Author Topic: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)  (Read 9238 times)

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #105 on: February 11, 2017, 05:07:29 PM »
End of Season 8 General Report (Winter 2402-3) Part 4

Antonio Mugello’s Letter Continued

From Alcente I will plot a course northwards. You, my lord, are almost certainly aware of the following news, but I include it so you might know that which I have learned here in Pavona. Earlier this week an emissary from Luccini arrived, missing the duke by a matter of days, and today departed in the hope of catching up with the duke upon the road. The emissary carries an invitation to King Ferronso III’s confirmation ceremony. The regent, Ferronso’s uncle Duke Ercole Perrotto, has apparently grown ill over the last few months, which most likely explains why the ceremony is being done at the earliest possible opportunity, to officially recognise the 15 year-old monarch as ruler in practise as well as name.

King Ferronso III, the boy-king, son of the ‘Lion’ of Luccini, King Ferronso II, here seen in his family’s famous Palazzo di Luce
 



The ceremony will take place at the close of Spring, and it is presumed that all the neighbouring rulers will be invited, including the Reman Overlord Matuzzi, the arch-lector of Morr (whomsoever that is), Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiori and various lesser nobles neighbouring Luccini, such as current Gonfalonieri of Ridraffa, perhaps even the commander of the VMC in Alcente. I cannot see how Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona can possibly attend considering the precarious and dire state of his realm, and it would seem a similar species of madness were Overlord Matuzzi to attend, what with the immediate threat presented by Razger Boulderguts’ double-army. I have heard it suggested, cruelly, that ‘old’ Matuzzi, along with other nobility, might use the invite as an excuse to escape danger during this time of troubles? He did, after all, previously divest himself of his proper authority simply to shirk the responsibility of rule.

King Ferronso’s sister, Princess Mariangella, two years younger than he and of an age to be betrothed, is likely to become the focus of a second political concern in Luccini. It occurs to me now that young Lord Silvano is unmarried, and might well be considered a very eligible candidate. Whether or not the proud Duke Guidobaldo would wish to promote alliance with a far away and relatively weak state such as Luccini, however, is another matter. Besides, Lord Silvano has yet to safely return from his perilous adventures.

Again, my lord, you are probably more informed concerning the following matter than myself, but I intend to be thorough in my report on Tilea, and so will proceed in the confidence that you will not take my words as worthless. Lord Alessio of Portomaggiore seems to have finally quelled the unrest infecting Raverno, by taking it under his military rule. As to why he should do so, I think it very likely that he harbours doubts concerning the VMC’s intentions. After all, it was the VMC who sent a force to raze Camponeffro to punish Raverno for its treatment of their ambassadors. Lord Alessio’s own realm apparently enjoys peaceful prosperity, the profits of which enabled him to send forces of various kinds to assist in both the war against Khurnag’s Waagh and the Vampires of the north. While all these mercenary expeditions failed, smashed and scattered against much greater foes, Portomaggiore has nevertheless extended its dominion, acquiring control of Raverno and thus gaining a dependent marche to hinder and absorb any landward attack. If Lord Alessio were similarly to gain lordship of Luccinni, Ridraffa and even (may all the gods shield you) your own Verezzo, he would possess a great and wealthy state indeed, with his beloved Portomaggiore effectively fortified by an outer ring of petty states. Considering his own forces have yet to be committed to any real conflict, it is no wild supposition to assume he commands an army of considerable strength, making him perhaps the most powerful, living Tilean lord in the realm, not including stranieri, vampiri or bruti. I tell you this not to conjure unnecessary fears, but rather to reveal what seems possible, perhaps likely, to such an observer as myself.

Although the story of it has no doubt travelled throughout Tilea, by your leave I shall tell you all that I have gleaned concerning the battle before Ebino. The battle was great indeed. Morr’s holy army, composed of Reman soldiers, mercenaries under long term contract to Remas, the mercenary army of Arabyans commanded by Gedik Mamidous (sent by Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore), and the Pavonan Lord Silvano (Duke Guidobaldo’s lone surviving son) had begun the construction of a huge fortified camp, at the heart of which stood a sanctified - if makeshift - shrine to Morr. The soldiers drilled and laboured, while the genius Angelo da Leoni attempted to convert his steam powered war-engine into a mobile ramp from which to assault the walls, and the throng of priests began chanting powerful prayers to weaken the necromantic magic holding the enemy forces in this world. But all was to no avail, for the vampire duchess’s army sallied forth unexpectedly, much larger than the Remans had believed it to be, containing truly monstrous and unnatural beasts and engines, and caught Morr’s army unprepared. Their camp incomplete, their mighty war machine weakened by the work being done upon it, and their army made up mostly of mercenary troops with little faith in Morr, all added together to cause disaster. The priests’ prayers, their suppliant rites barely begun, wrought little harm upon the foe, and the undead wreaked great slaughter.

A mere fraction of the arch-lector’s army survived to flee the field in disarray. Gedik Mamidous is rumoured to have escaped, along with perhaps half of his arabyans, as did Lord Silvano and the genius Master Angelo. The vampire duchess must surely have gained great strength from her enemy’s corpses, magically luring them from death to undeath and so into her service. It is said she is now establishing a mockery of the church of Morr, with lesser vampires masquerading as priests and mobs of shambling zombies gurgling foul hymns, claiming Nagash to be the god of gods.



Yet she has halted, and does not seem to have advanced any further south than Ebino. None (alive) can know what has delayed her, whether it is merely her own inclination and desires, or whether she has other obstacles to overcome before advancing further.

What few folk have been brave (or foolish) enough to remain in Viadaza now live in fear of what could come at any moment. Having only recently completed the horrible work of cleansing the city of corruption, they now face the prospect of Viadaza once more falling under the abominable rule of the unliving. The people of Urbimo are only a little less worried, having gained some reassurance from Viadaza being closer to the evil, thus acting as a buffer against the duchess’s reach, and that (as I have already mentioned) the soldiers of the Estalian Compagnia del Sole are currently quartered in the vicinity providing an accidental garrison of considerable strength. Needless to say, Capitano Bruno Mazallini’s soldiers have been warmly welcomed and generously provisioned, even to the hardship of the populace, who are happy to suffer hunger and even the usual ignominies that invariably accompany the presence of condottiere, in return for the presence of seasoned soldiers. The prospect of aching bellies, pilfered trinkets and a gaggle of disgraced damsels fades into insignificance compared to the horrors of conquest by the living dead!

As I explained earlier, there is no certainty regarding why the soldiers of the second Compagnia del Sole have returned to Tilea, only conflicting reports. Some say it is merely the fact that their Estalian contract has ended, and that they have returned either by order of their Estalian employers or because they want new employment in Tilea, where there is doubtless need for their aid. Whether or not they already have a new contract is uncertain, for it may be that they have several offers, or perhaps one offer yet to be signed and sealed. Some say that the arch-lector Calictus II invited them, and if so Captain Mazallini must now be wondering what to do. Perhaps the Reman Overlord Matuzzi, or whoever succeeds to the arch-lector’s throne, will re-affirm the offer of contract? Other suggestions concerning their new employer include Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore (who, after all, has previously employed such large mercenary companies, and who’s own state has remained relatively untouched, and consequently prosperous, by the wars recently ravaging the peninsula)? Or perhaps they are to serve Duke Guidobaldo, brought so low by the brutes of Campogrotta, and no doubt eager for revenge and to regain what he has lost? Still others believe that they are in the employ of whichever Bretonnian lord believes himself to be the heir of Ravola, where what little remains habitable is garrisoned by ogres; or the mountain dwarfs of Karak Borgo, whose rich trade with Tilea has ceased completely; or the VMC, perhaps the only employer with the resources to actually pay the no-doubt massive sums offered to gain the Compagnia’s service? All, however, is speculation, which is possibly just what Captain Mazallini and/or his employer want.

It is reliably reported that there is turmoil in the great city of Remas, for as so often during the election of a new arch lector, a variety of factions are clashing over the decision. Even in times of peace there can be much upset, and all the moreso when the whole of Tilea is threatened with ruin. In theory, Overlord Domenico Matuzzi governs the state with signorial authority, and could not only influence the choice but could also rule the city with a strong hand whilst the election occurred, but as he voluntarily handed over the reins of power to the arch-lector he has made himself a weak candidate for de facto ruler even now that Calictus is dead. It is commonly expected that the new arch lector will continue to rule both church and state. The Reman Captain-General Scaringella leads a force in the field, presumably in an attempt to prevent the tyrant Boulderguts’ double army troubling the city state, which limits his own ability to influence the government of the city or the election of the new arch-lector, and means the chances of him establishing martial rule are low.

The Church of Morr has yet to decide upon Calictus’ successor, a decision made difficult not only by the number of candidates (the foremost being the lectors of Verezzo and Viadaza, Luigi Grasica and Bernado Ugolini respectively) but also by the radicalisation of the church in response to the growing threat from the north. Powerful cults have formed, the populace swelling the number of their dedicati, with Sagranalian tendencies and more than a smattering of the Pavonan heresy of Morr Supreme, and their leaders, particularly Father Carradalio and his Disciplinati di Morr, are also jostling for the arch-lectorship.

