility.  In fact, the gargoyle was tough, with a lot of hit points, good damage modifiers and a collection of nasty special flying attacks.  After a hard fight, the Dwarf, hitherto undefeated, finally succumbed.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we managed to squeeze in a few more games before I had to go.  We decided to try Skeleton vs. Wraith, and these two managed to kill each other with a single blow each in the very first round of close combat, confirming our suspicion that they were both strictly featherweights.

For the very last game, we brought out the Forest Troll, and pitted him against a team of two:  The Dwarf and the Barbarian. It was the best game yet.  The Troll has a LOT of advantages, including many, many hit points, and I assumed he would stomp my two companions pretty quickly and thoroughly, but the devious adventurers quickly learned that if the Barbarian struck high while the Dwarf struck low on each round, the Troll was only able to parry one of the two attacks, leaving himself open to the other.  Although it didn't wok perfectly every time, and the Troll did manage to deliver one shrewd buffet to the Barbarian's head, the fight was clearly moving in the direction of the Troll's defeat.  By getting in an arm wound from the barbarian on one round, and a leg wound from the Dwarf the next, it seemed clear that the bearded duo would eventually wear the Troll down through the use of their cunning Wolf-Pack tactics.

Then came the turning point.  The Barbarian crowned the superb fight he had been putting up so far by delivering a tremendous downward cut onto the Troll's bony head, shearing away 11 of the monster's remaining hit-points and dazing him.  It was a coup to make his tribesmen back home stand up and cheer, but it had the unfortunate additional effect of driving the Troll into a berserk rage.  The triggering of the Troll's RAGE feature had the potential to be a real game-changer.  The Troll flung his club at the barbarian, a desperate gambit which at least temporarily deprived the troll of his primary death delivery system, but the Troll was down to his last hit point and the risk was well run.  The flying tree-trunk struck the barbarian in the head, dropping him below zero hit points, knocking him out cold and putting him out of the fight.  Left to carry on alone, the Dwarf valiantly refused to leave his fallen comrade.  Knowing it was all or nothing now, he hurled himself at the Troll in a series of all-out attacks.  The Troll kept jumping back, using his regenerate ability to recoup two of his lost body points each turn.  When he'd brought himself back to five hit points, he felt sufficiently prepared to rejoin the fight.  At precisely the same moment, the two combatants stepped forward and met each other toe-to-toe.  Simultaneously each struck out and brought a magnificent blow down about the head and shoulders of the other.  The stroke of the Dwarf's bright steel axe clove the Troll's bony pate in two, taking him below -5 hit points and killing him outright.  At the same moment, the Troll's great tree-trunk club rang off the Dwarf's helm, bringing him below zero, but not below -5 body points, so that he was stretched senseless on the ground.   The Troll was dead, but the Dwarf and Barbarian would eventually come to, collect their loot and drag themselves painfully off to the local bar to soothe their wounds with beer and and the attentions of buxom tavern girls.

Ah.  A game well played and enjoyed.

At last it was time to pack up my toys and my wife and make the tiresome journey back to the tiresome present.  But I'm certain that this won't have been our last expedition to the Lost Worlds!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Diggelchum Smegmarr's Chaos Trolls

Diggle was a little man of no account.  Small, ugly and a simpleton.  He had one talent, though.  He could talk to the bears.  Day and night, Summer, Winter, Spring, the little carnival bumped and creaked along the forest paths of Kislev and the Empire, moving slowly from village to Hamlet, always avoiding the great cities.  Some of the Carnival Folk complained to Shivv that they could make more money in the great towns, but Shivv kept them on the narrow forest tracks, always working the little communities where most folk never went more than twenty miles from their homes in their whole lives, and where the carnival people need fear no pursuit when a woman or a child went missing.

Diggle didn't talk to the others, much.  He had his bears.  The great beasts walked and rolled and tumbled and danced at his command, to the delight of  his audience.  At night he slept between their great furred flanks, needing no blanket, not even in the bitter cold.  They were his great, black-furred children, and while he had them, he had no need for the company of men.  One night when the little carnival had strayed south into warmer and unfamiliar lands, strange men came into their camp.  The men wore tall hats and long cloaks and their hard eyes caught and held the campfire light in a manner that made Diggle afraid. They poked amoung the wagons and asked Shivv many questions.  Then they left.  After that Shivv would have no more of those climes.  He led them east, into remoter lands, nearer the borders of the realms of men, where he hoped the people would be less clever in reading certain signs that were beginning to make themselves more apparent on the flesh of himself and his followers. 

