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The Maven & The Witch (small scale, sixth edition, solo campaign, WE vs VC) (SECOND GAME POSTED)
jonathan e
I have had an Idea. The Idea is loosely inspired by several things: the old campaign packs for fifth edition WFB; the Patrol, Skirmish, Battle structure for gameplay that myself and Ben P. tried out in the summer before Nineteen Crows; and my own conviction that a game in hand is a boot up the arse as far as painting is concerned.

To be fair I've maintained my momentum rather well with the Deadwood Covenant (it's been nice having some Dryads as messy figures to paint up in between stages on my more fussy OWAC Ork commitments) but will I feel the same way when I'm on my twenty-seventh Glade Guard?

I shall probably end up playing these with myself (stop that sniggering at the back!) rather than deferring into the never-never of "when we're out of lockdown", but it'll be nice to have some scenarios tested out, in any case, before inflicting them properly on other people.

Anyway, here's the plan.

Chapter I: Ghosts in the Fog

A 200 point Warbands encounter, played on a very small board (two feet by two?).

The Maven (a Branchwraith) commanding 4 Dryads and 5 Glade Guard Scouts, vs. Grimgroth (a Wight Lord) commanding 10 Skeletons and 5 Ghouls.

COMPLETE: Wood Elf victory, ignominious tabling for the Vampire Counts.

Chapter II: Grave Disorder

A Warhammer Skirmish scenario: the Vampire Hunt, adapted away from "Johann and Wilhelm vehicle" as follows.

Two Alter Nobles (one with greatsword, one with longbow) hunt a Vampire Thrall with attendant Bat Swarm amongst the tombs of High Tiernmas.

COMPLETE: Vampire Counts victory, so everything to play for going into Chapter III...

Chapter III: A Maven's Folly

A Woodland Ambush from the Wood Elf book, 500 points of Forest Spirits against 1000. Given that Undead don't panic, this is likely to be a difficult one for the Wood Elves to win on points, but any points they score here will be knocked off the Undead's total in the final battle.


Chapter IV: Season of the Witch

An asymmetric battle: exactly how asymmetric will be determined by the previous games, on a best-of-three basis.

If the Wood Elves have the best of three, the final battle is an Ambush: 1000 points of Wood Elves face 1500 points of Vampire Counts, led by the VVitch: a spectral terror represented here by a Necromancer with the Cloak of Mists and Shadows. The Maven has been able to strike fast and first, disrupting the VVitch's ritual work before she can consume the broken Heart of the Forest.

If the Vampire Counts have the best of three, the final battle is a Last Stand, with 1000 points of Wood Elves defending against 2000 points of Vampire Counts, led by the empowered VVitch: a Master Necromancer! The Deadwood Covenant must sell their lives dearly: perhaps dawn will break the VVitch's spell, if they can just hold out 'til then?

By the time all this is done and prepped and played and photographed I should have 1000 points of Wood Elves painted, not to mention a wood and some tombs finished at long last. I shall be reporting on the games in this thread, as and when they occur.
Edited by jonathan e on 25-02-2021 14:15
Warhammer transmissions at Malediction Games

VC original run: 20 / 6 / 21
VC comeback tour: 5 / 0 / 4
WE fresh start: -/-/-
 
https://maledicton.games
Just Tony
I like what I see so far.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
jonathan e
I - Ghosts in the Fog

The Premise

Grimgroth opened his eyes.

Was it time? Had the bell been rung, its doleful peal sounding the Time of Ending? He swung slowly off his graven slab and took up his axe and followed the breeze out of his tumulus. His huscarls were stirring, skinless hands closing on sword-hilt and shield-grip, as they followed him into the twilight of the gods, and also of the sky.

Grimgroth closed his eyes, then opened them again, dessicated lids flapping in ponderous amazement, then closed them again to have a good hard think.

Who had put those bloody trees there? When he had been laid down to rest, all this had been fields; the fields of High Tiernmas of old.

Now he was starting to remember. There had been… others. In the long winter that had never seemed to end. The elves had come. They had put Tiernmas to flight. They had relieved Grimgroth of his kingdom, his crown and his life, in that approximate order, almost in the one day. They had sealed him into the tomb dug for him long ago.

Grimgroth opened his eyes. He kicked away the carrion-eater who was reaching out a filthy calloused paw for one of his favourite toes; the ghoul fled, yelping, into the woods. Yes. The woods. Through the woods and out, out into the world. Out to glory, for the Old Kingdom. And they’d put a stop to any Time of Ending that happened to be going on, and all.

