Friday 23 March 2012

Raise and Ruin: a Warhammer Scenario Played

Hastily Petre von Gausser marshalled his forces into position around the tower. Help had been sent for, but who knew how when, or indeed if it would reach them. In the meantime the Empire hero knew his duty - he must protect the peasants and their property from the necromantic hordes.
Meanwhile the Vampiric legion advanced on the sleepy hamlet, shambling slowly toward the sleeping citizens, led by Markus Von Sternik himself and his unit of Graveguard.

Fortunately for the Empire defenders at this point help began to appear. First on the scene were some Ogre mercenaries, whom Petre placed on his flanks. More welcome still was the arrival of the mysterious light wizard known only as The Servant of Shem who had been the first to respond to the undead threat, accompanied by a unit of Knights and some stout handgunners. The Servant of Shem immediately showed his worth, invigorating the Ogres with magical energy, ensuring they would surge forward the next time they moved. For the rest of the army it was a rapid advance, most notably from the pistoliers who thrust themselves ahead of the line toward the legions of undeath.

Meanwhile foul Necromantic magic saw the ground before one of the humble cottages spew forth rotting cadavers as Zombies lurched  forward to scrabble at the windows. And still the unliving marched relentlessly onward.
Now however they were beginning to come under the range of the Empire guns. First, blood (had their been any to spill) went to the Pistoliers who shot down some ferocious wolves, before destroying them in combat.

The Mortar and The Servant of Shem meanwhile began to take a toll on the fearsome Graveguard unit.
Once more unnatural magics saw zombies thrust up from the ground close to another cottage, whilst supernatural energy saw a skeleton unit ransack another. The first raised unit continued to work their evil way through the defenceless cottage, before stumbling out with flaming torches at the ready, prepared to burn it to the ground.

The final Empire reinforcements trudged onto the field and a firing line formed in the centre of the valley. Once more the burning gaze of The Servant of Shem banished more Graveguard form the field whilst the mortar blew more asunder.

The newly raised Zombies wasted no time ransacking the cottage and instead began to set it aflame. Calling on the energies of light, The Servant of Shem magically assisted the Ogres as they raced into the building and fought back against the mindless servants of undeath.

Nothing could stop the other zombies from igniting the cottage they had already laid waste. However the skeletons had allowed their flints to become damp and so failed to set the second cottage alight.
A murderous fire from the Empire black powder weapons, backed by the Bloody paw tribe Leadbelchers, whittled the Graveguard to almost nothing. The Servant of Shem judged the time right to join the halbardiers as they closed in on the Vampire centre.

The Ogres overcame the zombies trying to destroy another dwelling though the skeletons finally got the thatch to catch on another peasant home.

 Markus withdrew from the seriously mauled Graveguard and sought safety amongst his Skeletons, however the lead hail continued and the Black Knight cavalry were soon wiped out.
At this point, seeing his army mauled, the Vampire realised his number was up and deciding preservation was more important than pillage he and his followers melted back into the Hakenholz Forest

The scenario gave us a fun and challenging game. At first the Empire looked to have no chance, but the early arrival of reinforcements, coupled with the lucky chance of getting a light wizard meant the balance began to sway. The spell that sped up a couple of Empire units meant the Vampires struggled to get all the cottages attacked quick enough. The Empire also benefited from a couple of rounds of very strong magic, whilst the Vampires had consistently poor dice throughout.
Overall I was pretty happy with both the scenario and the game.

Now what to follow up with?
I'm thinking of an ambitious pursuit by Petre deep into the Hakenholz Forest, where maybe an ambush or counter-attack awaits. Now to find an appropriate scenario.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Raise and Ruin, a Warhammer Scenario

Wanting to add variety to our regular 2k Warhammer "from the rulebook" Thursday nights bashes, and faced with the challenge of variable attendees I have been giving thought to a campaign of some sort. Initially I did a bunch of work on something using ideas from the recent Blood in the Badlands scenario pack, along with other lifts from older WFB and WAB sources. I was pretty pleased with it, but really something like that requires regular attendance and a larger group than we can currently call upon. So it was back to the drawing board. Fortunately over on Saxe-Bearstein Jeff came up with a challenge around using Charles Stewart Grant's book Scenarios for Wargames to create a campaign. Sadly I don't posess that book, but I do have the excellent Battlegames Table Top Teasers Volume One and access to Steve the Wargamers Online Collection of Teasers
However, given the somewhat fluid nature of our gaming I decide that rather than write the whole campaign up and then play it, I'd play a game, then pick the next scenario from one of these sources based on what happened in the game. The result, hopefully will be a narrative approach to playing some games and one that will hopefully throw up some characters and encourage us to paint up some new units. I knew that the two key armies would be Vampires and Empire, and that means that I can swap and change sides as the scenario (or protagonists) demand, adding Ogres or Dwarfs to the Empire side or using the Daemons or Orcs to bolster the Vampires.

Anyway, with all that preamble I scoured the book for a starting scenario and settled on Plunder and Pillage as a starting point, with the Vampires starting by raiding a sleepy Imperial settlement.