They crossed many rivers and passed through many lands, but the people here were tough and wary of strangers, and the carnival found little welcome.  Women were chaste and not easily baited.  Men never walked alone, but always in little clusters.  Mothers watched their children like hawks.  There were no easy pickings amoung these frontier people.  Shivv had brought them to the very edge of the known world, in a strange, narrow country on the banks of a wide, dark river, when he decided to turn north again, and back to more familiar climes.  But then they began to get sick.

They had always been a somewhat sickly bunch, but this weird new malady laid hold of their bodies with a ruthless, withering gripe.  Beast and man sickened, and Diggle lay amoung his beloved charges, shivering and weeping to hear them moaning in their pain. Ecclavia said it was because they had given no sacrifices to the Master, that he was angry with them for ignoring him and that he had unleashed his terrible judgement like a fire within their flesh.  But there was little they could do.  When the people had seen the carnival folk begin to sicken they had driven them from them.  The little clutch of brightly painted wagons lay far out in a meadow, watched from a distance by mailed horsemen who carried tall spears.
On the last night Ecclavia was caught trying to steal a babe from the village to give to the Master.  It had been a desperate gamble, and it had failed.  The women of the town belabored Ecclavia with stones and Axe handles, and put flame to her flesh while she yet breathed.  Shivv and a few others who were still hale enough to move tried to make off north, following the river, but the horsemen espied them, pursued them, speared them and cast their bodies into the dark waters.  Then they went amoung the wagons, where they killed and burned everything they could find.
Diggle crawled off into the darkness, weeping, moaning, biting his flesh in his grief.  Behind him he heard his children, moaning and roaring in anger and confusion and pain as they died.  How he escaped the watchful eyes of the horsemen and the priests, he never knew.  Nor did it seem possible to him that he could have crossed the great river, for he knew not how to swim, but cross it he did, somehow:  some great power led him on.  The land east of the river was a great desert of sharp stones and tall dry grass.  He was thirsty and starving, and the fever burned in his flesh, melting him and changing him, but he hobbled on, searching for the Master, whom he knew was somewhere not far away.  Sometimes he thought he could see the Master in the clouds, a great, bloated, Kingly mass,a horned and eyeless head that seemed to stoop and study him in bemused mirth.  Later, he remembered long conversations with the Master in these moments.  He spoke of his pets, and of his grief at their loss.  He spoke of the greatness of the Master, and of  how he would serve, if only he could.  

He came at last to a pool, a black welter amoung the sharp stones, and here the great beasts found him.  They were huge and tall and strong, like his children.  Much mightier than he.  He waited for them to rend and devour him, but they sat down around him in a crescent and studied him, as if waiting for him to tell them what to do.  At last he rose and went to the pool to drink, and there he saw his reflection, and now he knew why the great beasts seemed to wait upon his word.  He had changed.  The fever had melted part of him like candlewax, but the other half of him had grown massive and strong.  His face had formed into a parody of his former self, crowned with a pair of mighty horns, split with a wild grin that reminded him of old Otho, the Carnival clown.  His suppurating flesh was enclosed in splendid steel armor and in his one good hand he carried a mighty staff shod in iron that throbbed with the sacred Word of the Master.  He turned and looked at the great misshapen things hunkered by the pool, watching him in fascination, and he knew the Master had sent them to him.  He knew the Master loved him.
Digglechun Smegmarr is a Champion in the Chaos horde of Buzzgobb Phesterlick.  He Always goes into battle leading his 3 beloved "Children, " his mutant Chaos Trolls.  Mutant troll models are hard to find in Citadel lines, but I liked all three of these models a lot, and used them.  The 2-headed fellow is a Reaper model, the horned, skull-faced one is by RAFM, and the 1-of-everything troll is by Alternative Armies, part of their great ERIN line.  It's been months since I added anything to Buzzgobb's horde, (shame on me) but I'm painting furiously, trying to get to 3,000 points before the end of the year.  The painting table/pile has an Army Commander and Standard bearer and a beastmen regiment standing on it, partly finished. 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lost Worlds Characters Pt. 1: Skeleton, Forest Troll and Gargoyle

 So my latest retro-gaming obsession, (like I need another one, right?) are these little Lost Worlds combat books that were published some thirty years ago by NOVA games, and which always looked interesting to me.  The fact that each one of the Lost Worlds character booklets was modeled after a specific Ral Partha miniature from RP's mid-eighties glory days whet my appetite even further.  Best of all, they're dirt cheap.  I got all of mine for $4 or $5 each, and about 90% of the minis are still available from Iron Wind Metals.  The concept looks very simple and entertaining. Good for whiling away an evening when friends can't stay long enough for a full blown game of Warhammerocalypse. 

