Thursday, 12 September 2013

Battle Report: Standing Firm at Mourning Glory (Turns 6 & 7)

Right. Oldhammer weekend is all done. Now I had hoped to get Turn 6 & 7 up before I had to leave, but I thought the right thing would be to paint more miniatures in preparation for the weekend.

As it turns out, I was right.

But, in so doing, it appears I have picked up a reputation as a bloke that starts things, but does not end things.

Having had a think about that, perhaps there is some truth in that. There is still that whole Bridge Over the River Chai thing going on. And there's this report. And Lichemaster, of course.

So, I thought I'd start making some headway into these. Of course, there is more to do on the Lichemaster. Much more. But I have everything I need to complete this story, and the story of bride price being fought over at the River Chai. I will aim to make the next two (or three, even) all about closure.

Then you will be able to sleep at night, no doubt, your aching desperation satisfied.

Anyway, enough wasting of time - let us return to the village of Mourning Glory, where the brave defenders have narrowly avoided complete annihilation by the trolls because of their stupidity (the trolls', that is. Not the defenders) and the High Elves have experienced the full wrath of the goblin engines of war.

Turn six awaits!

Battle Navigator
Forces Involved
Deployment and Turn 1
Turns 2 & 3
Turns 4 & 5
Turns 6 & 7 (you are here)

Turn 6

The start of the turn is bittersweet for the goblins. No one fails their animosity check - Hurrah! But the trolls (surprise!) fail their stupidity test, selecting the wall on the other side of the road as their new field of research. Diligent research ensues, with rocks being flung, tasted and bashed together with basic rhythm - enough to stop three mighty trolls from taking any further interest in the halberdiers, all of whom are trying not to be the guys in the front just then.

Grommble continues to stagger towards the trolls, whilst the Gobbo's, made acutely aware of the High Elf presence by the roar of their gun, turn around and move west along the road, mainly because Grommbo is coming, and they are well aware that their annual bonus depends at least partly on being team players.

As Grommbo often says: "There's no 'I' in team, but there is a 'you' in fucked!*"

Grommbo moves to the road, setting up a fantastic Lustrian Standoff. The gun on the hill starts reloading, conveying in no uncertain terms that the ball is most definitely in the court of the elves now, because the goblins can pretty much stand there all day if needs be...

In a rare moment of inspiration, the Stickas shoot a halberdier down, causing them to revisit the up-until-then-resolved matter of who got to stand closest to the trolls.

In the Reserves phase, Grommble continues towards the trolls. If they don't move too far next turn, he might be able to catch them!

But no matter. In the defenders turn, the two remaining Silver Helms overcome their fear and charge the trolls!

Inspired, Victoria charges Grommble!

The Halberdiers, comfortable that the trolls have something else to do, move over the bridge and turn to face the trolls (who, of course, are not facing them at all).

The Elf Guard reduce ranks and squeeze their way through the gap in the hedge, prepared to receive the charge.

The way clear, the Ships Company fire at the cannon on the hill, but the safety conscious goblins are a canny foe: they have fitted a shield to the gun, so none are injured or killed this turn.

The Silver Helms are excellent fighters and both score wounds on the mighty trolls, who, stunned by both the outcome of their research of the bridge and the sudden and painful arrival of two screeching elves on horses, fund themselves unable to retaliate effectively.

Much to the horror of the elves, they watch as the wounded troll clicks its ribcage back into place and closes the gaping rent in its chest with little more than what appears to be a grunt.

Further horror - even though the trolls lose the combat, they hold:

In hind sight, I realised that the trolls should have vomited on the elves - a surefire way of killing them. but I forgot. And they were stupid anyway, so it probably never crossed their minds.

Victoria and Grommble are much more evenly matched. Imagine, if you will, an typical high fantasy movie fight between a hot fantasy babe and a crazed goblin berserker. Now add about 30kg to each of them and slow the action down to 'amateur home video' and you're probably imagining things as they happened.

Long story short, Victoria fails to wound Grommble, but Grommble, with his mighty two handed axe, strikes a telling blow against Victoria. Equipped with only light armour and a shield, she must roll a six to save.

So she does:

Of course, I don't have any amateur home video footage of what such an armour save might look like, but can see Victoria down on one knee with her shield above her head and Grommble's axe wedged firmly in the shield. You are welcome to insert your own image here.

As it stands, then, both Victoria and the Silver Helms win their combat (because of the charge) and push their foes back 2".

Here's an interesting thing I didn't know until Dreamfish pointed it out to me: one can only decline to follow up if victorious in combat if one is defending an obstacle and one passes a leadership test. Still, following up is really important, because it adds +1 to the combat resolution of the next round of combat, as well as giving the attackers +1 to hit, exactly as if they had charged. Worth noting, because even low quality troops can turn a fight around with those +1 bonuses!

