Saturday, 29 August 2015

Wachturm Weg: A Warhammer Third Edition Skirmish Battle Report Part One


I have some very good news. My dear friend, Dan, has reappeared from the depths of the maelstrom and he assures me that his famous Heroquest collection is still very much in existence. You know, the near mint set given to him by a work colleague who thought he might like it. Follow the link to find out more about that haul! 

Anyway, with his return I planned a suitable Oldhammer style game as I doubted he'd had much time to throw dice about a table in the two years since I last saw him. We are lucky with our house, as we have a very sunny conservatory off the kitchen that I use for my hobby activities. Setting up the table I created for the McDeath game at the Foundry, I utilised some repaired Warhammer Townscape buildings I put together for an old Realm of Chaos game we played years back. That game was called The Walls of Contagion and was the second ever battle report I included on this blog. It's in three parts and can be found here, here and here.

That game was played over three years ago and the buildings had suffered a little. I rebased them and black lined the white edges left over from scoring the card but didn't get around to painting the sand I'd stuck down. Not that it seemed noticable once the models were set up on the table. 


Once Dan was settled, I passed him his brief and armylist. I'll include it here so you get a flavour on what he had to work with. The game began with this missive: 

"You are Sir Danek Wilheim, Lord of the Landloseritter of Flusstadt, and commander of a group of foot knights. You have been sent up river by the local Duke to clear out a group of irritating bandits who have been preying on local rivercraft. Rumour has it, an important dignitary has had an embarrassing consignment of silken underclothes stolen and will stop at nothing to reacquire them. Your orders are simple; flush out the bandit camp, eliminate their menace and locate the underclothes post haste.

Local Rivermen have reported odd goings on around Wachturm Weg, a derelict watchtower to the north. The area is remote and the maps you could muster back in Flusstadt were poor indeed, so you have little to go on, though there is a sheep farm reported to be based near the remains of the tower.

Perhaps you could start there?"

And his patrol force was made up of the following: 

Sir Danek Wilheim, Lord of the Landloseritter. Level 15

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WS
BS
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A
Ld
Int
Cl
WP
3
7
7
4
4
2
7
2
8
7
8
7




He is armed with a hand weapon, light armour and a shield. SV 4+

9 Foot Knights

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WS
BS
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3
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3
3
3
1
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1
7
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7




Your knights are armed with a hand weapon, light armour and a shield. SV 4+

Ludwig Hecke, Wizard Level 15

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4
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9
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9




SV 6+   Magic Level 2.  Power Level 21.
Spells: Level 1 Battle Magic: Aura of Resistance, Fireball, Immunity to Poison. Level 2 Battle Magic: Mental Duel. Mystic Mist, Smash.

Reaching for the dice, the game was suddenly in hand. Now before I go on to explain what occurred let me briefly explain how I approach games of this type. My role is GM and I hope to create a scenario where the player has more fun than I do. There were several points in the game where I could have attempted an action that could (and I stress could) have ended the game for Dan, but I chose not to as I had created a story I wanted to lead to its conclusion. 

The rules are there purely to facilitate the story. 


It had been a tiresome river journey that had taken most of the morning and all of the previous day. Sir Wilheim's men were irritable as they strode down the gangplank towards the glistening beach, and he could hardly blame them, cooped up as they had been on the prow of the boat that had rushed them through darkness to Wachturm Weg. The tide was out now, but a deep channel had been cut through the sand that allowed the small boat to cruise up to the beach and drop them off. 

"My bowels..." grumbled Ludwig Hecke, a local hedge wizard and authority on the area they had been sent to explore. "They are never sturdy after a river voyage, they gripe you see, they gripe! Must be all that clean air." Rudely, the scruffy fellow pushed past Wilheim and strode through the dunes that lead to the shore line. 

"I thsay," Sir Wilheim called indignantly, "you cannot juthst go around puthsing Knighths of the Realm around you know? There can be conthsequenceths to thsuch behaviour! I'll have you on a boat to Bogenhafen if you continue in thiths manner!

The dishevelled wizard completely ignored the Lord Knight and pushed his way through the long grass that lead to the scrubland beyond. 

"Bloody wizardths!" Sir Wilheim swore to himself as his command straggled towards him. Nine knights from various duchies made up this force, each of them landless and, like him, in dire need of cash. hence missions such as these always fell to them. Recovering potentially embarrassing items from bandits and vagabonds was his daily bread. 

As his men fell into step behind him, Sir Wilheim walked north. He could see little of real interest and nothing threatening at all. Nearby stood a sheep farm with what looked to be a solitary shepherd peering curiously down at his small patrol.  


While to the east, Wilheim's sharp eyes spotted the diminutive form of what appeared to be a gnome fetching apples from a tree. The little fellow was quite unperturbed by their arrival and carried on with his task regardless. 