I shall return at the last to matters of which I am more reliably informed. Razger Boulderguts, his ravenous army swollen in size by Mangler’s band of brutes, is hauling a massive train of loot, plundered from Trantio, Astiano and the villages of Pavona. Until now all that Duke Guidobaldo’s soldiers have been able to do is slow his progress a little and (by razing some of their own lands) deny him some of the spoils he would otherwise have taken. Pavona now lies bruised and battered, which may well be the future fate of Remas if Boulderguts cannot be stopped. The duke commands a large army, which I myself saw mustered and marching from the city, as well as other forces like those sent away from Viadaza by the arch-lector as a gesture of solidarity concerning the ogre threat. But is his army sufficiently strong to defeat the brute double army? If only Prince Girenzo of Trantio were still alive, and commanding his armies. If only Remas had not lost the bulk of its forces in the war to the north. Then a grand alliance indeed could have been formed. As things stand, it may well be that all these once great powers can do is scrape together sufficient forces to defend their walls, and give thanks to the gods that they can do so. Again and again I have heard it said that the brutes and the vampires must be in league, the first growing rich upon all that they can steal, and sated on all the flesh they can eat, so that the latter can then take possession of the wasted land left in the brutes’ wake, turning the rotting remnants of the ogres’ victims into servants. And so, evil is piled upon evil as one hell begets another.

Your humble servant, Antonio Mugello

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #106 on: March 05, 2017, 11:18:24 AM »
Media Vita in Morte Sumus
(In the midst of Death we are in Life)

Biagino grinned as he scrutinised the two prisoners before him, an expression of joy somewhat marred by the sharp fangs revealed in doing so, and the malignant gleam of his narrowed eyes.



They were the only two living people within a mile, yet this did not mean the graveyard was otherwise quiet, what with the fluttering of Biagino’s robes in the breeze and the clinking clatter of bone meeting iron armour – the undead were unquiet. 

“I have to say, this is a most pleasant surprise,” Biagino declared, his voice a croaking whisper, yet audible nevertheless. “You are exactly what I was hoping for. More than that,” he added, his dry hiss transforming into something more akin to a growl, “I like you. It will be a pleasure to have your service for a long, long time.”

The men before him were a disparate pair. Both exhibited deep fear, but each in their own, particular way. One, a dedicant of the Disciplinati di Morr, stood in desperate, rigid defiance, determined to die on his feet and so conjure the illusion of courage to the end. Open mouthed, he gulped at the air, like one who had only moments before been drowning. Both his robes and flesh were torn and bloodied, the delicious sight and scent of which stirred up with the smell of his hot, exhaled breath to arouse the ancient hunger in Biagino.



The other was a lesser priest. He knelt, his tonsured head bowed, wringing his hands tightly together as he stumbled over a prayer, his strained voice nothing more than a suppressed whine. A mortal man would have struggled to discern the words, but Biagino had the acute senses possessed by most vampires and could hear every syllable. Not that he needed to, for he knew the prayer intimately, having spoken if often enough when alive. It was a prayer for protection against evil.

“Júdica Morre nocéntes me,” the priest intoned, forcing the words – along with spittle and blood - through clenched teeth, “expúgna impugnántes me … me … Confundántur et revereántur quaeréntes ánimam meam.”



Biagino was surprised to feel the prayer’s potency working upon him. There was a sting to the words, a sharpness, as if their very sound was barbed, and the intent they carried scratched against some weakness hidden deep within him. Rather than recoil at the sensation, however, he gave himself up to it, like someone lowering themselves into bath waters a little too hot for comfort, and so turned the feeble curse into a source of stimulation. Quite contrary to its purpose, he was enlivened by it, pricked into an even more present awareness than his ordinary state of being.

“Your faith is palpable,” he said. “I am impressed by the power of it. Such spirit, such strength. I want you to keep these things, only I would have them serve the great Nagash and not your pathetic, sleeping excuse for a god. Morr is not worthy of such passion. It is wasted upon him. I will put your fervour to much better use.”



Biagino turned his attention to the two robed and hooded thralls standing behind the prisoners. They were the first of his newly made clergy, La Fraternita di Morti Irrequieti. They too were vampires, but begotten in such a way that they were wholly beholden to his will. Their service was so complete that their very thoughts consisted almost entirely of echoes of his own; their minds were almost solely concerned with serving him, with just enough of their own, personal cruelty to revel in their deeds.



It took only the tiniest of nods to convey his command, and the two thralls began chanting.

“Anima Nagashi, sanctifica me. Corpus Nagashi, salve me. Sanguis Nagashi, inebria me.”

“Yes, we are blessed by him,” said Biagino, and for a moment was tempted to join them in the chant. Instead he looked down at the Morrite priest, who was rocking gently as he continued his own prayer. Biagino chose instead to listen to the priest’s words, having completely forgotten that when alive the confused jumble of sound – rasping breaths, chanting thralls and mumbling priest – would have left him struggling to comprehend any individual part. Now no effort was needed, especially as the words were laced with delicate shards which prickled at his mind.

“Avertántur retrórsum … et  ... et … confundántur, co … cogitántes míhi mála.”

“I am not going to wrong thee,” complained Biagino, “but rather make thee right in the eyes of a true god. And I am afraid it is too late to overthrow us, for your battle was fought and lost.” He chuckled. “I am surprised you did not notice. It didn’t escape my notice, as you can see. Why don’t you turn your thoughts to what is to happen now? It is foolishness to dwell on that which has passed, that which cannot be changed. You would do well to accept that which is happening now, and to embrace that which is to come.”

The priest whimpered pathetically …



… then recommenced his weakening attempt at prayer, “Fíant táamquam pul … táamquam púlvis ante fáciem vénti …. et  … et Daemonus Morre coárctans eos.”

“Tut tut, good priest. You can see that I am not dust, and you know your prayer cannot make me so. As for the languid demons who serve your god, they are no more able to wake than he. Your prayer is wasted, your power is waned, your god is wanting.”

Biagino brought his staff down to point at the priest, mere inches from his bald pate. “Enough,” he hissed, for the first time allowing anger to brace his words. The priest fell silent, his hands suddenly limp, his shoulders sagging. Biagino had wrapped him in his own curse, unspoken as it was but much more powerful than anything the priest had conjured.
 

“Forget all the prayers you have learned. They are ash. Forget all whom you loved. They are lost. Forget all whom you knew. They are doomed. You are to be remade, your flesh refashioned to serve us despite its worldly corruption, and your mind will no more be your own. Oh, and you must learn some new prayers.”

The thralls’ chanting, delivered as if one voice, grew louder. “Aqua lateris Nagashi, lava me. Nagashi, conforta me. O Nagashi, exaudi me.”

“Listen, learn and know. He will wash the flesh from you, and give you strength like you have never known. And your prayers will allow almighty Nagash to drink deep of your soul.”

Biagino smiled, his eyelids part closing as malevolent satisfaction coursed through him. Then he turned his attention to the dedicant. This one would be easier, for not only was the man of a more malleable nature, his raw anger and fear already almost perfectly formed, but he had already made the mistake of looking into Biagino’s eyes. As soon as he did so, Biagino refused to let go, and within moments the man was so entranced that he lost the power to blink, or do anything else for that matter.   

Now Biagino joined the thralls’ droning intonation. “Intra tua vulnera absconde me. Ne permittas me separari a te. In hora mortis meae voca me, et custodierit me in aeternum, ut cum servos tuis laudem te in saecula saeculorum.”

There was a moment’s silence. Then Biagino said, “Now, let us all pray together.”

The prayer was repeated, once, twice, thrice. By the fourth repetition both priest and dedicant also intoned. Biagino himself fell quiet, to watch and listen for a little while. When the prayer came to an end, there was silence.



Then Biagino made the tiniest of gestures with his forefinger. Quicker than any mortal man could manage, the thralls lurched suddenly forwards, arms outstretched, as if they might embrace the two prisoners as old friends.



Needless to say, that was not their intent.

damo_b

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #107 on: March 05, 2017, 06:41:05 PM »
great work as always.
just looking forward to what happens next.
Might even get some miniatures painted.

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #108 on: April 08, 2017, 11:58:52 PM »
@ Damo: Thanks. I hope you like this next bit (I think it has pictures from eight different locations, all with different figures!!) And yeah, paint. It's mighty therapuetic and fun. I myself am now modelling about 50 zombified dedicants (mixing Mantic zombies and ghouls with Frostgrave cultists and GW flagellants with a dash of Perry Miniature thrown in).
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By Order of the Praepositus Generalis
The City of Remas, Spring IC 2403
At the ruins of Tragustan’s Forum




Brother Vincenzo, Admonitor of the Disciplinati di Morr and thus Father Carradalio’s right-hand man, stood motionless as three more dedicants approached the ruins. He carried his staff of office, the brass top containing the holy relic of Saint Albudin’s upper teeth, while at his side hung a flask of thrice blessed water from the sacred spring at Tabbinu, a potent ward against vampires, the mere touch of which would burn and blister their skin more horribly than aqua fortis would mortal flesh. His many layered robes were voluminous, the sleeves so wide they hung to his knees, his heavy woollen hood almost entirely obscuring his eyes.