The view to the west:

Some cheerleaders Halberdiers keeping an eye on proceedings...

Not pictured here, but just so you know, Dumbel Doore does move closer to the action now that his headlong flight has stopped. He has no magic to offer this turn.

Turn 7

Being stabbed, when not fatal or debilitating, is exactly the sort of thing that helps to focus the mind. You will not be surprised to hear, then, that the trolls, having had just this experience, snap out of their stupidity and stand poised to rain bloody murder down onto the elves.

All of the goblins are near bad (good?) guys, so animosity is now a moot point.

And, most importantly, Grommbo, beast of a goblin that he is, passes his fear test of the elves and successfully charges his chariot into the Guard. I debated as to whether or not Grommbo would have fear of elves, but I then left the dice to resolve the story - fortunately, our goblin came through.

Now that Grommbo has engaged the hated Guard and the Silver Helms are Somewhere Else, the Gobbo's move down the road, happy to 'support' Grommbo for as long as he stays in between them and the elves...

The cannon continues to reload (only three turns to go!) whilst the Stickas continue to rain arrows down on the Halberdiers. Despite the short range, the goblins fail to score any hits!

In 3rd edition, a chariot will cause 1d3 (+1 if equipped with scythes) automatic S4 wounds - a far cry from the ballistic missiles they are in later editions of Warhammer. Despite this lower statline (pathetic aesthetic for the win!), the chariot and the wolves manage to score five wounds on the Guard (four from the chariot, of course)!

And, because such ridiculous scores are being rolled, four of the Guard manage to save!

Grommbo, makes up for this with his two handed axe, cleaving through the armour of two unfortunate elves.

Combat against chariots is a peculiar thing in 3rd edition. Chariots have the weapon skill of the most capable member of crew, but no toughness or armour save. Simply, one totals the number of successful hits against the chariot and then consults the damage table - one needs to score at least eight hits before the chariot starts taking damage. There are no rules to allow the attacking of the crew and it is very much the discretion of any characters riding the chariot whether or not they want to dismount and fight, or stay in the safety of the chariot and fight from there. 

Anyway, the elves only cause two hits against the chariot, meaning no damage is caused. As a result, the mighty Grommbo wins the round and pushes the Guard back:

Victoria is much more fortunate in this turn of combat and is able to score a wound on Grommbo! She is equipped with the parasitic blade (which allows the wielder to 'steal' a point from any statistic of their foe on a successful wound) and elects to steal an attack!

This shrewd move on the girl's part means that Grommbo fights back with fewer attacks and as could only be hoped for - he fails to hit with them. He's no slouch, though, and holds for another turn, only being pushed back by Victoria.

In what turns out to be quite an embarrassing non-fight, neither the  Silver Helms nor the Trolls are able to score a hit (still forgetting about the vomit attack here), so it turns out that the Silver Helms win the round again. The Trolls are pushed back - into the Halberdiers!

I don't think there are any clear rules around this situation, so I just went with a panic test (as if the trolls had been charged in the rear whilst in combat), but without applying any charge bonuses to any units. Amazingly, the Trolls held!

In the defenders turn, the Ships Company charge Grommbo in the flank. This causes both a panic test (charged in the flank whilst engaged elsewhere) and a fear test (because goblins fears elves), but he is Grommbo, after all - tribe leader and all round bad-ass goblin. He shrugs off the concern as he continues to wave his axe around dangerously, killing four elves. Unfortunately, for the elves, they are only able collectively score six hits on the chariot, so no actual damage is caused, but it is enough to win the combat.

As mentioned before, he's Grommbo.

He doesn't rout, but he is pushed back.

Victoria is again successful in her prosecution of fat goblins. She scores another wound, stealing yet another attack (which she adds to her own profile, by the way), making it even harder for Grommble to fight back. Fatigued by a broken leg and a steady loss of attacks, the goblin fails to hit Victoria and is once again pushed back.

The trolls are now fighting desperately, stuck as they are between a rock and a hard place. What I didn't do properly here, though, was have the halberdiers automatically hit the trolls. Let me explain.

If you charge an enemy who is already fighting in another direction - and the enemy unit do not have any spare models that can turn to face you (like they would if they had many ranks, for instance), then the unit charging will hit the enemy automatically. This would have been true for the Ships Company charging Grommbo as well.

Anyway, I rolled dice for the whole lot, which led to every single model in combat missing.

Every single one.

But still, because of follow up and the banner, the defenders won the fight.

And this time, the trolls routed.

Lets see if you can guess what happens when a low leadership army watches the prime of its assault force crack under the pressure of combat. Actually, have three guesses.