In the woods, the howl of a kicked ghoul and the whisper of bony feet on snow fell on interested elven ears. Thaniel nodded to his troop, hooted once like a barn owl and twice like a screech owl, and motioned them to keep their heads down. The Maven was haunting these woods tonight, and she would want these draugr for her prey.


The Engagement

Warhammer Warbands (200 points); A Little War scenario; objectives were Hold Territory (Wood Elves) and Invade! (Vampire Counts)

The Forces

Wood Elves

The Maven of Deadwood, a Branchwraith
Cildraeth Celyn, 4 Dryads
Black-Briar Kinband, 5 Glade Guard Scouts

Vampire Counts

Grimgroth, a Wight Lord
The Tomb-Born, 10 Skeletons
The Bone Gnawers, 5 Ghouls

The Field

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_095218.jpg

Somewhat less than inspiring stuff, I think you’ll agree. I had every intention of playing this out over a battlemat, but then I took the battlemat out, realised it was obnoxiously busy with implied scatter terrain and my models would simply disappear on top of it, and promptly chucked the thing on eBay because I’ve never liked it anyway. I don’t actually remember how it ended up here in the first place.

Anyway. I played this over a 2′ by 2′ board to give the undead a fighting chance (four square is much too big for an engagement this size anyway, SAGA has the right idea with its standard 3′ x 3′ and even that uses more models than this).

I used a scatter die to determine where Grimgroth and co. arrived, then set up the Maven and her associates in the opposite quarter. Units would have to have their back corner touching a board edge, unless they were Scouts in which case they could set up out of sight of and around 10″ away from the enemy. Grimgroth would count as an Undead General, allowing his units to march, and neither character could start the battle in a unit.

When it came to actually making the moves and choices I did more or less what I thought the troops would do, given their objectives.

Grimgroth’s mind was bent on securing his escape, so he wouldn’t stop and fight until he was in the Wood Elves’ starting quarter; the Ghouls, being cowardy cowardy cutlets at heart, would attempt to not get shot at while protecting their new master as best they could.

The Maven would hold her starting quarter unless she had an opportunity to engage and destroy Grimgroth; the rest of her army would attempt to envelop and exterminate the undead nuisance, sweeping as much of the grove (i.e. as many table quarters) as they could occupy.

The Fight

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_095501.jpg

Only a dozen or so, Thaniel said to himself. Easy pickings for the Maven and her sisters; but it wouldn’t hurt to even the odds just a little, as the draugr marched by. There was something else stirring further in the woods, but it was hard to make out what. The mist was rising. She was coming.

Grimgroth shelters from the Glade Guard behind the Skeletons; the Ghouls scurry around to check for any nasty surprises behind the tree. Glade Guard shooting plinks one Skeleton (I didn’t fancy their chances hitting skirmishers, in cover, at long range).

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_095848-1.jpg

As they came upon the clearing, three paths winding out between three vast gnarled trees, Grimgroth slowed his pace. Something was wrong, beside the tearing up of good honest roads and the planting of a forest where his serfs had once been toiling. The snow was fluttering and stirring about them, the freezing clouds shifting as if the forest breathed out a warning. Which way was out? Which way led down to the lowlands? And as Grimgroth considered, an arrow shot past him into the dark, and another, and yet another took brave Darven in the empty eye and sent him off to a second death. Elves.

The Wood Elves spread out. In response, the Ghouls swing back around to threaten the Glade Guard and cover the Undead rear (oo-er). Grimgroth takes up the missing space in the Skeleton unit; another two Skeletons get shot.

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_100315.jpg

They bobbed and weaved around the old oak tree, arrows nocked and flying at the slow-shambling draugr. Thaniel could hear the song of the woods now, keening high and fierce through the mists; he knew without knowing that the hunt was almost on him. Another volley, more draugr fell; the carrion eaters snarled and hissed at the stone where Thaniel had stood whole seconds ago.

The Undead are successfully march-blocked, and Grimgroth begins a slow shuffle toward freedom. The Ghouls realise they have to do the business or get off the pot, and place themselves between the Skeletons and the Dryads. I also buffeted the tree on the right, moving the surrounding miniatures whole centimetres out of place and rendering the result of the game NULL AND VOID in the eyes of all the millmetre-counting why-in-goodness’-name-don’t-you-stick-to-video-games turbo-spods out there. Of course, I am now five years free of Warmahordes and consequently put things back more or less right and decided to be generous with the matter of measurements in the next turn.