His guards, posted in a circle about him, gave the newcomers no heed, instead continuing to peer purposefully out into the surrounding woods whilst clutching their spears or polearms. This was just one of several such visiting groups that day, neither the first nor the last, and like all the others they were attired in the grey and red robes favoured by the dedicants of the Disciplinati di Morr. In such circumstances, the guards’ inattentiveness was understandable, but it now occurred to Vincenzo it might well prove dangerous. For all anyone knew, these three could be assassins in disguise – a sinister possibility made no less likely by the fact that two of them wore the full hoods so common amongst dedicants.

As they drew close, Vincenzo focused on the one face he could see, for the man wore nothing but a large zucchetto cap upon his head, and was pleased to discover it was Brother Gaspare. Further reassurance was provided by the fact Gaspare carried a sword, his left hand clutching the pommel, which would be odd indeed if he were an unwilling captive being used by the others to gain proximity. Nevertheless, now was not the time to make assumptions. This was a day of many murders and multiple treacheries across the length and breadth of the city. Success required calculated risks, not unnecessary ones.

“Halt,” he ordered while they were still ten yards away. “Speak.”



It was Gaspare who replied. “By your leave, Brother Vincenzo, we have come to report the southern quarter is almost completely taken. Only a handful of dwellings remain barricaded against us, none of any significance, and their defiance cannot last.”

“Praise be to Morr!” prayed Vincenzo. “So the palazzos are already taken? Both Capistrano and Ordini?”

“Aye, brother, both of them. Some Capistrani bravi made a stand on the Ponte Sistotti, having lit a great fire on the Ponte Ruptus to ensure none could pass there instead. They were not many, but Marshal Raimondo and the Brothers of Righteous Pain* didn’t even stop to count them before charging the bridge.”



“Once those few were slain, those beyond the bridge lay down their arms, protesting they never wished to fight, only those fools already dead. The palazzo gates lay open, and Roberto Capistrani led prayers of thanks that we had so righteously corrected the rebellious bravi serving his foolish nephew on the bridge.”

“Still, he was taken prisoner, yes?”

“Of course.”

“And his nephew?” enquired Vincenzo.

“Either fled or hiding. Marshal Raimondo is searching for him now. If he is in the palazzo he will be found.”

Vincenzo was surprised at this news. He had expected considerable resistance from such a family as the Capistrano – the Reman nobilities’ long and bloody history of time-honoured hatreds had spurred many a clash of arms between them, even full blown sieges. The duels, disputes and disagreements between their petty armies of bravi could turn a street red, and their pride was famously obdurate. Perhaps the ease of victory was Morr’s work?  Perhaps the bravi recognised the holy origins of the dedicati’s fervour, and their fear of Morr proved greater than their pride?

“What of the Ordini family?” asked Vincenzo.

“I myself witnessed what happened there,” said Brother Gaspare. “We approached their palazzo at the very same moment Brother Raimondo charged the Capistrano’s bridge. The Ordini’s men came out, armed and armoured, to meet us. No doubt they had already had word concerning what happened at the western Palazzos and knew full well we did not have gentle intentions.”

“They came out to fight?” interrupted Vincenzo. “Why would they do so?”

“I believe they thought a simple show of strength and the spillage of blood would send us running. We had crossbows, but such was the spirit filling us that several brothers dashed forwards to fight before any bolts could be released.”



“One of their captains ran at Brother Damiano, a furious madness in his eyes, but Damiano simply waited, his axe raised …



“The captain lost his head when the cut was made. The others faltered, but not our brothers. Half the bravi were killed before another captain, maybe one of Galdio Ordini’s sons, ordered their retreat.”



“Such was our fury that before they reached the gate a further half of those left were slain. They could not hold the gate against us long enough to close it, and we took the palace easily. What few survived are now being held, as are the servants and a number of the family. Old Galdeo was not there, nor his sons.”

“You said one of his sons was in the street.”

“Possibly, brother. But that man could not be found either.”

Brother Vincenzo remembered Father Carradalio’s words: “Divide and rule – that’s the way. We must first foster the factions’ mutual distrusts, fan their rivalries and then, when the attack is made and most important of all, ensure they don’t have time to coordinate anyway. By the time they realise the danger they are in, it will be too late to unite into any sort of effective opposition.” Surely, thought Vincenzo, one or two escaped nobles could not present any sort of real threat later on? Besides, the noble factions were not the greatest threat to the Disciplinati di Morr’s capture of the city.

“And the arch lector’s guard?” Vincenzo asked. “Did they not interfere?”

It was one of the hooded dedicants who spoke, his voice somewhat muffled as a consequence.

“We dealt with them before the attacks were begun. Father Gabrielle and myself met Captain Vogel in the first hour of daylight, in the gardens behind the Palazzo Montini. The captain said he knew what must be done, pledging himself a true servant of Morr, and agreed to Father Carrradalio’s terms.”

“All of them?”

“Aye, brother, but he demanded a particular concession.”



Captain Luppolt Vogel was a mercenary from Nuln, a swaggering bravado who instilled complete loyalty in his men. That, and the fact that all were veterans skilled in the martial arts, was what made the arch-lector’s palace guard dangerous, not their numbers, for they were little more than a hundred strong. If the captain had chosen to oppose the Disciplinati’s work that day he could not have prevented their victory, but a lot more dedicants would lie dead by nightfall. Vincenzo was glad to hear that the captain was enlightened enough to recognise, and accept, Morr’s proper and necessary supremacy.

Father Carradalio had ordered that an offer of promotion should be made, making Captain Vogel commander of the entire Reman garrison, and that he be permitted to enlarge his personal company to at least double its current size. In return, the captain was to promise not to interfere with the day’s events, nor to assist any faction or individual opposed to the Disciplinati’s coup. Vincenzo had not expected the captain to ask for anything else.

“What concession?” asked Vincenzo.

“That he and his soldiers be allowed to protect the lectors from harm. When Father Gabrielle objected, saying that agreeing to such would allow the lectors to act against us, Vogel denied that was so. He said protecting them from harm did not mean permitting their communication with the city’s nobility and other factions.”

Hidden by the shadow of his heavy hood …


...  Brother Vincenzo raised his eyebrows. “So the captain’s idea of protection is to keep them prisoner?” he asked.

“After a fashion. He even suggested that their ‘protection’ would increase if the lectors expressed any opposition to Father Carradalio, in this way preventing them from taking any action that might lead to their own harm.”

The mercenary obviously took his contractual vows seriously, thought Vincenzo, even if he had found a convenient way to follow them by the letter rather than by the spirit. He decided that was something to keep in mind during all future dealings with the man.



So far, so good, thought Vincenzo. Every report, and almost all had now come in, was of success. There had been a high cost in lives, including many a dedicant lost to the holy cause, but the city was almost wholly under Father Carradalio’s control. By midnight the task would be all but complete, so that as the Morrite lectors met the next day to cast their votes for the new arch-lector, they would surely be forced to choose Father Carradalio. To do otherwise would be to fly in the face of common sense, for Father Carradalio, Praepositus Generalis of the Disciplinati di Morr, would control the entire city. He would not be merely the strongest power in Remas, he would be the only power. Once he also had the arch-lectorship then his most holy and enlightened rule would be complete.

With luck it would happen just in the nick of time, for umpteen forces loomed outside the city walls, threatening at the least to upset the ascendancy of Morr’s true church, and at the most to destroy the city completely.  Any one of these forces could arrive, and at any hour. Captain-General Scaringella might return with the remnants of the Reman army, declaring martial law and thus his own rule …



… or perhaps Razger Boulderguts’ double army of ogres would outmanoeuvre the captain-general and attack first?



It was even rumoured that the mercenary Compagnia del Sol, newly arrived from Estalia at the nearby port of Urbimo, had been contracted by Luigi Grasica and Overlord Matuzzi to seize the city for them.



Worst of all, the vile and abominable, unliving army of the vampire duchess seemed again to be moving southwards.



Once Father Caradallio, guided by Morr’s spirit, was in possession of the church, city and army of Remas, his forces swelled by legions of fanatical dedicants, then decisive action could at last be taken. In the past, Remas had been too slow to respond, what with a dithering overlord and an uncertain clergy. For years, the first response to danger was to issue declarations and warnings, to plead for aid from neighbouring principalities, or to hire another company of mercenaries to sew into the realm’s mismatched, patch-work army. As Father Carradalio had preached to the throng of dedicants only the day before:

“We are the living embodiment of Morr in this world: his eyes and ears, his voice and limbs. As such we already command the citizens’ fears, for all must die and all fear what will become of them when they do. Once we take the reins of worldly power, then in time the people’s hearts and souls will belong to us too, for only those who yield unto Morr’s true church will be permitted to prosper. If Remas is to survive, if the living of Tilea are to defeat the unholy wickedness that threatens to swallow us whole, consuming both our bodies and souls, we must first annihilate all enemies of the faith, both those within the church and without, purifying the clergy, cleansing Remas, and forging a mighty army of blessed dedicants through which Morr’s mighty will can be channelled in furious anger.”

