Thursday, 20 March 2014

Crusade Game 2 - Bretonnia vs Vampire Counts

The crisp wind blew across the hilltop where Lord Sechnaill surveyed the border of his land.  He had regathered his forces after his last defeat and returned here to reclaim this territory from the dreaded Vampires.  Behind him, his men were ready.  Knights of the Realm all of them, with Peasant outriders and those infernal Trebuchets they brought with them this was where the attack would come.  A lone wolf howled, quickly followed by several more as the dead made their way to deal with the oncoming threat.  Dark necromancy pulsed and fresh bodies pulled themselves out of the graveyard to join their masters.

Following his defeat from his first charge of the Bretonnian Crusade, Lord Sechnaill has opted for a smaller skirmish.  This was to be a 1500 point battle, with no restrictions, Bretonnia vs Vampire counts.

The armies were:

Lord (General, Warhorse, Shield, HKB, Gromril Great Helm, Sword of Strife, Potion of Foolhardiness)

Paladin (BSB, Warhorse, Charmed Shield, Dawnstone)
Paladin (Warhorse, Lance, Shield, Crown of Command, Luckstone)
Damsel (L2, Beasts, Dispel Scroll, Warhorse) (Wyssan's Wildform, Pann's Impenetrable Pelt)

10 Knights of the Realm (Full command, Standard of Discipline)
10 Knights of the Realm (Full command, War Banner)

5 Mounted Yeomen
5 Mounted Yeomen

Field Trebuchet
Field Trebuchet

Vampire Counts
Master Necromancer (L4, Lore of Vampires, Flaming Rod of Death, Talisman of Preservation) (Invocation of Nehek, Vanhels Dance Macabre, Gaze of Naghash, Hellish Vigor)

Necromancer (L2, Lore of Death, Dispel Scroll, Ruby Ring of Ruin) (Spirit Leech, Aspect of the Dreadknight)

30 Crypt Ghouls (Champion)
5 Dire Wolves
20 Zombies

30 Grave Guard (Great Weapons, Standard, Champion, Banner of the Barrows)


This was looking to be an interesting matchup for me.  My last encounter with a Terrorgheist resulted in my Grail Knights being blown off the board turn 1, and my Men At Arms being thoroughly out of position after having to deal with it and getting murdered.  He had me completely on Magical superiority, with 6 levels to my 2, and I hadn't come across the Rod of Flaming Death before.  Killing Blow on the Grave Guard was also looking unpleasant.

From my part, I had my twin Trebuchets to give me significant ranged smashing power.  Mounted Yeomen gave me some cheap, disposable chaff, but also some highly mobile shooting.  Both Knight Buses were equipped to dish out a significant amount of hurt, and meant that the bulk of my points were in hard to kill units.


Deploying my Yeomen out wide I had hoped to be able to use them to screen against War Machine hunting from his Dire Wolves, though I weighed in more heavily on the East flank with my Knight buses.  Trebuchets went into opposite corners to take advantage of the slower moving Undead.

The Vampires deployed in a fairly tight formation, casters bunkered in their Zombie unit, flanked on either side by Crypt Ghouls and Grave Guard.  Dire Wolves went wide to nail a Trebuchet and the Terrorgheist took position on the West flank of the undead forces.

Both armies made use of their vanguarding forces, with the Mounted Yeomen advancing towards the Undead and the Dire Wolves advancing on the Field Trebuchet.

Turn 1 - Vampire Counts

The undead forces move with surprising speed, the Terrorgheist unfurling its wings and taking to the skies, swooping in behind the Mounted Yeomen, while the Dire Wolves continue their approach on the Trebuchet.  Both infantry blocks move in to provide support for the Necromancers and their zombie servants as they advance into range to start unleashing their dark devastation.

Winds of magic whip through the battle field, being harnessed by the masters of the dark arts, the Necromancer opens up proceedings by attempting to whither the spirit of the Bretonnian Lord.  His faith holds strong and no damage is sustained, though it was a close thing.  In rage the Master Necromancer lashes out, bringing to bear the wrathful Gaze of Nagash, while the Damsel cries out as a Knight is killed despite her best efforts.  A fireball lights the sky as it sails into the massed Knights, but does little more than clean their armour.

Out on the left flank, the Terrorgheist roars its eternal hunger into the face of the Peasant Yeomen, who clearly think better of their presence here; fleeing not only the battle, but also their mortal coil in their haste to escape from the beast.

Turn 1 - Bretonnia

Seeing a threat to the peasants crewing the war machine, Lord Sechnaill orders the Yeomen to attend to the Dire Wolf threat, with the peasants bringing their Draft Horses around to face the wolves.  Knights of the Realm move up and prepare for the glorious charge to come.

A breeze of energy passes through the battle field, and the Damsel harnesses what she can from the winds, casting Wyssan's Wildform upon Lord Sechnaill's Lance of Knights, however was not able to squeeze enough power from the air to get off Pann's Impenetrable Pelt upon all the assembled characters.

The Yeomen Cavalry let fly their arrows into the Direwolves, bringing down one of the beasts while the Field Trebuchets unleash their deadly cargo.  The first Trebuchet lands amidst the zombies, crushing 11 of them back into the ground with a direct hit.  Meanwhile the second Trebuchet offloads a boulder, with the boulder flying true but only inflicting a single wound as the Terrorgheist dodges the brunt of it.

Turn 2 - Vampire Counts

They jaws dripping with saliva as they catch wind of the enemy, the Dire Wolves launch themselves at the Mounted Yeomen, who don't even have time to think about drawing a bow before they are upon them.  The Terrorgheist returns to the sky, flying itself over to the Bretonnian Knights, but falls just short of being able to have a polite conversation with them about Nagash and whether they've considered their retirement plans.  The Zombies move up into the Tower while the Crypt Ghouls withdraw slightly while the Necromancers consider their next actions.