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_100612.jpg

Grimgroth hefted his axe and plodded on; no sense in chasing ghosts in the fog. Let the ghouls taste elf-flesh instead of breaking teeth on his old bones – and then he heard their yammering and yelping cut short by an eerie whistle, piercing and clear, on the upper edge of hearing yet echoing through the trees. The trees were screaming. The trees were moving! Something came shrieking and wailing out of the fog, right at him; some fiend in woman’s shape, a long plait whipping behind her, a scythe in her hands. A peasant’s weapon. Slow. Clumsy. Grimgroth braced himself to take the charge.


The trap is sprung! Kind of. Boxcars on the Glade Guards’ fear test leaves the Maven going it alone. It doesn’t go well; while she lands a wound on Grimgroth in the challenge (of course he challenged, he wasn’t going to let her whack his honour guard to death!), he lands a Killing Blow with a magical Wight Blade on her. The Dryads only kill one Ghoul, and a flurry of outrageous rolls (four sixes!) see one Dryad poisoned to death in return and a break test only just passed. I’ve had better trap-springings, put it like that.

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_101202.jpg

She. She! Thaniel held his hand down, holding the troop back, watching the cold and hateful heart of the forest beat once, twice, and launch the Maven into life. She ran for the dead with scythe upraised, rallied to reap, ready to kill! Cyfamod Pren Mawr demanded his troop join her… but the sound, the awful sound of the Dryads in full fury, and would they keep the pact? And then the draugr’s leader stepped forward, and turned his face to Thaniel, and winked with his dead eye as he caught the scythe in one hand, its weight ripping his arm from its socket, but he moved with it and brought his iron adze sweeping across the Maven’s throat, pulling her onto the deathblow. Perhaps he imagined it, but Thaniel swore he heard a taunt in broken Asrai fall from the dead man’s lips.

“You’re next, chum.”


I had Grimgroth overrun, so he could get into position to achieve his objective, and then turn to face the Glade Guard, the only unengaged foes. Might not have been tactically sound, but I feel it’s what a Wight Lord running on autopilot would do.

The Glade Guard don’t fancy their chances against said Wight Lord. Fortunately, the Dryads absolutely butchered the Ghouls on the Undead turn, and are now free to avenge the Maven. They underperform, allowing Grimgroth to barge his way into combat and kill one of them, but in the next round a Dryad gets another set of boxcars and that’s it for Grimgroth.

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_101414-1.jpg

There they were. Grimgroth had them now. The she-daemon was dead, cut down, and the woodland fools had shown their hands. He knew the way now; these elves would be guarding the safe path, driving him onto a wrong turn. Past them and down, into the lowlands, into the light. And now he knew the way… he could afford to take his leisure. His guard fell into rank beside him as he turned to face the elven scouts. Their leader was still quailing with his sword half out of its sheath. As their gazes locked… as their gazes locked, Vandam and Erl flew across his vision, torn to pieces. More of these cursed, screaming sprites! Grimgroth turned, pushed his way through the ranks; one would die like any other. He struck one across the back as it lunged past him, but as he turned he saw the branch swinging straight for his helm.

Grimgroth closed his eyes.


maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210215_101832.jpg

The Result

Victory to the Wood Elves by default; a tabling for the Undead, although they preserve some honour by dispatching the Maven.

In reflection on the armies: the Dryads are every bit as brutal as I remember, Initiative 6 (and 8 on the Maven!) putting them well ahead in later rounds of combat. They weren’t too well suited to fighting the Toughness 4 Ghouls, though. I was less impressed with the Glade Guard, and I ended up holding them back from a charge once Grimgroth had his front presented to them as I didn’t fancy feeding him kills. The Maven… well, these things happen, you can’t account for Wight Blades, and she did have to leave her defensive kit at home. If nothing else it’s a good excuse for her having the Annoyance later on; she won’t be fooled again. On the whole, the Wood Elves seem good at landing the hits, but maybe struggle to convert.

In reflections on the game: there were a few things I had to look up besides stats, including what the shooting maluses actually are (look, I play with Banshee screams and Asp Arrows against magic missiles and wonder weapons: modifiers don’t really come up!) and how the hell skirmishers charge when their way is blocked by other skirmishers but not completely… in the end I opted for the least gamey, smoothest flowing option of having the Dryads charge the Ghouls instead of a dodgy two-in-one-looping-around move that would have barely had them in contact anyway.

In reflections on solo play: it seems to work! I think this scenario did me a lot of favours as it set clear objectives for each side, so I could lean into those whenever I needed to make a characterful decision.