* Fratellanza di dolore giusti

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #109 on: May 21, 2017, 07:12:09 PM »
The Battle of the Via Diocleta: Prequel

Duke Scaringella and his Reman army marched in the van, as was proper now they were moving through their own territory. The whole force, Pavonans included, was comprised mostly of foot soldiers, along with baggage and a large artillery train, which one might presume would critically limit their speed, ruining their chances of successfully catching the brute foe ahead. This was not so, however, as both armies were pushing  themselves hard – the Pavonans keen to exact revenge for the multitude of insults done to them and theirs by Razger Boulderguts’ ogres, and the Remans desperate to ensure their own realm would not suffer a similar fate. Every effort had been made to ensure a good pace, including assigning the Pavonan’s large pistolier regiment to assist the artillery’s passage in every way they could. Although their poor horses would doubtless be in no fit state to fight when it came to battle, the brute foe would be subjected to battery by a storm of iron round-shot rather than the paltry peppering of leaden pistol balls.

Towards the rear of the Reman column rode the newly elected arch-lector of Morr, Bernado Ugolini. He was accompanied by several servants, a handful of guards and clergy, including his Estalian secretary Duarte, followed by a cart carrying his personal baggage and a small body of Reman militiamen who had recently become noticeably more conscientious in their duties, now that they were accompanying not merely the Lector of Viadaza, but rather the holy father of the Church of Morr.



The Reman cross-keyed standard was carried before Bernado, while off to his side marched a column of iron-clad dwarfen mercenaries who also sported the crossed keys, painted on their shields. They had served in the miscellaneously mercenary Reman army for more than a decade, along with regiments of Cathayans, Empire soldiers and even some elves.

In truth, Bernado would much prefer to be riding northwards directly to Remas, not chasing ogres to the south. The city and the holy church of Morr were in turmoil, since before his election to the arch-lectorship, and even more-so now. As the church’s chosen ruler, he should be there to guide his flock, heal the divisions tearing the Morrite clergy apart and ensure Morr’s protective presence. Duarte and his all his other advisers agreed, however, that the situation was now so bad there was little he could do without an army to back him, which meant travelling wherever the Captain General, Duke Scaringella and his army went. When he finally returned, not only did he need to be with them, but also to be one of them.

While the arch-lector Calictus II had died at Ebino fighting against the vampire duchess, Duke Scaringella had been leading a small army eastwards to join with Pavonan forces and defeat Razger Boulderguts’ double army of ogres before they reached Remas. At the ruinous city of Astiano the duke had rendezvoused with the joint force of Remans and Pavonans sent away from the ‘Holy Army’ by the arch-lector a little while before his disastrous defeat. (This was the force Bernado had himself commanded as it marched south.) Then, knowing he still had insufficient forces to fight the ogres, the duke had waited, allowing Boulderguts’ army to swing around the north of the city, travelling east to west. He was gambling that as the ogres had already razed Astiano they would have little interest in doing battle there again, this time with no prospect of plunder, whilst praying that the main Pavonan army would reach him in time before the ogres tore Remas apart.



It was a big risk, which nearly every one of the duke’s officers advised against (even if they could not agree what alternative action should be taken). His inactivity meant the very force he had been sent to stop had got between him and what he was meant to be protecting! Luckily, just as news came that already the town of Stiani had been razed to the ground, and it looked like the entire realm might soon be destroyed, Duke Guidobaldo Gondi arrived at the head of the main Pavonan army. It was a force bigger than Scaringella’s, made bigger still when the Pavonans who had come south from Viadaza rejoined their comrades. Not only them, but several days later the duke’s only surviving son, Lord Silvano, one of the very few who had escaped the terrible defeat at Ebino, arrived to be reunited with his father.

Then, in an even more welcome (and entirely unexpected) development, the army’s scouts reported that for reasons known only to the ogres, the tyrant Razger Boulderguts and his mercenary ally Mangler had turned southwards rather than striking towards Remas, where the real wealth lay. Had they overestimated the forces defending Remas’ mighty walls? Were they making for the coast and awaiting ships? Was the sudden change of direction part of a secret agreement with the vampire duchess? Or were they merely taking a detour? Whatever the reason, the allied army now had a chance to do battle with the ogres before they wreaked any further destruction upon the realm.



Other than the clattering of their layers of steel armour, the dwarfs marched in silence. They were armed with strangely short spears, of a sort that could be used as a blade like a short sword, but were better at thrusting out between the interlocked iron of a shield-wall. The dwarfs had become a common sight on the streets of Remas, and since their incorporation into the city’s standing army, the dwarfen quarter had swelled considerably in size. There had been mutterings in the army that the dwarfs were surely not happy to be allied with a Pavonan army, what with Duke Guidobaldo’s exulsion of every dwarf in his realm two years ago. The dwarfs themselves, however, had apparently said nothing concerning the matter to anyone else. Bernado suspected that rather than anger, it was mirth they were concealing – being secretly satisfied at the Pavonan soldiery’s discomfort. If the Pavonans disliked merely camping and marching beside dwarfs, then what did they make of the prospect of relying on them in battle? Perhaps the dwarfs intended to shame the Pavonans with their sturdy prowess and hardy discipline upon the field of battle?



It was late in the afternoon, which on any other march would mean the army should be halting soon. Not this army though. If the last four days were anything to go by, they would march until it grew properly dark. Ogre legs were longer than men’s.

Despite being distracted by the discomfort of riding a mule (the traditional mount for a lector), and worrying about the forthcoming battle, Bernado had been attempting to think clearly about the situation in Remas, to decide what his best course of action would be. He had learned of his election only two days ago, the news being delivered by a lowly, but respected and trusted priest named Benvenuto, who had killed his horse in his haste to bring the news. Benvenuto also described the recent violent events in the city. Since then, due to the consequences of the civil unrest, the speed of the march and the fact that the army of ogres burning a path through the realm killed (and ate) just about everyone they encountered, he had learned nothing more. Then again, what he already knew was enough to fill him with concerns.

“Brother Duarte,” he asked the young cleric riding beside him. “Do you think Father Carradalio will harm the overlord?”



As usual, Duarte did not answer immediately. He was a careful, disciplined thinker, of a philosophical bent, and not one to rush to answer even when asked by the arch-lector himself.

“It seems to me most likely, your Holiness, that Father Carradalio was furious at not being elected, especially when he had already acted as if he were arch-lector. He’d played his hand in seizing the city, blood had flowed in every street. Without the legitimization of election, he is no more than a heretical revolutionary, and his Disciplinati become wild rebels overthrowing the rightful order instead of the city’s saviours. Until the election, all had gone well for him, the result of his planning and preparation. Now, however, he has been forced to think on his feet, to act more rashly. He has gone so far it is too late to retreat, and this makes him desperate. If he could have taken you hostage, your Holiness, then I think he would have done so. Instead he took Overlord Matuzzi, the next best thing. Perhaps even better? But I do not think he would harm the overlord, not now his fury has had time to abate. He needs Lord Matuzzi. He needs his authority, so that he can rule the realm by decree as well as by force and fear. That will make him harder to displace.”



Bernado had already been thinking along similar lines. Overlord Matuzzi had handed over the reins of secular power to Calictus II, Bernado’s predecessor, making him ruler of both church and state. Until the election, the big debate had been whether or not the new arch-lector would automatically inherit that secular authority. Now, however, a third player had entered game.

“No doubt,” asked Bernado, “Carradalio intends to persuade the overlord to yield authority to him?”



“I believe so, your Holiness. He already has the city. He already has nearly all the lower clergy. The people’s fear of the vampires in the north means he already has the citizens’ hopes. With the overlord’s authority, he will have no need of the arch-lectorship.”

“He would have made me into a ceremonial puppet while he wielded all the real power,” said Bernado.

Although perhaps, he thought to himself, a demagogue like Carradalio and his fanatical Disciplinati were exactly what Remas needs? He had seen so many flee from the undead at Pontremola, and knew full well the final victory had been because of General D’Alessio’s bravery and skill alone. Yet only last night he had heard young Lord Silvano telling of the battle at Ebino - how the flagellants had plunged deep into the enemy’s line and died fighting to a man despite the many monstrous horrors in the duchess’s army, and regardless of the everyone else’s flight. What could a whole army of fanatics do? Perhaps such warriors were Tilea’s only real chance against the vampires? He missed the council of Father Biagino, a man who had both the gift of prophecy and a mind sharp enough never to make ill-thought or hasty assumptions. When he had asked Lord Silvano about Biagino’s fate in the battle at Ebino, the young noble simply said he never saw nor heard of the priest since that day, and so thought it most likely he perished amongst the multitude.

“Are you well, your Holiness?” asked Duarte, concerned at Bernado’s posture, his frown obscured by his hand clutching at his temples. The arch-lector had been so deep in thought he had not realised what he was doing.

“Yes, brother. Long days, that is all. Pray thee, we shall stop a moment.”