Curiously, the miniatures don't matter one bit to the game unless you get one of the deluxe boxed adventure sets, both of which I got recently outrageously cheap on that glorious triumph of the free market system we know as ebay.  Woo hoo!  Got to love those auctions that end at odd hours.  The adventure sets each contain a 3-d tactical map of a dungeon setting in which your characters can maneuver on each other as they try to get hold of various ancient and powerful magical artifacts.  Eagerly anticipating their arrival in the mail.

Going to spend most of next weekend at my childhood friend and fellow geek John's house and am looking forward to trying a few games with these three fellows, as well as the Barbarian, Wraith and Dwarf.  (Which I obtained a long time ago but which I've yet to paint up.)

A quick glance through the books hints that each character has a set of strengths and weaknesses unique to himself, and the book points out that not all characters are created equal. Some are much stronger than others, and will probably have to be teamed up on by a gang of weaker characters.  The Forest Troll, here, for example, has almost three times the hit points of your average human character and can take on 2 opponents at once, something few creatures can apparently do.  The skeleton is weak, but can regenerate damage by picking up the bones you knock off of him and fitting them back into his frame.  The gargoyle is also considerably tougher than the average human character, and, obviously, has the advantage of a pair o' wings.

So...warming up the time machine, and we'll see how my weekend expedition to the Lost World of goofy 80's nerd-gaming goes.  With any luck, I shan't return.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ogre: Pan European Artillery

Steve Jackson's Ogre was one of my first loves in wargaming.  My friend John and I played my plastic little boxed versions of Ogre and GEV until the cut-out counters and rule books practically fell apart.  Still love the game, but as I get to be older and increasingly tired-eyed and cantankerous, I found I've lost patience with tiny bits of card-board printed in eye-splittingly miniscule type jumping around on folded paper maps.

Miniatures, then.  The Ogre Miniatures game has been out for about a hundred years, but its only been in the last year or so that I've begun to seriously consider investing in it.  Recently I broke down and bought my first box of Ogre miniatures, and have started daydreaming scenarios during idle hours. The boxed sets available online are really reasonably priced, I think, given what some metal minis go for, and quite nice.  I was pleased to find that I could get enough infantry and vehicles together to play the Ogre basic scenario for only about a hundred U.S.  The only thing that bugs me is that the infantry minis are not in scale with the vehicles, but I can see why they did it that way.

The little campaign backdrop I'm dreaming up is set on the English Channel coast.  These guns belong to the 19th Normandie Division, one of the many territorial formations which were called upon again and again to repel raids by the Combine from across the English Channel.  If Steve Jackson Games ever released sets of decals for Ogre minis, I haven't been able to find them yet.  Too bad, 'cause I have zero talent for painting insignia free hand.  So, instead of the Pan European hoplite helmet device, I've marked these batteries with  their divisional badge, in this case, the Fleur de Lis common to many territorial divisions of the former French republic.

Next up will be an Infantry PanEuropean battlesuit battalion and command post, or a Mark III ogre, I'm not sure which I want to just yet.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Narchukk Tounge-Cutter's Arrer Boys

He came swimming up slowly from out of a deep slumber.  The room and the bed seemed unfamiliar to him, and waking, he wondered for a moment where he was.  Then he remembered.  The tiny cabin in the little fort on the bank of the river, built in great haste under the eve of approaching winter. Miles from home.  It had been the dogs who had broken his sleep.  He could hear them moving restlessly along the walls, where the light of the dying fire did not reach, whining and huffing, their nails scrabbling at the logs near to the ground.  Hans von Hirschfeld pushed himself up on one elbow and called softly.  The two great hunting mastiffs glided to him out of the gloom.  They were visibly agitated.  And now, outside the cabin he could hear activity; his men moving about, talking in low tones.    Von Hircshfeld  rose and dressed quickly.  Behind him his Bretonnian mistress sat up in bed and squinted at him for a moment in puzzlement, then as suddenly retreated into the soft shelter of their blankets and sweet oblivion of sleep.