The Maven…

Thaniel rose from his furrow behind the old oak tree. He was, he suspected, a dead elf walking; the forest spirits would surely be furious, his inaction had surely led to the Maven’s downfall. He dropped his sword, handed his bow to Ithain, walked toward the trio of surviving dryads with his head held down; they parted, to let him pass. Surely they were the Despairs, come to claim him. Surely the forest itself whispered his name…

“Thaniel…”

Fresh snow was falling, on the bones and the blades and the body of the Maven. Thaniel dropped to his knees, cradled her head, heedless of splinters. It was all his fault. Failure. Traitor. It would be the Waywatchers for him, if they’d have him at all.

“I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. I…”

“Help me.”

He looked down. A purple light was shining, crashing out of her open throat; he took the head more firmly, settled it onto her neck, felt the wood grind and gristle back together.

A dryad held out her scythe, and she took it, rising slowly, crone-bent and weary, her voice a hiss from somewhere deeper than her wound. Thaniel stayed on his knees; surely, surely the blade would fall, the forest would reclaim him for what he’d done?

“You will restore amends. Rouse the kinbands. Honour the Covenant. I go to wake my sisters, stir my brothers. This will not stand. This will not stand…”

By the time he dared look up, the dryads were gone, into the fog.


Coming soon: Chapter II, Grave Disorder. Once I have some Alter Kindred painted. I’m also not sure about the tomb scenery, which I fall into and out of love with every time I get it out of the box. I think I’ll use it for the time being, but leave it up on the Bay of E and see if I can’t get shot of it too in the long term.
Edited by jonathan e on 16-02-2021 10:00
Warhammer transmissions at Malediction Games

VC original run: 20 / 6 / 21
VC comeback tour: 5 / 0 / 4
WE fresh start: -/-/-
 
https://maledicton.games
MattyFenby
Your narrative blurbs are really good!

Interesting to see someone fight himself and make the decisions based on narrative rather than how to scrape out more VP. I wonder how the game would have gone differently if you made all the calls based on being "tactically sound" instead of doing "what a wight lord on autopilot might do." Do you think there was a solid chance for the Undead to win here, or would you give them a few more troops in a competitive re-do?

The 2' by 2' board with such small roster sizes is something I haven't seen before. How long did this game take to play?

"Grave Disorder" aha loving that title.

Man, Psych matchups against the Undead can be so frustrating. Luckily for the Forest they were still swept away but jeez those "boxcars" from the Glade Guard leaving the Maven unsupported made me nervous for a second.
 
Just Tony
You can't game afraid of every roll. You'll fail some, statistically impossible to succeed at every roll. You accept the risk and move on. Whether it's Fear, miscasts, or a Flee roll, don't focus on the possibility of failure. If you do, then there's not much reason to even show up.


As far as the battle report itself? I speed read at work and didn't fully process it. I should have time tonight.

EDIT:

Woof.


I think the only reason the Glade Guard didn't have a better showing is that Wood Elves more than any other army benefit from a large board. Being so close sort of negated what the army excels at: damaging the enemy fairly decently at range that way it can't hit with as much mass when it arrives. Granted, it wound up working your way anyway, but I'd say that's the biggest spot of contention in that little game.




As a caveat, I'm jealous of your objectivity. I honestly don't think I could play myself without taking sides.
Edited by Just Tony on 20-02-2021 01:57
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
jonathan e
Just Tony wrote:

You can't game afraid of every roll. You'll fail some, statistically impossible to succeed at every roll. You accept the risk and move on. Whether it's Fear, miscasts, or a Flee roll, don't focus on the possibility of failure. If you do, then there's not much reason to even show up.


Exactly. Wood Elves have good odds of passing a fear test, especially with Ms. Angry Tree over there to inspire them, but 10-12 comes up sometimes and you just have to roll with it (pun intended).

Looking forward to your feedback, as and when.

MattyFenby wrote:

Your narrative blurbs are really good!

Interesting to see someone fight himself and make the decisions based on narrative rather than how to scrape out more VP. I wonder how the game would have gone differently if you made all the calls based on being "tactically sound" instead of doing "what a wight lord on autopilot might do." Do you think there was a solid chance for the Undead to win here, or would you give them a few more troops in a competitive re-do?

The 2' by 2' board with such small roster sizes is something I haven't seen before. How long did this game take to play?

"Grave Disorder" aha loving that title.

Man, Psych matchups against the Undead can be so frustrating. Luckily for the Forest they were still swept away but jeez those "boxcars" from the Glade Guard leaving the Maven unsupported made me nervous for a second.


Thank you! It's been a couple of years since I wrote for a living, but I'm always glad to know that Creative Writing degree is still doing some good.

In a more competitive context the Undead list would have looked very different. I'd have gone for a Strigoi Thrall (don't need no gear to be great, not with Cavatore's freebies loaded onto them) and two Ghoul packs, plus Dire Wolves or Bat Swarm to finish.