The winds of magic ceased to blow through the battlefield, soaked as it was in the blood of dead peasants and the more foetid, stagnant blood of the undead.  The Necromancer took advantage of some of the small magic there was and hurled a Fireball into the midst of Lord Sechnaill's Knight Lance, and despite the efforts of the Damsel managed to claim yet another Knight to serve in the afterlife.  Meanwhile, the Master Necromancer calls upon his dark energies to conjure up more undead to serve in his newly acquired residence but the Damsel unfurls her scroll and quickly squashes that notion.  Apparently she doesn't like undead butlers.

While the Wizards bandy back and forth with the miniscule magic that's available, the Direwolves pounce upon the unsuspecting Yeomen, dragging down two of their number to feast, while the peasants take down two of the Direwolves in return.  Luckily the Battle Standard Bearer was nearby, as the Peasants considered running away before realising that they'd be better off being eaten by wolves than face the fate that would await them should they show fear in the face of the enemy.

Turn 2 - Bretonnia

Lord Sechnaill looked upon the tower in dismay.  "What the blazes did they go and do that for?  Here we are, ready for a stand up fight upon the glorious fields of battle, and they go and hide behind brick and mortar." he mutters to his second.  "Alright men!  Dismount and let's go get those bastards out of there" he bellowed, climbing down from his faithful steed and charging the tower, trusting his men to follow.

Lord Sechnaill's lance of Knights dismount and assault the building, while the BSB's lance moves in to a supporting position to protect the flank of their brothers.  The Lady is truly in control of the Winds of Magic now, as they gust through with considerable force allowing the Damsel to get off Wyssan's Wildform on the assault party, but the Master Necromancer prevents Pann's Pelt from being cast.

The trebuchets creak loudly, as the one on the Eastern flank lands a large boulder right on the spine of the Terrorgheist, crushing the life (or lack thereof) out of the beast.  The other peasants, in an attempt to out perform the other Trebuchet, load far too large a rock into the sling and manage to foul up the workings, inflicting sizeable damage on the war machine and needing to spend some time to repair it.

Mounted Yeomen, 3 of which still survive, fight on valiantly against the Dire Wolves, but with no real effect, their frenzied flailing with their spears not doing much to slow the beasts down as they drag another peasant from the saddle and feast upon his flesh.  Remarkably, they hold the line and continue to fight.

Meanwhile, Lord Sechnaill himself leads the assault party into the building, where they butcher 9 of the remaining zombies before they get to strike back.  The last zombie takes a swipe at one of the Knights but seems to crumble to dust before his blow lands.  The necromancers also feel their fell magic fade away as they too return to the graves from whence they came.

The Damsel relaxed visibly, feeling the taint leave the air as the dark wizards were slain.  A nigh imperceptible wave emanated from the building, more a lack of power than any surge thereof.  As it passes across the gathered undead, some of the Grave Guard lose their momentum and fall to the ground.  It doesn't appear to affect any of the undead amassed, but the tension that was building behind her eyes has passed.

Turn 3 - Vampire Counts

Without the Necromancers to hold them in check, their path was clear.  The warm, fleshy creatures encased in their tin cans had to die.

And without a sound, the Grave Guard crashed into the flank of the Knights of the Realm, just as they were mounting back up after their victory.  At the same time, the Crypt Ghouls charged hungrily into their midst, hoping to crack open their steel plating and feast upon the flesh within.

Over on the East flank, the Dire Wolves finally bring down the surviving two peasants, who scream their last before their throats are torn clear of their bodies.

Against the General's Knight lance, the Grave Guard manage to butcher 3 of the Knights of the Realm, while Lord Sechnaill took the head off a Grave Guard and the Paladin and Knights take down a Crypt Ghoul.  Though flanked and outnumbered, the Knights remain stubborn and hold.

4 of the Grave Guard lose hold of the energies keeping them alive, and fall to the ground.  As do the surviving 2 Dire Wolves, crumbling amidst their feast.

Turn 3 - Bretonnia

With a mighty thunder of hooves, the remaining lance of Realm Knights crashes into the now exposed flank of the Grave Guard.  Another strong breeze passes across the Battle Field and the Damsel makes the most of it, casting Wyssan's Wildform on Lord Sechnaill and his lance, and casting Pann's Impenetrable Pelt in a bubble around herself.  With his magically imbued strength, Lord Sechnaill takes down 3 Crypt Ghouls, while his Paladins, stunned by his display of brutality, completely forget to use their own weapons.  One of the Knights fighting alongside his Lord manages to slay one of the Grave Guard, while the newly arrived Knights slay 5 more.  The Crypt Ghouls drag down the champion of the Lord's Knights, tearing him to shreds while the Grave Guard land 3 solid blows on the same Knightly unit, only to be caught upon their shields.  They have more success with the new Knights, slaying 2 of them as they ride in.

Lord Sechnaill looks up from his latest opponent to realise that there's nobody left to fight.  The energies sustaining the undead forces appears to have been removed as their masters quit the field and divert their attentions elsewhere.  Looking around, he notes with some satisfaction that he has sustained few casualties.  He turns, gathers his men and calls "For High King Boru!  For the Lady!" leading the men in a series of cheers before gathering their fallen as he notes several of the younger knights already pulling out wineskins to toast their victory.  It had been a long day, and it looked like there would be a long night ahead.  With a smile he made note of the men pulling deeply from the wine.  Somebody has to ride in the vanguard tomorrow morning.

Result: Bretonnian Victory!

If you have any comments, queries or recommendations please drop them in the comments thread below.  Thank you very much for reading!

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