Durate gave the command, and those fore and aft of the arch-lector came to a halt.



padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #110 on: May 21, 2017, 07:12:35 PM »
The column of dwarfs continued its march, while Bernado turned his mule to face the two priests on foot behind, and Brother Duarte followed suit.

“Father Benvenuto,” said the arch-lector. “Do you know why the lectors voted for me?”

“I would not presume to say, your holiness,” answered the priest. “Apart from to accept that whatever their reasons, it was ultimately Morr’s will that you become so.”

Benvenuto wore a grey, hooded cloak, and despite his sturdily built frame, leaned ponderously, bent-backed, upon a staff. The heavy, leather bags hanging at his waist were at least partially to blame, but he would not allow them to be put onto the cart. When the priest had reached in to withdraw the letters he was carrying, Bernado had seen weighty tomes inside, dark leather embossed with gold leaf. Holy books, or perhaps ledgers of some kind? Bernado assumed he would discover the truth should Father Benvenuto feel the need to employ them.



“Morr’s will, yes. And I pray I shall live up to his expectations,” said Bernado. “But still, presently we abide in the world of mortals and it is men I must measure, not the majesty of Morr. So, Father, if you had to hazard a guess, what would you say was their motive.”

“Fear, your holiness. They are afraid of Father Carradalio and his fanatics.”

“If so, then why choose me in particular?” said Bernado. “Surely there are several lectors in Remas just as capable of putting Carradalio in his place?”

“Maybe so my lord,” agreed the old priest. “But they also fear the vampires. You are the only one amongst them who has met the undead armies in battle. You guided the Viadazan crusaders to their victory at Pontremola …”

“Yet Viadaza, my own see, was lost that very same week,” interrupted Bernado. He felt no joy at the irony.

But Father Benvenuto had not finished. “And then, your holiness, you were by Calictus’s side when Viadaza was retaken and cleansed. You were part of not one but two great victories. In the first he vampire duke died, and in the second you chased Lord Adelfo from the city. The lectors want a proven soldier of Morr leading the church and Remas in the great fight, not an untried rabble rouser like Carradalio.”

“That may be so. Yet Viadaza has most likely fallen once more, this time for good, which would have made me the lector of nowhere.”



“By your leave, your holiness,” said Duarte. “The lectors may well have been counting on its fall. If Viadaza is lost, then there would be nothing to distract you from defending Remas. I have heard them whisper that Calictus erred in dividing our forces to march north himself, there to be defeated. When he finally fought, half his army were Arabyan mercenaries who barely knew of Morr. They weren’t even under contract to Remas, and fled the field before the battle was decided. Now Stiani has burned because Captain-General Duke Scaringella was left with far too small an army to stop the ogres.”

“If I might speak, your holiness?” asked Brother Marsilio, the grey robed monk who had accompanied Father Benvenuto from Remas. “The lectors knew you were with the captain general. Once the brute’s double army is defeated, then both you and he will be returning victorious with an army. How could Carradalio’s screeching sermons compete with the commands of Morr’s anointed pontiff? How could his crazed followers stand against a real army?”



Ah, thought Bernado, but what sort of army will we return with? If we are badly mauled in this coming battle, there might be merely the battered rump of an army left. And even if sufficient force survived to contend with the Disciplinati’s fanatics, would Duke Scaringella do the right thing and restore order?

When he spoke again, he hid all sign of these doubts from his voice. “After you delivered your news to me, Father Benvenuto, you spoke at length with our Captain General, yes?”

“I did, your holiness,” the priest answered.

“I take it he questioned you concerning Remas?” inquired Bernado.

“At length, your holiness. And kept me there when he spoke to his officers, that I might answer whatever else he and they thought to ask. I was given to understand that I must not speak of what I had heard.”

Although Bernado had seen Duke Scaringella since then, when both he and Duke Guidobaldo came to receive an official blessing from their new arch-lector, he had not yet had the opportunity to speak with him privately. He doubted the duke would want to discuss the precarious state of Reman affairs in the Pavonans’ presence, especially in light of the as yet unexplained delay – lasting the best part of a day - which occurred the previous week.

Scaringella had at the time confided to Bernado his suspicion that the Pavonans did not actually intend to fight the ogres and were considering some other action instead. Perhaps the captain general had the measure of Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona? Yet he also admitted he could not fathom why Guidobaldo would consider allowing those who had injured him so badly to escape. Fearing his dangerous gamble had failed, Scaringella had knelt to pray with Bernado for Remas, pleading with Morr not to allow it to suffer at the hands of brutes when the most holy work of destroying the vampires was yet to be done. That evening, however, Duke Guidobaldo called a council of war, giving no explanation for the delay, and declared that they would pursue the enemy immediately as if nothing strange had happened. Although Duke Scaringella accepted Guidobaldo had the larger force and so was due the precedence, he was neither asked nor offered to swear obedience to Duke Guidobaldo, being himself was of equal noble rank and a captain-general (which suited him well in light of his distrust). Instead, he simply offered to fight at Duke Guidobaldo’s side, promising to cooperate fully upon the field of battle, doing his utmost to contribute to victory. The matter of dividing the spoils was not discussed for the chase was on and there was no (more) time to waste. Most of the soldiers seemed to presume that as most of the plunder came from Pavonan settlements, then the Pavonans would expect the lion’s share. 

Considering Duke Scaringella’s religiosity and humble acceptance of spiritual authority, Bernado had every reason to think Scaringella’s command concerning Father Benvenuto’s silence was more to prevent the Pavonans learning of his concerns. In light of this, he made the Morrite sign, and spoke,

“I hereby absolve you of any promise you made to keep silent. As your pontiff, I command that you answer me.”

Father Benvenuto nodded his acceptance.

“Did Lord Scaringella voice his opinion concerning Father Carradalio and his dedicants?” Bernado asked.

“He spoke of little else, your holiness, and was in quite a dilemma. He must defend Remas, of course, either by destroying the ogres or chasing them away. His victory must be glorious, so he can return to Remas as a hero, winning the citizens’ favour. He must earn a good portion of the loot so that he can feed and pay the army; and he must prove to be so effective on the field of battle that the Pavonan duke is grateful, becoming an important ally during the struggle ahead. Yet he must do all these things without suffering crippling losses, for he will need the army to put the Disciplinati di Morr back in their place upon your return to Remas.”



“More than that,” Duarte added, “we need the army to fight the vampires.”

Ogres, fanatics and the undead, thought Bernado. Three wars to be fought.

“Brethren,” he said, “let us contend with one thing at a time. Tonight, we shall pray for victory against the brutes.”

damo_b

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #111 on: May 22, 2017, 12:05:38 PM »
excellent as always padre.
looking forward to the battle report.

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #112 on: May 23, 2017, 04:17:12 PM »
I aim not to disappoint, but will admit that what with pesky real world distractions I can only go as fast as ... well ... I can! Here is the deployment ...
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Battle of the Via Diocleta (Spring 2403)

Passing hurriedly through the villages of Frascoti, south of the great city of Remas, and having insufficient time to loot and raze as they went, the double army of ogres serving Razger Boulderguts were continuing southwards along the ancient Via Diocleta. All of Remas would have breathed a sigh of relief, were not for the fact that the city was internally tangled in turmoil as the fanatical Disciplinati di Morr wrested control of its streets and gates one by one, and the citizens were distracted by the looming prospect of a vampire led army descending upon them to do worse than even the ogres would have done.

Razger's brute warriors were moving as fast as they could, which was not exactly quickly. Their vast, heavily laden baggage train was overflowing with loot and hauled by a chaotically cobbled together collection of ogres, slaves, horses and oxen - the latter three dwindling on a daily basis as they were eaten by their ravenous masters. They were being pursued by a similarly slow force, the allied armies of Remas and Pavona, who were struggling with several large artillery pieces rather than wagons of plunder.

The Tileans, keen to exact revenge for the destruction of Pavona, and to prevent the same fate befalling Remas, were pushing themselves to the limit. The ogres were working hard, but not so much as the men, for they were unafraid of meeting their pursuers in battle, merely annoyed at the prospect that if they were not careful their loot might be lost. So it was that the allied army drew slowly and surely closer, crossing the rolling landscape from the town of Stiani towards the road without passing through Frascoti, and in this way aiming to intercept the foe long before they reached the realm of Ridraffa.

They would meet in a barren place, home only to scattered shepherds and their flocks. The ogres, recognising at last that they were not going to outpace the Tileans, left the road to form an uncharacteristically carefully arrayed line to the west of the road, while the allied Tilean armies chose to draw themselves up for battle upon the road itself.



The tyrant Razger’s army, consisting of both his own brutes and the mercenary Mangler’s ‘band’, presented a formidable line indeed. Warriors from both armies were intermixed, but Mangler’s brutes were mostly concentrated towards the centre of the line, while Razger’s forces made up the flanks.