The first two don't count.

Gimme a 'P'!
Gimme an 'A'!
Gimme an 'N'!
Gimme an 'I'!
Gimme a 'C'!

What does that spell?

That's right. Screwed.

Grommbo panics!
The Stickas panic!
The Gobbos panic!

The Trolls flee!
The Silver Helms pursue!
The Halberdiers pursue!

The trolls are absolutely butchered. The number of free hacks (which hit automatically) were enough to completely decimate the trolls, who failed to regenerate this time, leading to much rejoicing and merriment amongst the defenders!

The Gobbos fled straight through, over and under the crew of the Lead Belcher, causing them to panic too!

And so it is now as it has always been:

If a goblin can panic, a goblin will panic. It is a proverb that has protected the kingdoms of men and dwarves for centuries.

Grommbo begins to suspect he's alone...

So, the goblin force was routed. Grommbo himself elected to withdraw, chasing after his cowardly tribe. Rumour has it he butchered nearly half the tribe, both as a punishment for their failure and as the only victuals now available to his force.

Commander Bhond elected not to pursue Grommbo further - his small force had taken far more casualties than he had expected, including his captain. The elves reasoned that the goblins had been suitably reprised and were unlikely to target their trading post again.

As for Victoria and Dumbel? Well, they stayed to help the wounded and to bury the dead. Any reader of WHFB (1st ed) will know just how rare and valuable spell components harvested from a troll can be, so Dumbel took it upon himself to extract every last disgusting internal from the deceased trolls, which just confirmed to the defenders how bloody peculiar dwarves are.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the game. I forgot many rules, but because I forgot them fairly across both forces, I don't feel that I compromised the game in any way. I think the story turned out superbly and is a fitting fantasy story of both heroics and bravery and cowardice and stupidity. In a way, it was a pity that panic undid so much of the goblin army (and so quickly), but it fits well with my fantasy understanding of goblins, and it goes to show how useful simple spells (like leg breaking) can be in changing games - had those trolls been under control, I think things would have been very different indeed. I think the forces were well matched (unplanned) and I was glad that scenery played such a big part in the game - the first warhammer game, frankly, in decades, where that has been the case for me.

I found it easy to imagine the scenes and see the story unfold for the poor defenders of Mourning Glory. I'm hoping you did the same. Perhaps, if you have the figures, you might want to fight this scenario out yourself and see where you end up? I certainly think the goblins could take the village.

Anyway, thanks for joining me in this most bizarre of experiences, here's to further reports hopefully in a more narrative style in the future!

*Actually, he never says that, but it is something I say quite regularly. He'd have to know how to spell for it to make sense. Apologies for the sudden inclusion of an expletive. It is Warhammer For Adults, after all.


  1. Wait, that's it? You've finished a battle report? I've got the sweats! ;)

    Great work Gaj, loved that one a lot.

    1. Many thanks, Mr Paul - I've got the sweats too! What will I do when I finish all of my unfinished things?! I'm terrified!

  2. An epic finale! You have got me in the mood for a game this weekend.

  3. Splendid! Gobbos gotta Gobbo and all.

    Better luck to Grommbo next time.

    1. Aye. Poor 'ol Grommbo. He'll be back. I just don't know how many more words I can extract from 'Grom' before I run out :)

  4. Well done! Man, I was really worried for those elves there.

    I guess it makes sense that the Trolls didn't vomit, though. They probably didn't have much in them to spew, since the whole warband was hungry and looking for food!

    1. Yes, I think you're right - it feels like the whole story supported itself - I can see many of the poor decisions the goblins to be attributed to a tired and hungry force, expecting an easy run at a village.

      I fully expected the elves to flatten the goblins without blinking - it goes to show just how much chance everything has in the system.

  5. Great report. Cannot wait to hear more tales of tabletop daring do....

    1. Thanks very much - I look forward to more opportunities to tell some!

  6. Bugger - I'd better finish off a few things I've been meaning to get around to now!

    A most entertaining read - like you say it has all the components of a great tale of fantasy high jinks - even if they were super-sized and slow motion in some instances!

    1. Thank you, Mr T - very high praise coming from your good self!

      Double D6 - still makes me laugh.

  7. I love this it was awesome!

    What bribes will be necessary to convince your wife and offspring they desperately need to escape to Outside Over There once more.

    Loved it.

    1. Thank you, sir!

      I'm not so sure its bribes that will work - I think we're talking about planetary alignment here. They keep going out in the week, so that I'll have the maximum opportunity to spend time with them over the weekend, despite my protests otherwise. I think I need to book some days leave without telling them...

    2. Cunning...there's a distinct chance I may need to do the same thing...