"Thso," Sir Wilheim said to his men, "thethse are our localths. To whom thshall we thspeak firthst about the whereabouths of these bandiths, eh? Well, the thshepherd is clothsest, thso we thshall begin there. Watch your guard though, for thethse remote placeths often thsee the local inhabitanths more willing to adhere to the orderths of cutthroathts than their own rightful lord."


Sir Wilheim approached the shepherd with the easy authority that comes to those born to command. "I thsay, I thsay," he called pompously, "come here thso I might ask you a few questionths!"

The shepherd glared back at him with a look totally lacking in respect, before grudgingly taking a few paces forwards to meet the knight. 

"Are you aware of any bandit activity in the area? Reporths of stolen cargoeths? Thingths like that?" Sir Wilheim continued, deciding to ignore the disrespectful look that the shepherd was exhibiting and press on with his quest for information. 

"I doe knoo anythen abart anny bandits," the shepherd spat, "but I does knoo its rude ter just walk into someones um an' start barken orders loike yaouw own the place!"

"That may well be the cathse but I shall have to thsearch your property just the thsame." Sir Wilheim demanded, getting a feeling that this difficult individual was hiding something, and in his line of investigation, suspicious usually meant guilty. 

"I suggest yaouw all bugger off or I'll set me sons on yaouw!" The shepherd barked back. 


And without another word, he strode around the corner of the building and in through the doorway concealed at the back of the house. The sound of bolts being thrown across study wood followed shortly. 


"Right men," Sir Wilheim managed, trying to rescue as much of his lordly dignity as he could,"I'll have that door down now!"

Three of his burly knights strode forwards with their axes drawn. They were rather experienced at this kind of work and recognised immediately that blades would make slow work on the solid oak beams that confronted them. Dutifully, they passed this observation on to their commander. 

"Damn!" Sir Wilheim swore. "Ludwig... Ludwig... Do you know a thspell that will make thshort thrift of that doorway?" 

"I would, lord," the hedge wizard moaned, grabbing his stomach, "but these bowels of mine have been troubling me since I ate that pickled herring on the boat and I am not sure they'll hold up right and decent if I try with my magicks!

He cough and winced, as if to illustrate the point. 

"Just do it! And you men thsearch the houthse. I'll take the rethst of you over to that gnome character and see what he haths to thsay for himthself. Thsomeone muthst know thsomething about the local bandiths and I'd bet my blade that thethse foolths are in deep. Let'ths go!"

Behind the door the sounds of scraping furniture could be heard. Along with metallic clinks that could easily be weapons and armour being prepared. 


With that, Sir Wilheim marched along the path with three of his knights towards the tiny fellow working the fruit tree.

"One of thethse dayths I'll get the damn rethspect I am owed!" He muttered with frustration under his breath. 


As they approached the tiny humanoid, the gnome carefully climbed down from his ladder and picked up a small, but rather dangerous looking crossbow. Unbeknown to SirWilheim, this gnome wasn't just a humble apple picker. He was Little Ron, the infamous Gnome thief and he had explicit instructions what to do if such an incident like this occurred. 

So as the knights advanced, he carefully cocked his weapon. 


"It's often watery you know, watery! And that is on a good day! Any type of seed or cereal causes havoc with them, you see? I barely have time to get to the outhouse before its gushing out of me... and the smell! 

Ludwig continued in this vein until he reached the door, explaining that fish also cause problems for his digestive system in bad weather, then he lightly tapped one of the broad planks that made up the doorway with a filthy finger.

BOOM!

The door exploded backwards into a thousand tiny fragments. Black smoke swirled like dragon's tails. Somewhere inside the building a piercing whistle sounded...


And as if they had been waiting for that shrill call, two figures burst from the unguarded rear door and dashed around the corner of the house. Bob Lambshank, the halfling cook, came first (encouraged by the potential threat to his larder) while Otto the Zani drew his two blades behind him. 



With the door blown off its hinges, Sir Wilheim's knights rushed into the room with practiced efficiency. Spreading out, they engaged the bandits racing down the stairs. Sir Blau lead them into the melee, and was not surprised to see the fat, corpulent shepherd egging on the group of assailants before them. Despite the dance of daggers being played out around him, Sir Blau could make out their foes quite clearly despite the smoke. A wild bandit with long hair, dressed in the Albion fashion swung a sleek sword at one of his comrades while a savage looking half orc slashed wildly with a gigantic mace. 


Meanwhile, the two remaining knights out in the farmyard raced to reach the rear of the building, unsettling the sheep and casing them to buck at the fence of the pen that held them fast. 


Brock Fett smiled with satisfaction. These arrogant fools had thought to blast them to the gods with magic, yet he had been swift enough to order his followers upstairs. He has been ready for this day for years, as all bandits and robbers are, and his men were well versed in what to do if they were attacked. Axehavoc, his half-orc bodyguard, swung wildly with his mace and landed a crashing blow upon the shield of one of the knights, sending him staggering backwards. Brock smiled again, he may look slovenly, but he was a master swordsman, and these knights looked to be lacking in their trade!