On the far right was a little mob of gnoblar trappers, scurrying alongside a brace of Mournfang riders. Between these and the main fighting force were two companies of leadbelchers, and a large mob of Mangler’s gnoblars. (Game note: The player was annoyed with me later on as I had helped him place his force and he had assumed I had placed these 40 gnoblars in a horde formation. I’m sorry to say that was the last thing on my mind, and I just went with what was aesthetically pleasing, and happened to fit neatly on the card. Sorry, Jamie!(



In the centre of the line were several bodies of bulls and ironguts, interspaced with rhinox-mounted war engines, behind which was the massive baggage train. On the far left were Razger’s Maneaters, Mangler’s Hunter with his brace of sabretusks, as well as two small bodies of leadbelchers and ironguts. Mangler led his own bodyguard of ironguts, clutching his massive, double handed cleaver and clad in layer upon layer of iron scales.
 


Razger had joined the biggest of his two bands of bulls, along with his army standard bearer carrying an emblem of the bloody sword and half-moon. His gut-plate tusks marked him out, although the sheer bulk of his presence would suffice to do so even without them.



The Tilean alliance force was not so evenly split as the ogres, as Duke Guidobaldo’s Pavonan army made up much more than half the total strength. Nearly every unit to the right and in the centre of the line was Pavonan, and there were more of his troops, including his son, on the far left. On the farmost right rode the only body of horse in the army, being the plate-armoured nobility led by Visconte Carjaval. Behind them was the as yet untested helstorm, a bizarre engine designed to throw a clutch of explosive rockets at the enemy which Duke Guidobaldo had bought from a Nuln merchant in somewhat happier times. From there towards the centre were a succession of foot regiments, being halberdiers and handgunners, although for some reason Duke Scaringella had seen fit to order his Cathayan crossbowmen over to that flank, where they lurked in rear of the line.



The centre of the allied line consisted of three large bodies of swordsmen, being Pavonans or Asitianans, the latter now wholly incorporated into the Duke’s army and just as loyal to him as his native soldiers. Interspersed between these were four great cannons, two of which tended by engineers.  Duke Guidobaldo himself watched from the rear, being the only Pavonan sporting colours other than blue and white.



Most of Scaringella’s Reman army was arrayed upon the left. All were mercenary soldiers under virtually permanent contract, apart from a handful of native Remans. A large body of Dwarfen warriors formed the force’s main strength, behind which was the army's famous regiment of Cathayan halberdiers. The Reman's only piece of artillery separated these melee troops from the two regiments of crossbow troops, being body of Tilean condottieri (behind pavises) and more dwarfs. The army’s baggage was clustered behind these two regiments, beside which lingered the bravi skirmishers pressed from the Reman streets . Young Lord Silvano Gondi, Guidobaldo’s lone surviving heir, having come all the way south from the terrible defeat at Ebino with the last of his elven ‘Sharlian’ riders rode on the far left, while a company of Pavonan huntsmen had moved up to conceal themselves behind the rocky hill between them and the foe.



As the last of the troops stepped into place, both armies came to a momentary halt, and an eerie (almost) silence descended upon the alliance army, broken only by the fluttering of flags and the occasional “Stand straight in your ranks and files” or “Watch your dressings!” from the officers. The engineers gave final instructions regarding the elevation of the gun barrels …



… while Visconte Carjaval and his armoured knights struggled to restrain their destriers whilst adjusting shields, lances and helms.



Everyone knew that soon all hell would break loose!

Battle to follow asap

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #113 on: May 25, 2017, 09:29:26 PM »
The Battle Begins

The first to move were the gnoblars on the far flank, scurrying up behind the hill, barely noticed by either ogres or men.



What caught the Pavonan soldiery’s eyes was the lonely advance of the Hunter and his two beasts to the left of the centre. He strode boldly as they loped proudly, neither he nor they appearing even slightly concerned at the profusion of barrels, both big and small, in front of them.



Perhaps refusing to be out-done by the hunter, the little company of maneaters also chose to close on the foe, leaving the rest of Razger’s battle line behind.



(Game Note: The Tilean players had failed to get their desperately needed and much prayed for first turn. Even as an impartial GM I voiced my concern that this could be the beginning of the end despite being only the beginning of the beginning!)

Moments later, the rest of the brute army marched on, the three main bodies of ogres outpacing the lumbering, war-machine bearing beasts between them, while the smaller body of bulls on their left began to angle away a little, as if to follow the maneaters.



Mangler’s Butcher, Scabgash, marching front and centre of the largest body of bulls, now unleashed a powerful curse at the crew of the cannon before him, killing every one of them instantly, magically crushing their bones from the inside! (Game Note: 9 hits killed the cannon) As the report of this rippled through the regiment directly on the cannon’s right side, the despairing words met the same report coming from the other side, for the huge ironblaster had fired a roundshot more than twice as heavy as those employed by the Tileans’ pieces, over Razger’s head and right into another cannon, tearing it to pieces. It lay unrecognisable afterwards, with no sign of the crewmen who had been tending it only a moment before.

(Game Note: Insult to injury – the artillery heavy army, carefully selected to fight these ogres, had not only failed to get the first turn, but had already lost nearly half its cannons!)

The Pavonans could barely believe what had happened. Men and horses had put themselves through hell to haul those guns from Pavona, with several many perishing along the way from accidents or exhaustion. And yet here, before they had even fired once in anger, two had been destroyed. Still, this gloomy thought was soon lost, for the somewhat distracting sight of the advancing brute army dislodged it from most men’s minds!

The two bodies of leadbelchers came up on the right, their flank (unnecessarily) secured by the gnoblars, and also fired, but this time to no noticeable effect, apart from the terrifying thunderous roar, flash and smoke they caused.



Even now, with the ogres closing fast, the vast allied army seemed unready. Every man who could see the foe (and the army was so big there were many who had yet even to glimpse them) craved to see at least some ogres brought down before contact was made. Surely with this many artillery pieces, handguns, crossbows and even rockets, the enemy would at least be bloodied before the inevitable mayhem began? There was even confusion at the rear of the battle line, where the manifold roar of the enemy’s guns had several men arguing whether or not it was their own guns or the foe’s they had heard. One fellow even pushed a comrade to the ground for the insane suggestion that their own guns had yet to fire!



All Duke Guidobaldo could do was give the command “Steady!” He himself was behind his band of Astianan Swordsmen – the brigand scum who had flocked to serve the victor’s army even as their city was being plundered by his Pavonan troops. He noted with a little satisfaction that the two cannons in front of him were just about to shoot.



The arch-lector was also behind an artillery piece. His own words were more numerous and quieter, taking the form of a prayer, which he made in preparation for the prayers to come. They would not be so quiet, or at least their effect would not be, for they would invite the great god Morr to vent his wrath upon the enemy.



(Next, the allies first turn…)

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #114 on: May 26, 2017, 01:58:44 PM »
At last, and the wait had seemed as long as it was terrible, the drums began to beat and the horns were sounded. The armies of Pavona and Remas were ready to act.



Knowing that they had been caught off-guard by the ogres sudden lurch forwards, and thus failed to deliver the barrage of shot they had fervently hoped for, they did not hold back now. Captain Ettore led the largest of the Pavonan halberdiers’ regiment in a charge against the maneaters, mainly because he was unwilling to be the recipient of their inevitable charge.



Three of his soldiers died from the Maneaters’ massive pistols, followed by nine more when they made contact, all to very little observable effect against the thick-skinned brutes. But they had stopped the ogres’ advance and then they somehow held their ground to fight on. On the far right the Visconte Carjaval and his mounted men at arms smashed into the ironguts before them …



… killing two and wounding another. Not one knight had perished in the assault. The brutes turned and fled, while the visconte ordered his men to restrain their pursuit and reform to face the main body of the foe.

The Reman dwarfs, garbed in iron and steel from head to toe, marched in very fine order out from the battle line, wheeling a little to face the foe’s main regiments in the centre. This allowed the Cathayan’s behind them to march up and fill the gap so created.



The Pavonan huntsmen moved boldly over the rocky hill towards the lines of still-smoking leadbelchers …



… while on the other side of the hill young Lord Silvano led his last surviving Sharlian Riders (elven mercenaries) in a charge against the gnoblar trappers. The young lord was bloodied by one of the vicious traps the greenskins lobbed onto the ground before them. Half the gnoblars died in this assault, and the other half fled in panic only to be cut down by the riders pursuing them. Silvano’s pursuit took him and his riders right into the two monstrously large mournfang cavalry who were lumbering up that flank.



As the Pavonan halberdiers struggled to hold their viciously strong and battle hardened opponents … 



… the Morrite priest began their prayers in earnest, first cursing the flesh of one of the leadbelcher companies on the enemy’s right, then employing an amulet of coal to kill one of them. An iron round-shot plunged deep into the flesh of the rhinox carrying the ironblaster, and yet the beast still lived! Another round-shot felled one of Mangler’s bulls, but the third cannon and the Helstorm were unable to fire, most likely due to a combination of fear and overhaste on the part of crewmen.  Two thunderous volleys from the Pavonan handgunners brought down a brace of leadbelchers, while the Cathayan crossbow wounded another. On the other flank of the army, the Reman crossbow also felled a leadbelcher and sent the rest of them running!