Buckling on his sword belt, von Hirshfeld opened the cabin door and came face to face with Johann, his Corporal of the Guard.  "Sir, Johann said softly. I was coming to wake you. One of the sentries heard something and called stand to."
"Heard what?" Hirschfeld queried.
"Metal on metal, and a voice, in the trees opposite the gate."
"Who?"  von Hirschfeld queried again.
"Soderson, Sir."
Pieter Soderson.  A good man.  Trusty.  Not one to go jumping at night-birds.
Von Hircshfeld made his way across the diminutive courtyard to where the little fort's crude door hung on it's ill-fitting iron hinges.  A few men were gathered there in the light of a guttering torch.  They made their obeisances at his approach.  One of them was Soderson.

"On my life, I heard it, Lord.  said Soderson upon being questioned.  They're quiet as shadows now, but they're out there."  Von Hirshfeld's dogs seemed to agree.  They swept their muzzles along the ground near the gate and pushed them high in the air, scenting, listening, hackles high, eyes aglow in the dark.   

And who are they?  Von Hirschfeld wondered silently to himself.  No sooner had he finished his thought then they all heard a sound, a tiny sound they might well have missed in the light of day, but one which sounded like a cannon shot to their straining ears, a soft slap or a snap, as it might be a bough that had been pushed forward and then slapped back into a tree trunk or into somebody's eye.  There was a grunt and a muffled curse.

Hans von Hirschfeld drew himself up and shouted as loud as he could.

"Who trespasses in the lands of the Baron von Refn??!!  Make yourselves known, or should we see you, we'll shoot!!"

His voice rang loud under the still and silent boughs.  It was a black and breathless night.  No moon, and not a whisper of wind.  And the real dark of the forest night...Von Hirschfeld doubted himself for a moment, wondering if he'd made the challenge too soon.  In the shadows, images threw themselves up before his idle eyes.  The little village of Frog Hollow, the Tilean immigrants...burning houses...dead women, dead children...not just dead, but ripped asunder by unclean horrors from across the river, torn clothes and fleshy tatters hanging from the trees...The Baron had stayed at Frog Hollow to personally supervise it's reconstruction.  But he had sent Von Hirschfeld on east, to build a little outpost on the river's edge.  And here he was.  Himself, ten retainers, his page, Rolli, and three of the Baron's own men, stout swordsmen all.  Fifteen men.  Fifteen men against the wilderness.  Von Hirschfeld's imagination peopled the darkness outside the fort with horrors...had they come back, the Mad Hunt?  Or some other nightmare servants of the Chaos Lord Buzzgobb Phesterlick?  His heart beat slowly.  The echoes of his voice faded.

A harsh, cracked voice called out, at last, in response.  "Oh, it's Baron Yar-Yar's country, is it?  I call this our country!  We wuz here afore you, I think."

Hans von Hirschfeld breathed a little easier.  Orcs, then.  Tough customers, to be sure.  But right now, anything seemed preferable to misshapen horrors from out of Lost Veguzz.  At least he knew what he was up against.

"You are confused, I think, in your geography, he called out.  The west bank is my Lord, The Baron's country, whatever foul ancestor of yours may have laid claim to it in elder days."

There was a cacophony of hideous laughter amoung the twisted bowels of the trees, a chorus of harsh, gravelly cackles, raspings and croakings.  Von Hirschfeld tried to count the voices amoung the echoes.

"'Ere, now! came a deeper voice, and closer than the others, from just beyond the gate.  You can sit in dere all night n' say it's your boss as runs dis land.  But who's hidin' behind walls like a scared rabbit in a thorn bush, eh?  And who owns da night all round ya?  Ere!  Boss Humie!  Listen up!  I like this little hut you got.  Tell you take your lads and march on out, right?  Tonight.  You can take yer weppons and yer gear and such...that's jest to show you you got no needs ta worry...and we'll let you go and leave ya be.  But leave us the hut and all the grub and sich as you got where it is.  An ya can keep yer heads.  An that's that.  Can't say fairer than that eh? Eh?  Anyhow I got a hundurd lads out here, so way I see it, my way's the only way you're ever gettin' out.  Whaddaya says, eh?"