Here's the map set-up (created using the excellent Battle Chronicler free software):

(The thing in the top right is actually a mysterious forest, not a mysterious Swamp)

Here then are the briefings for the two forces:

Empire Briefing

You are Petre von Gausser, noble son of Nordland, unjustly banished to this grim southern corner of the Province in disgrace. (She said she was 13 and she looked at least 14. Bloody lying halflings).
Your only hope is to redeem your reputation by martial might, but here in this quiet backwater the chances of that happening look slim.
Or so it seemed.
Recently nearby settlements have come under attack, inhabitants slaughtered, the houses plundered and burned to the ground. The local yeomen are in fear, they speak of mysterious sounds and sights after dark, of unquiet graves, of a menace stirring deep in the nearby Hakenholz Forest. Obviously they are delusional dim-witted yokels, but there might be the chance for a bit of action, followed by a cushy posting back somewhere civilised.
Tonight, however all seems still and you are on the point of retiring to your room with a bottle of Bretonnian Red Wine and some Specialist Woodcuts, when you hear a commotion in the courtyard below. The pistolier patrol has returned in great haste and their sergeant is calling out in fear. “The dead are coming!!”

The battle begins as the shambling forces of the undead hove into view.
You have lit the warning beacon atop the tower and unleashed the emergency carrier pigeon to the nearby town of Ingwerstadt. Now you must do your best to hold up the forces of undeath and protect the nearby houses whilst you pray to Sigmar for reinforcements.

Your Forces
Petre von Gausser - Empire General on foot with Sword of Justice, Shield and Handgun
Von Gausser Guard - 29 Empire Halberds, full command
Sons of Nordland - 5 Pistoliers
Old Fusty – Mortar
You may deploy these anywhere within 6” of the Tower
You have sent for reinforcements, you have no idea how long they will take to arrive, or what they may turn out to be.
The Vampires have the first turn.

Stop the undead ransacking and burning the nearby buildings. There are five buildings in total to protect, not including your watchtower. Obviously getting the watchtower ransacked, or burned would look very bad on your CV.

Vampire Briefing

You are Markus Von Sternik, scion of the mighty Vampire Lord Olaf von Sternik. Many years ago your Lords physical body was shattered by the Elector Count of Nordland and his minions scattered deep into the Hakenholz forest, his power forever vanquished. Or so the overweening Empire General thought.
Over the years you have bided your time and quietly re-built your strength and forces. Now at last the time seems right to strike back at the hated Nordlanders. To start with you must sow fear amongst the ignorant human cattle that have settled the fringes of the Hakenholz. In time they will learn to pay you tribute, and feed you with their blood, but for now you must terrorise them and take what you need to build your army. You have already destroyed several small settlements, snatched the few things of value they possessed and bled the corpses dry. Tonight seemed to be about to take a similar course, but it appears that there are troops in the area and they are foolish enough to offer fight.
Small matter, it will be good practice for the hordes at your command...

The battle begins as your forces prepare to fall on the unsuspecting settlement. In the distance you can see a small Empire force gathered about their watchtower

Your Forces
You may pick an army of up to 1600 points.
This follows the usual restrictions, except you may not take any Lord level characters (Markus is still not at his full powers) and you may spend no more than 150pts on magic items.
Your forces will deploy no more than 12” from the east table edge.
You have the first turn

Ransack and then burn the five buildings on the battlefield. Each building may contain things of value, so you should always try and ransack it before applying flame.
If you can destroy the Watchtower that would be excellent, but it is not the primary mission.
There are enemy troops in the area, destroy them if you can, but avoid a prolonged fight, the time to destroy them all will come...

Other Rules

Ransacking and Burning.
A building may be ransacked by any core foot unit that spends a complete turn, unopposed in a building.
A building may be burned by any unit that spends a turn unopposed in base contact with the building. At the end of the turn roll a D6, on a 3+ it catches fire, on a 1 or a 2 a clumsy undead incident has taken place and the fire hasn't caught. Try again next turn, adding 1 to the dice.
Troops that can re-generate may not attempt to burn buildings (though they may still ransack).

Empire Reinforcements
From the first turn you can dice for reinforcements.
I kept the details of these from the Empire player until they arrived. There were three forces in total each of which had to be diced for. On turn one each force would arrive ona 5+, on turn two on a 3+ and automatically on turn three. They would all start from the Empire board edge to the west.
The forces were
Lvl 2 Empire Wizard (randomly determine his lore and spells when he arrives)
10 Handgunners, full command
8 Knights, full command, standard of steel

Warrior Priest, Crimson Amulet
10 Crossbows, full command
50 Spearmen, full command

Ogre allies
7 Ogres, Full command
3 leadbelchers

Game Length
The game will last 8 turns.

Victory Conditions
Each building ransacked is worth one point. Each building burned is worth one point. If the Vampires score 5 points, it's a draw, if they score 6 they win. Anything else is victory to the Empire.

So that's the set-up.
Tomorrow I'll post how it went.