Thus it was that using less than half the pieces that they had arrived on the field with they had managed to kill four ogres, wound several others, and even send some running. Captain General Duke Scaringella cursed angrily, furious that they had been unready to let loose with the full complement of artillery sooner.

(Game Note: What a first turn it could have been if all the artillery had fired, followed by a second turn with the same, as well as 54 crossbow and 32 handgunners!)

Next, turn 2 …

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #115 on: May 27, 2017, 06:12:46 PM »
(Turn 2)

At almost the same moment, all the ogres who had turned to run now came to a halt and re-ordered themselves to re-join the line. Those leadbelchers on the right who had not run away now charged the huntsmen …



… while in the centre of the field a veritable avalanche of charges were made. Even the gnoblars joined in!



As the gnob-mob hurled themselves, somewhat ambitiously, at the dwarfs, Mangler led his ironguts with rather more assurance of success into the Astianan swordsmen.



The fury of the fight was a horror to behold as a dozen men were fatally crushed or torn apart barely drawing blood from the ogres. Those that survived fled away, pell-mell, so panicked that it took them some considerable time to notice that they were not pursued, and so broken that they never reformed. Thus, the last Astianan soldiers of any kind, being those serving their conqueror Duke Guidobaldo, were scattered. Their town lay in lamentable ruins, their people decimated and thrown across Tilea, and their soldiers lost forever.

The Butcher Scabgash and Mangler’s army standard bearer led a dozen bulls into Captain Augusto’s swordsmen …



… killing nine men with the sheer impact of their charge alone! Although Augusto managed to gouge the flesh of the enemy’s standard bearer …



… another half a dozen swordsmen were hacked in twain by the ogres’ massive blades. Like their Astianan comrades, they too fled, but unluckily for them the brute foe chose to run them down. Within moments there was not a man alive and the bulls found themselves stalled by the tiny obstacle of a Pavonan engineer, caught as he ran from the smoking ruins of one gun in order to reach another.



Razger led his own bulls into the flank of the halberdiers who had somehow halted the maneaters.



Although another maneater was slain by halberd blades, all but three of the Pavonans lay dead and dying. As these three turned to run, the maneaters halted to allow their leader the privilege of pursuit. Not that Razger went very far, yet nevertheless another Pavonan regiment had been wiped out.



The last two ironguts on the ogres far left watched in confusion as the hunter stumbled and his beasts halted, thus failing to reach the foe.



Perhaps this was due to the hail of scrap that landed on top of them? The gnoblars on the scraplauncher had aimed rather badly. They had no idea, however, as none were paying attention to where the shot had fallen, but rather busied themselves in unusual efficiency in preparation for their next shot.



Ahead of the scraplauncher, the ironblaster had turned to present its muzzle at the mounted nobility on the Pavonan’s far right. The monstrous shot carried two knights – and their horses - away with it!



As the Pavonan knights struggled to comprehend what had just happened, another of them fell mortally injured from the leadbelchers’ hail that moments later clattered at them. Visconte Carjaval cursed loudly, but although his men were dismayed, they were not yet broken, and awaited the visconte’s command.

Killing only one dwarf, but losing five of their own number, the gnoblars nevertheless stood their ground, pinning the dwarfs and preventing their chance to flank any ogres.



Young lord Silvano and his elven guard (the Sharlian Riders), whose own momentum had carried them into the mournfangs, now struggled to master their mounts’ fear at the stench and size of their massive foe (Game Note: Failed fear test, so only WS1)



… and as a consequence not one solid blow was laid upon the enemy. When all four elves then perished in a most bloody and horrible manner, Silvano (who had fought far more terrible foes at Ebino) recognised his situation was impossible, and so yanked at his reins in an attempt to escape. His horse turned and even managed a few steps, but was then gorged from behind by the mournfang’s huge tusks and hurled into the air. Silvano hit the ground hard, his own horse landing upon him. Barely noticing, the mournfang riders simply urged their beasts onwards, over the riders’ mangled remains.

Next, the Tilean Allies turn 2 …

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #116 on: May 29, 2017, 05:32:09 PM »
There were now a lot of Ogres massed on the left of their line, admittedly in a somewhat higgledy-piggledy fashion. Facing them were a much greater number of Pavonan soldiers, mostly handgunners, but ogres count for a lot more than one man.



While the handgunners readied their pieces for a volley at close range, the halberdiers charged at Habbdok the Hunter and his hounds, and Visconte Carjaval and his mounted nobility attempted to reach the brace of lead-belchers upon the slope of the hill. The foot-soldiers successfully closed with the enemy, but the knights failed because the lead-belchers chose, quite sensibly, to flee.



The Pavonan gunners manning the piece on the left of their own line frantically dragged their charge backwards, so that the Cathayan halberdiers could close upon Mangler and his Ironguts, so preventing the ogres from attacking the dwarfs’ flank. Captain General Duke Scaringella joined them, steeling himself for the fight of his life, indeed a fight for his life.



The Morrite priests’ prayers sadly failed to cause any harm, but the allies had much more mundane means of doing so and brought them to bear. The dismounted pistoliers now strode boldly forwards, weapons cocked in each hand, to fire their pistols at Razger Boulderguts and his bulls …



… killing two ogres. Both the nearby regiments of handgunners joined the effort, but their powder was apparently inferior, for they could not even bring down one ogre. They merely bloodied the foe. At the same moment, however, an iron round-shot slammed messily through three ogres in the rear of Razger’s other unit of bulls, killing all of them, and a lucky shot from the Pavonan engineer’s Hochland rifle also brought down one of the fleeing lead-belchers.



As the smoke cleared the Pavonans were nevertheless dismayed, recognising that although they had hurt the foe, there were still too many remaining. The halberdiers fighting Habbdok did manage to kill one of his beasts, but at such a heavy cost to themselves – half a dozen dead – that they lost heart, broke and ran. The roar of the last sabretusk, conjoined with smell of spattered blood, spooked the knights’ horses so much that the visconte and his  guard were forced to yield and allow them to bolt, otherwise they would have been thrown. Thus they found themselves, at the very moment they had hoped to deliver a coup de grace to one of the battered bodies of bulls before them, instead fleeing from the fight! Habbdok and his last beast pursued the fleeing halberdiers, only halting when they hit the dismounted pistoliers.

On the far side of the field, however, the tide was turning in the allies’ favour. Scaringella’s cannon felled a Mournfang and sent the other fleeing from the field, which made that flank look a lot less threatening. Apart from one or two lead-belchers staggering about under the weight of their oversized burdens, there was little left of the foe. The Remans drew hope from the sight. Better yet, the dwarfs finally sent the gnoblars running, then coolly and with great discipline, reformed to face Mangler and his ironguts.



For the first time that day, the allies were squaring up for a fight that they looked like they might win!

Next, the final turns…

padre

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #117 on: May 30, 2017, 09:44:19 PM »
(The final turns)

Like any ogre, Mangler would not wait for the enemy to charge. He led his warriors headlong into the Cathayan halberdiers beside the dwarfs. He did not ponder the options, knowing in his gut they were the softer of the two possibilities - their relatively thin and less well-armoured bodies promised a speedy destruction, which should mean that he and his lads smashed right through them before the dwarfs could counter-attack his flank. Besides, he had spotted the enemy’s baggage in the rear and greed always had a habit of getting the better of him.



Behind Mangler, his bulls crashed into the last of the Pavonan swordsmen, right beside their lord Duke Guidobaldo. (Game note: The Pavonan player, actually playing Duke Guidobaldo in the campaign, had agonised over whether it was best to join the unit or not. I thought it was crazy not to, but he decided it was for the best to ‘remain single’.)



On the other side of the field, amidst a confusion of blue and white, with Pavonans running hither and thither, even through their comrades’ ranks and files, Razger tore into and right through the handgunners closest to him before they could even bring their muzzles to bear.



This was the beginning of the end for the Pavonans. The handgunners – what few were not only left standing but also retained wits enough to do so – fled away, as did the handgunners at their side, thus joining the halberdiers’ frantic flight to form a turbulent river of broken men. The dismounted pistoliers would soon be swept up too. Visconte Carjaval, having successfully halted and reformed his noble men-at-arms, witnessed this sudden collapse. In that moment, his breath ragged with exhaustion, he chose not to sacrifice himself and the proud chivalry of Pavona in an almost certainly futile gesture of defiance. Instead, he gave the order to ride, and ride fast. He intended to find Duke Guidobaldo and, as he shouted to his men, “Look to our lord’s safety.”

What the visconte didn’t know was that Mangler’s large regiment of bulls had made very short work of the last Pavonan swordsmen, stepping forwards to find themselves in combat with the duke himself!



Another boom advertised the ironblaster’s next shot, its massive ball killing five of the Reman dwarfs. The Scrap-launcher’s effort was badly directed, for the burden beast carrying the contraption had been startled by the ironblaster’s report, and its heavy hail of sharpened iron poured upon the mules, oxen and wagons of the baggage train rather than the enemy’s soldiers.