In the dim yellow light of the torch, faces turned to look at Hans von Hirschfeld.  Some fearful, some confident, some smirking in their contempt for the greenskin's offer.  From out of the dark, the boy Rolli appeared with his arms full of Von Hirschfeld's armor.  With the help of some of the men near the gate, he began to array his master for battle.

"I believe you to be somewhat impaired in your understanding of our ways!  called von Hirschfeld over the gate.  You see, my Lord has tasked me with the defense of this fort, and until he commands otherwise, I will not budge from it.  Nor think you that you can pass us by and go west looking for gentler folk to rob and murder, for as soon as you are gone we will track you, and ours is not the only stronghold you'll find in your path. If you go further west you'll have foes to your front and foes behind and soon come to grief.  If you desire this fort so much, by all means, come and try to take it, but I'd advise against it.  I've got twenty fighters in here, which is about as many as you've got, unless I miss my guess.  There's nothing for you here but strong walls and hard knocks.  Best you go back across the river, where you belong!"

Silence, for a moment, from amoung the trees.  Then:

"Nar!  You can't squeeze twenty lads into that bitty little shack!  Anyway, I knows ya - you're the Red Hind chief.  We met in the little scrap on Bad Moon Rise, I fink you remember it...I put one a my arrers in ya in dat fight...'An I know you always travel with the same ten crossbow boys.  So ten's all you got!"  Orcs had difficulty speaking the language of the Black River folk, and found their names altogether un-pronouncable.  Therefore they often referred to individual knights by their heraldic devices.  The Von Hirschfeld insignia was a scarlet stag's head.  Clearly, the Orc chief understood the speech of his enemies well enough to use the feminine of the word for deer as a deliberate insult.

"Ten of my men and ten of the Baron's!"  Von Hirschfeld insisted untruthfully, while Rolli struggled to get his master's greaves on.  "But you needn't take my word for it. Come in and see for yourself, foul Narchukk Tounge-Cutter, as I know you, now, to be...and we'll settle old accounts!" 

In the deep shadow under night-clad pine and oak, Narchukk Tounge Cutter sat glaring at the fort and weighing the odds.  He had, two tens and three besides, he, twenty...hrm...and some.  The humies?  Ten.  Maybe twelve.  Had to be.  The teeny little stronghold couldn't take no more...but then...humies was pretty small.  "'Ere! Zuggum!"  Narchukk's faithful drummer, Zuggum Frog-lip clambered over the tree-roots to his master.  Zuggum!  How many you fink dey got in dere?"
Zuggum thrust his moist, cavernous nostrils into the night air and inhaled deeply.  "Hrm...more n' ten, boss...maybe twelve...and a humie least one...maybe two...or free..."

Narchukk chewed his broad green lip frantically.  He had more boys, but the humies had walls...and man-wolves.  Still, the advantage might fall to him...funny thing about humies...unlike Elves and Dwarves and Orcs, they couldn't see well in the dark.  An' Orcs was tougher than Humies...everybody knew that...well, it certainly seemed like it could work...and anyway, he couldn't back down now...he had led his lads out into the dark waters of the Black River...Orcs hated water...on a tiny flotilla of leaky log rafts, braving currents and deep water and that Gods-awful big monster-fish-snake-thing that had gone rolling by them in big, hump-coils...brr!  They had come all this way to get in a fight and nab some sweet loot.  And they had trusted him to lead them to it.  He couldn't back down now.  It might be a hard fight ahead, but that was all good...all they had to do was win!

"Come on, lads!  he snarled...Get ready!"

Suddenly Zuggum Frog-Lip began to pound out a frantic, mindless call-to-carnage on his was a beat he called "Napalm Death".  He didn't know why he called it just sounded good...but it jarred a deep, warlike chord in the Orc boys gathered around the fort.  The blood began to pound in their thick skulls and arrows whistled and sputtered out of the dark, sticking in the log walls of the little stronghold on the banks of the Black River.

"Here they come, men!"  shouted Hans von Hirschfeld.

"Here, we go, boys!"  shouted Narchukk Tounge-Cutter to his lads. 

And they went...