Outside Lambshank and Otto clashed with the knights in the farmyard, but blades had hardly bounced from the early parries when the sheep broke free in a panic. Leaping wildly over the fence that trapped them, four of the smelly animals careered into the fighting men...


Sending them all crashing to the floor...


Alerted by the shrill whitsle, Little Ron let loose a bolt from his crossbow, but the projectile snickered into a nearby bush and vanished. Sir Wilheim charged forwards with his axe raised but the small gnome simply turned, made a few hurried signs with his fingers and walked off towards the distant tower. 

Sir Wilheim dashed after him, perplexed by the little creature's strange behaviour, and ran straight into a magical barrier that stopped him and his men, dead! They couldn't cross the invisible line to reach the watchtower! 

Smiling slyly, the gnome slipped away to do the Master's bidding...


The orc lay dying, his blue-black blood spreading like a gruesome stain across the flagstones. The Albion bandit struggled to stem the flow of blood that seeped from a severe cut along his neck, within moments he knew he'd be dead. Their boss, Brock Fett, stood between them as the flithy looking wizard who'd blasted the door off its hinges pointed forth his finger and let loose a fireball at the gurning bandit chief. 

Better to die in battle than burn like a pyre, the Albion thought as he died. A fire ball, all green fizz and anger, raced across the cramped space and collided with Brock. Incredibly, its terrible fire did little to harm the bandit and he emerged from the magic infused smoke with hardly a scratch.


Hardly believing his luck, Brock turned and fled as the knights and Ludwig were momentarily astonished by this miraculous escape. He darted through the undamaged rear door and out into the garden. 


One of the knight's axes split the halfing's shoulder in two, and the pitiful creature fell screaming to the floor. Otto caught sight of his leader fleeing into the garden and attempted to break off the fight with the remaining knight as his colleague finished off the squealing hobbit. Blood splattered across the bags of wool that lay abandoned in the burnt grass. 

Still dazed by the incredible luck of the bandit leader, another knight stepped out into the light of the farm yard and made his way along the space between the building and the hedge - he would bring that fat fool down. 


Moving with surprising speed for a man of his age with a nagging internal complaint, Ludwig sped into the garden. Brock dithered, and decided that fighting hand to hand with the wizard was preferable to taking a second fireball in the chest. Turning, he landed a brutal blow on the wizards arm that wounded the spellcaster slightly. As the older man collapsed, Brock landed a hefty kick in his victim's ribs knocking the sense of the wizard's mind. 


Frustrated by the magical barrier, and concerned by the sounds of battle behind him, Sir Wilheim left his men to try and find a gap in the magical wall. From where he was standing he could make out the brightly coloured surcoats worn by his men as they rushed about the farm. Faint smoke still rose from the area of the front door. A sudden scream rang out...


And was silenced by a sword as Otto had his head sliced from his shoulders. His killer calmly cleaned his blade on the stinking furs he'd worn about his person while his colleagues searched the farm building for any sign of the stolen undergarments. Despite uncovering a great deal of stolen goods, there was no immediate sign of what they were really here for. 


As the wizard staggered back to his feet, he caught sight of Brock leaping over the hedge. Though Ludwig didn't know it yet, the fat bandit was making the same quick signs with his hands as the gnome had done minutes previously. Passing through the magical barrier, Brock made his way towards the looming shape of the watchtower on the hill. 

His master would have questions...

To be concluded....

If you're interested, here are the character stats that I devised for the baddies in the game. As you can see, only Brock Fett was a real threat to Dan's forces, being a Level 10 hero. Still, once in contact with another player things didn't go as I thought, with Dan sending his prime fighter. Sir Wilheim, off wandering the trackways rather than dealing with the bandits. 

It didn't change the result much, bar Ludwig taking two wounds from Brock in the fight in the garden as the knights were more than a match for a bunch of bandits. Dan's dice rolling was poor, especially with his fireball spells (which he loves using) and it was his higher SV really got him through the fight at the farm house, rather than the improved weapon skill.

I always planned for him to be able to deal with the bandits with little trouble and included a little puzzle for him to solve in the magical barrier. 

The Villains

Brock Fett, Bandit Chief, Level 10
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Hand Weapon SV 5+

Axehavoc, Half Orc Bodyguard
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WS
BS
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T
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I
A
Ld
Int
Cl
WP
3.5
3
3
3
3
1
3
1
7
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Hand Weapon Light Armour SV 5+

The Two Brigands, Otto and Donald.
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3.5
3
3
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3
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Hand Weapons, Light Armour SV 5+

Bob Lambshank, Halfling Cook
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2.5
2
4
2
2
1
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1
6
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8




Hand Weapon Light Armour SV 5+

Little Ron, Gnome Thief
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2.5
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8




Hand Weapon Light Armour SV 5+