Duke Scaringella, for more than a decade Captain General of the Reman army, as was his father before him, and in all that time having not fought a single battle that was not already a forgone conclusion, now found himself in the deadliest of combats. He knew this was the moment his life had always been shaping him for, and that the rest of his life would be shaped by, which is why he chose to challenge the brute tyrant Mangler himself. His lance found its mark and grey flesh was pierced, but then Manglers’ riposte almost broke the duke’s shield arm, threatening to tear him from his saddle.



Somehow, he held tight. Dropping his shattered lance, he tore his sword from its scabbard and screamed: “Fight, lads. Fight!”   

Crossbow bolts were loosed by the dozen, and a cannon boomed, killing two more of the lead-belchers on the ogres’ right, and scaring the rest away. Then another cannon shot brought the monstrous beast carrying the ironblaster down, the ball almost taking its head from its shoulders.

The dwarfs now charged into Mangler’s flank, and their butchery was astounding. As Mangler finally bashed Duke Scaringella off his horse, then broke the horse’s neck with his elbow, the ironguts beside him were all but annihilated.



Suddenly the mighty Mangler found himself surrounded by a dizzying crowd of assailants. Their jabs, thrusts and slashes came from all quarters, while the weight of their numbers made it hard to discern one from another. Stumbling backwards, blood pouring from half a dozen gaps between his iron scales, he realised his huge bardiche was no longer in his hands. For the first time ever, the urge to fight had been supplanted by something different. Before he could fully comprehend what it was, he was dead, falling beside the battered body of Duke Scaringella. One of the dwarfs scrambled over the brute tyrant’s corpse, shouting, “The duke!” and began to drag the armoured noble away.

Duke Guidobaldo, having exchanged several blows most gallantly with the enemy before him – enough, he hoped, to distract them momentarily – now gambled his life on the obedience and strength of his mount. Yanking on the reins as he struck his hammer at the lead ogres’ face, he turned about and urged his horse on. He had to outpace the brutes behind him, despite their size and despite the armour upon both him and his horse. His horse, reputed the finest in central Tilea, proved sufficient to the task and the duke escaped the ogres’ further harmful intentions, galloping like he had not done since his youth.



The field had become divided from left to right. On one side of the field the Remans were reforming their line to face the foe, while on the other almost every alliance soldier had fled leaving only Razger and his surviving warriors, as well as quite a number of Mangler’s ogres, albeit in a rather less neat formation than the men. In between the two the ground was strewn with ragged heaps men and brutes, dead or wounded, as well as the smoking remains of several guns.

The Remans still had two Pavonan cannons with them, as well as their own piece …



… and at such a distance they presented a sight which none of the ogres were glad to see. Those were the guns that had not yet failed. They had cut down mournfangs, rhinoxes and many an ogre, and there was no reason to suppose they would not continue to do so. Advancing upon the last surviving Reman regiments would prove costly to Razger’s army, perhaps even fatal? As his brutes stopped their stomping and reformed their bodies, Razger took a breather and gave the situation some thought.

He could see the loot was still safe – not a man had got close to the heavily burdened wagons. Scrutinizing the field ahead, he guessed Mangler must surely have fallen in battle, simply by the fact that neither he nor any of his irongut bodyguard could be seen. Suddenly, Razger realised this suited him just fine. Almost all the loot in the baggage train had been Mangler’s - payment and bribes for his continued mercenary service. If Mangler was dead, whose loot was it now? And who would command his warriors? If Razger left now, with all the loot and whichever lads could still march, he decided that wouldn’t be so bad. If anything, it was better than things had been before the battle when virtually none of the loot was his and only half of his army could be trusted. Razger’s mouth twisted into a grin, as wicked as it was fierce, and he shouted to two of his lads to listen up.

The dwarfs dragged Duke Scaringella away from the heap of dead and dying Cathayans, then turned him over to look at him properly. There was no sign of life in his eyes, and his chest plate was caved in so deep his ribs must all have broken and his lungs burst beneath. They laid him down gently, then all but one returned to their places in the regiment. The other ran towards the arch-lector to deliver the bad news.

To the south of the battlefield, Duke Guidobaldo Gondi had rendezvoused with Visconte Carjaval, and was now riding, somewhat faster than the scattered clumps of footsoldiers around him, in a wide arc to avoid the foe and get to the Reman lines. There he hoped to find his son, and whatever remained of his army.



Back at the ogres’ wagons, gnoblars, draught-slaves and bulls alike, watched with suspicion as two ogres, Razger’s lads, raced towards them.



As they drew close, the nearest shouted. “Hitch ‘em up and get ready to shift. We’re moving off now.”

One of the bulls by the wagons, called Gordok, strode forwards, a great long whip in hand. “On whose say so?”
 
“Razger’s orders,” came the answer.

“I take orders from Mangler, like most of us here. Razger can ask him if he wants some shiftin’ done.”

“You’ll not be getting orders from Mangler n’more,” said the new arrival, laughing. “So if ya know what’s good for yer, you’ll shut it now an’ do as yer told.”

Game Notes

The battle was effectively over by turn 3! Which was helpful as our time was up too. 10.00 – 5.00 had seemed like plenty of time, but the armies were so big, and the conversation flowed fully. Luckily, this did not in any way hinder the game-world outcome or story, because the table top was indeed divided. From here on in it would be like starting another battle, this time fighting from east to west rather than from north to south. None of the players would have wanted that even if there was time. Matt (Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona) had little left of his forces, and his only hops was to regain some sort of a force from casualty recovery and retreating what he had from the field. He was also hoping his son Silvano’s ‘Character Recovery Roll’ (a campaign rules chart) might bring the lad back. This is indeed possible as he wasn’t overkilled, although it is only a 5+ chance after a draw. He has have yet to make that roll.

Jamie, aka Razger Boulderguts, had begun the battle with renewed confidence. Earlier in the week he had worried about the enemy having 1500 more points, and whether he could trust Mangler, wondering whether Razger should simply flee away, perhaps attempting to employ Mangler’s slow-moving force (due to the baggage train) as a stall. But as the armies were being deployed for the game, and he considered the two opposing players difficulties in coordination on the field, as well as his own obvious strength (despite the points on paper disparity), I could see he was much more confident. In truth, he went away happy, because he now has a chance of re-possessing all the loot, possibly gaining control of Mangler’s ogres to replace the losses in his own ranks, and even perhaps getting back ‘home’ to Campogrotta in the north. (All that, I presume, will be in the campaign thread later.)

You probably noticed that the NPC Duke Scaringella of Remas failed the character recovery roll, scoring a measly 2, thus the dwarfs finding him dead. The player playing him, and commanding all the Reman forces, was Damo (who actually plays Lord Alessio Falconi of Portomaggiore in the campaign) had been given a character guide of two full pages of background, motivations and political goals, as well as the full army list etc. I have to say he played the part very well. If you want to know his motivations in a nutshell, then see the end of the prequel story, which was fashioned out of the information I gave to Damo. Excerpt ...

“[Scaringella] must defend Remas, of course, either by destroying the ogres or chasing them away. His victory must be glorious, so he can return to Remas as a hero, winning the citizens’ favour. He must earn a good portion of the loot so that he can feed and pay the army; and he must prove to be so effective on the field of battle that the Pavonan duke is grateful, becoming an important ally during the struggle ahead. Yet he must do all these things without suffering crippling losses, for he will need the army to put the Disciplinati di Morr back in their place upon [the arch-lector’s] return to Remas.”

Admittedly, his death does not sound too successful, and the Remans never got the ogres’ loot, but I am saying he played the role amazingly well, not that the character was happy about the result! All the way through Damo was happy to give advice to his ally, and did so in such a way that it took until turn 2 before the rest of us realised that the Pavonans had been tricked into doing nearly all the hard fighting! The result was quite a good one for Remas: the arch-lector lives, having much of the Reman army left(1/3 casualties on the field are also be recovered after a draw). They have  chased the ogres away, thus gaining a victory (another one) to win support for the arch-lector back home. And the Pavonans might be very loyal allies, especially if they desperately need help! That isn’t bad compared to defeat and annihilation!

I would love to go into all the political repercussions and other potential consequences of the battle, as well as what the various parties involved might do as a result of it, but I can’t. For a start, I can’t discuss players’ plans and thoughts for gameplay reasons. (That’s why I do so many stories from NPC perspectives.) And secondly it would take so long that it would fill several pages with a tortuous explanation of ifs and buts, whys and hows, etc. Let’s just say it’s complicated! Very complicated. And changing all the time.  It’ll all most likely come out in subsequent stories!

So with both sides unwilling to fight on, and both Remans and Razger finding something good about their situation (although not Duke Guidobaldo!), they agreed a draw. Both sides would now back away from each other, recovering what they could in the process without risking being drawn back into a fight.

Many thanks to Mark of M&L Models in Pontefract for hosting the game. It’s a great venue, welcoming and with good facilities (tables, scenery, etc). I heartily recommend it to any ‘local’ gamers, and I hope to use it again.



damo_b

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Re: A Tilean Campaign (Warhammer Fantasy Battle)
« Reply #118 on: May 31, 2017, 12:22:33 PM »
good fun game and a great write up as always Paul.