I admit it: I gave the Wood Elves a bit of an easy ride with this one, although I dithered a bit with the Ghoul pack and ended up wasting them. They should have gone straight after the Glade Guard and let Grimgroth and co face down the Dryads head-on.

The third scenario is similarly tilted toward the Undead, it'll be hard for the Wood Elves to actually win that one. The second is the unknown quantity as Skirmish can be very unpredictable and Alter Kindred are absolute glass cannons.

The game took just under an hour to play, including setup, photos, notes etc. Warbands rules are much faster and more brutal than Warhammer Skirmish as a "dead" model is definitely "dead" - there's none of the get knocked down, then get up again behaviour that the single figures of a Skirmish scenario generate.

Grave Disorder (by The Damned) was the second album I ever bought, and still one of my favourites.

I was nervous too! The Maven is pretty hard but she still only has three attacks, and I know from bitter experience with my Vampire Thralls that three is a vulnerable number, especially in a challenge. I should probably have held her back for another turn or two and whittled the Skeletons down with S4 bowfire, but I was impatient to get her blooded and I imagine so was she. Besides, it could have been game over right there if she'd managed it, threat to the forest neutralised with minimum bloodshed. Couldn't turn that down.
Warhammer transmissions at Malediction Games

VC original run: 20 / 6 / 21
VC comeback tour: 5 / 0 / 4
WE fresh start: -/-/-
 
https://maledicton.games
jonathan e
Just Tony wrote:
Woof.


I think the only reason the Glade Guard didn't have a better showing is that Wood Elves more than any other army benefit from a large board. Being so close sort of negated what the army excels at: damaging the enemy fairly decently at range that way it can't hit with as much mass when it arrives. Granted, it wound up working your way anyway, but I'd say that's the biggest spot of contention in that little game.




As a caveat, I'm jealous of your objectivity. I honestly don't think I could play myself without taking sides.


The way I see it, as long as I take the side of whichever side I'm currently playing, it's all good. I do have a weather eye on what'll make for a good report, I admit, but then I often do that when I'm playing with other people too. Not for me the "I realised I couldn't win this one so I disengaged at the start and played to draw" malarkey.

Regarding the board size, it's a fair cop. I'll be playing A Maven's Folly (Woodland Ambush scenario) down the length of the table, so 5 feet by 3, and it's tempting to bring some archers along and see how they do in those more favourable circumstances.
Warhammer transmissions at Malediction Games

VC original run: 20 / 6 / 21
VC comeback tour: 5 / 0 / 4
WE fresh start: -/-/-
 
https://maledicton.games
jonathan e
II - Grave Disorder

Warhammer Skirmish; Vampire Hunt scenario, hacked for speed running.

The Hacks

I compressed the battlefield down to 2 feet square, as before; removed the attackers’ supporting troops, as injury rolls have a tendency to bloat and delay the Skirmish experience; and I gave the Vampire a set location and set her victory condition to “escape” rather than “kill they heroes.”

The Premise

Thaniel had told his story three times in two days. Once to himself, as he hurried through the deep pathways of Deadwood, so fast and so far that even his sure elven feet had betrayed him here and there. Once to Rychell, and the veteran had nodded gravely and led him up here…

He knew the Court. He knew what to expect. But it was still a strange feeling, to see four gnarled and blasted stumps and to stand at the point between them, to address them by name and to watch as flesh flickered out of splinter and shadow, as the lords and ladies of Deadwood came back to hear the tale.

Mostly. Prince Hwel had not come, and Thaniel was grateful for that small mercy.

“It happens to us all,” Lord Gwydion said, and “not to me” Lord Gilfaethwy said, and that had been an end to Thaniel’s apologies. The Lady Bloddeuwydd had said nothing at all, until Thaniel’s tale was told, and then:

“Grimgroth did not raise himself from the dead. His crown was taken. His will was broken. Someone broke those seals; someone stirred him up and set him loose.”

“Some interloper,” said the Lord Gilfaethwy, and “some necromancer,” said the Lord Gwydion.

“Someone who has roused the Maven’s wrath. We must honour the covenant. But we must know how deep the rot goes; if we are beset from within. Brothers; will you go to the Tombs?”

“And you to the Heart?” said the Lord Gwydion, “with all haste and all our strength?” said the Lord Gilfaethwy.

The Lady Bloddeuwydd bowed her head, and rose in a rustle of roots, a shiver of snowfall. “Ahead of the Maven, if I can,” she said, “and with Thaniel.”


The Forces

Wood Elves

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_085240.jpg

Gwydion, a Noble: Alter Kindred, longbow, light armour and shield
Gilfaethwy, a Noble: Alter Kindred, greataxe, light armour and shield

Vampire Counts

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_085319.jpg

Clarimonde, a Vampire Thrall: Von Carstein, with heavy armour, Summon Wolves and the Gem of Blood,
and a Bat Swarm

The Field

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_081439.jpg

This is where things become unusual. Normally I abhor 2D terrain; it is the mark of my own personal End Times, the herald of the millimetre counters and precision junkies who turned Warmahordes into a crude attempt at tt-sports and robbed it of all spectacle and charm. But needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle; storage space is limited, funds are short, AoS scenery has a resale value and I had just enough DriveThruRPG store credit to give this a try.

Further house rules were implemented. The cliff faces were treated as impassable; shooting from the paths up into the ruins was not permitted.

Clarimonde would start the game in the tower at the heart of the ruins, about her nefarious business with the Heart of the Forest; the Bats would be roosting in the nearby tree. Gilfaethwy and Gwydion would deploy in the opposite corner.

The Fight

I randomised who’d get the first turn; it went to Clarimonde and her associates. Since she didn’t know there was danger yet, but I didn’t want to pass the turn completely, I had her Summon the Dire Wolves from a random board edge, which turned out to be the top one.

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_090014.jpg

I’d made a minor deployment whoopsie, placing Gwydion up front, meaning if I wanted to charge in with Gilfaethwy, they’d both have to get stuck in. No great hardship. Gwydion scored two critical hits, but all his injury rolls were ones or twos; he really knocked that Wolf down. Gilfaethwy, being more accustomed to melee combat, flattened his Wolf with a similar double-crit display.

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_090151.jpg

The Bats, alerted to the sound of violence, fluttered out of the ruins and circled around behind the elven interlopers. Meanwhile, the last Wolf counter-charged Gilfaethwy, but didn’t manage to land a blow. For their part, the twins mustered a stun and a kill.

Gwydion, sure he could trust his brother to handle a few flying rodents, moved around toward the north entrance of the tomb, intent on establishing what was going on in there, although he did take a potshot or two at the Bats (dealing a wound). His faith may have been somewhat misplaced, since Gilfaethwy proved unable to eliminate one stunned Dire Wolf…

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_091047.jpg

Clarimonde was still about her mysterious business (I didn’t roll a 6), so the Bat Swarm swept in to protect her, charging Gilfaethwy and scoring a critical! Counting as two hits (and, I presume, two wounds), they managed to stun the Alter Noble, and suddenly things were looking a lot less one-sided than they had been a moment ago.

Gwydion didn’t even have a charge lane to the bats (I think I flubbed the rule here, too much Warmahordes baggage still) but successfully stunned the Dire Wolf that would otherwise be gnawing on his brother’s tender bits.

Clarimonde completed her task (“awoke”, in the scenario’s original terms) and made a cautious move out of the ruined tower. Her Bats, regrettably, didn’t follow up their previous exemplary performance, fluffing their attacks on downed Gilfaethwy for the second round on the trot.

Said Gilfaethwy took to his feet and proceeded to absolutely ruin the Bat Swarm; inspired by this performance, Gwydion landed two critical hits on the Dire Wolf and killed it three times over, poor thing.

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_091635.jpg

Now aware that she was alone, Clarimonde bolted for the board edge, opting for the path on the bottom left as the one farthest from whatever was going on so messily down at the foot of the crag. The twins set off in hot pursuit, but crucially lacked the Line of Sight to declare charges. They were reduced to a potshot with a longbow, praying for a lucky crit, and Gwydion managed to definitively miss that one, allowing Clarimonde to make good her escape!

maledictionofnagash.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/img_20210225_091916.jpg

The Result

A win for the Vampire Counts!

The Learnings

I’m not convinced I adapted this one as well for the solo experience. In particular, Clarimonde’s Summon Wolves at the top of the game was an impulse choice, trying to avoid a churned turn – I don’t think she should have done it until she knew there was something worth summoning to avoid. To be honest, Clarimonde’s whole kit was a bit of an impulse choice: I’d forgotten this scenario originally included a Strigoi with the usual 60 points of free kit (thanks, Alessio!) and Bloodline powers on top of that, and had to retune on the fly.

With the benefit of hindsight, I could have very easily taken Sylvanian rules into this, setting up a couple of grave markers (dispellable on the standard 4+) that were spawning Zombies for the boys to whack down, and maybe cheated a bit with Clarimonde’s powers, setting her up with a Countess spread of Summon Wolves and Summon Bats. That would make a better use of the title too, really hammer home the feeling that zombies are pouring out of the grave for some reason.

I also wasn’t quite sure about losing the troops for the attackers. Things would have been a lot slower with more models – Skirmish, in my experience, tends to derail fast if you start whiffing attacks or can’t make satisfactory injury rolls, and really needs a bypass to make stunned enemies easier to take out or something. Bringing the brothers on together felt right, but the two of them couldn’t really cover all three routes off the map. If they’d been able to move more decisively for the ruins (i.e. if the Wolves hadn’t been there) things might have gone perversely better for them and we might have had some head on conflict.

It worked well enough for something I could play in half an hour before work, and the result stands, but I think I’d like to play this one again with the premise and forces adjusted.

The Witch…

“Is it done?”

“You asked for the Heart of the Forest,” said Clarimonde, “and you’re all but on top of it. You asked for the Tombs to be opened, and I’ve done it, and survived. All the dead of High Tiernmas follow in my wake.“

Her – what was the word? Employer was too crass, too mundane. Mistress was too permanent, and had some unlovely connotations. Cohort? Collaborator? Those suggested a partnership of equals, which this was certainly not, in either of their minds.

Whatever she was, the Witch was apparently unpleasable. Her eyeless gaze roamed over Clarimonde, over the paths out of the clearing, over the distant ice-topped river.

“It’s not enough. The Heart eludes. It resists. Resists me, Clarimonde! I won’t have it. I need the army at my back. I need you at my side.”

“You will have your army. But you will not have my sword. I wish you good fortune, madame, in your quest. I am weary of this wretched forest. I must feed, and the Heart will not bleed for both of us. You’ll need all that it can give.”

The Witch’s skull turned to face her; the trailing shadows about it stirred and shifted, unseen currents drawing them this way and that.

“If I am to be whole again.”


I’ve nearly finished all my Dryads (and two thirds of the Glade Guard), the last sprues are queued up for painting this week. That means next week I’mma paint some Tree-Kin and the week after that I can stage Chapter III – A Maven’s Folly.
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Just Tony
...

That is the EXACT model I use for my Von Carstein Countess.




Looks like this one was definitely a learning experience.
Father, soldier, musician, Transformers fan, masochistic junior moderator type thing.
 
jonathan e
Just Tony wrote:
...
That is the EXACT model I use for my Von Carstein Countess.

Looks like this one was definitely a learning experience.


She's a cracker, so it's understandable.

It was. Skirmish always is. I think (whisper it!) that despite my abiding love of Mordheim, Skirmish needs a good few hacks to work properly and avoid the endless churn of dud injury rolls. It wouldn't take much, just a tweak to the knocked down and stunned states. Something like:

ATTACKING IN CLOSE COMBAT

Fighters who are knocked down can still defend themselves, after a fashion, and so attackers must still roll to hit and wound them as normal. Fighters who are stunned are defenceless; they are hit automatically if attacked.

DOWN AND OUT

If all of a fighter's potential targets for close combat attacks are stunned, that fighter may forgo making their normal close combat attacks and instead opt for a takedown. This automatically puts one nominated enemy out of action - no injury roll is required.

Warhammer transmissions at Malediction Games

VC original run: 20 / 6 / 21
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WE fresh start: -/-/-
 
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MattyFenby
I like that idea of summoning zombies out of graves mid battle, which begs the question-

whose graves would they be?! Asrai graves? Graves of human slaves (which the Asrai really took according to the Orion Trilogy novels)?

I know nothing about skirmish or warmahordes or mordheim but I liked reading this and seeing someone critique their own DM experience with himself (I usually act as the "DM" or "computer" pushing us forward through the steps of playing the game with my buddy and I'm always trying to critique myself so it's nice to see somebody else do it)

I also liked the word choice of "interlopers" about the Alters after they had used it themselves about the Undead. Blurring the lines between chaos monsters and the forest is something I enjoy since I like the idea that all magic is chaos magic.

Our book club is reading about a Beastmen invasion of Athel Loren that Orion (himself a Terror causing monster with hooves) will be defending against, and that kind of word choice reminded me of how our author is doing that, too.
 
jonathan e
MattyFenby wrote:

I like that idea of summoning zombies out of graves mid battle, which begs the question - whose graves would they be?! Asrai graves? Graves of human slaves (which the Asrai really took according to the Orion Trilogy novels)?


I can't speak for the Asrai at large, but for my lot they would be the original inhabitants of High Tiernmas; the human clans under their dread king Grimgroth, who ruled before the Bretonni, before even the Asrai, and whose fault the whole "endless winter" scenario in this part of the world may well be.

(My armies occupy a kind of malleable never-never-land that's in and out of the history of the World we know. For example, I can confirm that the Crown of Sorcery plays a role in the backstory of High Tiernmas, even though it's never been anywhere near Bretonnia in the "canonical" World of Warhammer.)

MattyFenby wrote:I know nothing about skirmish or warmahordes or mordheim but I liked reading this and seeing someone critique their own DM experience with himself (I usually act as the "DM" or "computer" pushing us forward through the steps of playing the game with my buddy and I'm always trying to critique myself so it's nice to see somebody else do it)


I'm always glad to know these things are entertaining and informative even if half the context is missing - thank you kindly! In particular it's nice to have the choice of words and phrases recognised. My writing is often rather cleverer than I am; I'm out here fretting that I put too many little ironic flourishes in to deflate it and stop it being GRIM DARK NERD LORE, and I trust my instincts about keeping any actual substance in it.

The whole point of magic in the World, arguably in Warhammer as a whole, is that it ain't pure. There's no such thing as purity, the pursuit of purity is impossible in a fallen world, be the best you can in the dire straits you find yourself; and if you can't be good, be good at being bad.

Besides, the forest doesn't particularly like the Alters either, even after all they've given up for it. I blame the Maven personally, she's a troublemaker is that one.

MattyFenby wrote:Our book club is reading about a Beastmen invasion of Athel Loren that Orion (himself a Terror causing monster with hooves) will be defending against, and that kind of word choice reminded me of how our author is doing that, too.


This really hammers home something important about the Wood Elves: they're not nice. They're misconstrued as these hippy-dippy woo-woo flowers-of-the-forest-fairy Morris dancing types, when they are and have always been flippin' savages, red in tooth and claw, bound into harmony with something old and callous and frequently brutal in its self-preservation.
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MattyFenby
In my Orcs Army Book I think Azhag ends up with the Crown Of Sorcery at one point, and dies attempting to bring it into Bretonnia? Doesnt quite make it though; Nagash's voice confuses him and he dies to a very colourful V-shaped charge. So IDK where in the timelines your story is taking place but maybe there was some *treebeard voice from LoTR* orc mischief that moved the Crown into its predestined position?

Seems like elves got immortality/reincarnation/consciousness transfer correct and Nagash's imperfect attempt to copy them means humans are the only undead race? Or are there vampire dwarfs and undead lizardmen that I'm not aware of in this universe? The Dark Elves seem like theyd be pretty interested in at least Vampire magic (think: Hellebron, of the Witch Cult of Khaine, who literally bathes in blood to appear young but is slowly aging, jealous of the immortal Morathi). I think I am going to explore that in my upcoming Campaign.
 
jonathan e
MattyFenby wrote:

In my Orcs Army Book I think Azhag ends up with the Crown Of Sorcery at one point, and dies attempting to bring it into Bretonnia? Doesnt quite make it though; Nagash's voice confuses him and he dies to a very colourful V-shaped charge. So IDK where in the timelines your story is taking place but maybe there was some *treebeard voice from LoTR* orc mischief that moved the Crown into its predestined position?


I was aiming much, much earlier. If I had to tie things into "the canon", I'd probably wave my wand of lignum vitae at the Waaagh! that sacked Mourkain and suggest that they kept going across the Vaults. But orc mischief is certainly a good shout.

MattyFenby wrote:
Seems like elves got immortality/reincarnation/consciousness transfer correct and Nagash's imperfect attempt to copy them means humans are the only undead race? Or are there vampire dwarfs and undead lizardmen that I'm not aware of in this universe? The Dark Elves seem like theyd be pretty interested in at least Vampire magic (think: Hellebron, of the Witch Cult of Khaine, who literally bathes in blood to appear young but is slowly aging, jealous of the immortal Morathi). I think I am going to explore that in my upcoming Campaign.


Historically, Dark Elves had access to Necromancers (this is going back to third and very early fourth edition WFB), but that sort of thing was winnowed out as the Kirby period went on and everyone was assigned their clearly divisional faction lines. Later, the argument would be made that it's only humans who really see the point in necromancy. Dwarfs lack the aptitude; elves, being so long-lived, the inclination. Orcs have no fear of death, Lizardmen live forever barring accidents anyway, Skaven are... well, all Skaven are of course temporarily embarrassed members of the Council of Thirteen, and who knows what powers the Horned Rat bestows upon his regents?
Warhammer transmissions at Malediction Games

VC original run: 20 / 6 / 21
VC comeback tour: 5 / 0 / 4
WE fresh start: -/-/-
 
https://maledicton.games
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