HOTT Battle: The Second Part of the Grand Duke’ s War; or The Downfall of the Grand Duke.

This is a battle report from the old Warbard. The first part of the report is in The Duke of Erehwon’ s War with the Dwarves post. – Corey

Greatly angered, the Duke did muster the remaining warriors of Erewhon, mighty Knights and many stalwart swordsmen. He further did compel the greatest wizard of the Duchy, one Simarian the Piebald, to march with the army, and such was the anger of the Duke that even Simarian agreed to march.

Avoiding the River Flueve, and instead marching toward the Dwaerrowpass, the Grand Duke did encounter a Dwarven muster, lead by the great warleader Rastaz the Bearrider.

Through the wooded land the Grand Duke sent his forces. Half his knights he sent around, by devious routes, in hopes of catching the Dwarven border tower unawares, whilst the other half remained in reserve, behind the stalwart footmen of Erewhon, whom the Grand Duke lead personally.

The knights on the flank did fall upon and scatter a unit of the hated crossbowdwarves, and did press on to attack the borderpost, although pressed by Dwarven axers and ultimately unsuccessful in their attack on the stone tower. Forward, Rastaz sent the remainder of his crossbowers around the flanks, whilst his axers and he moved forward to destroy the invading humans.

The attack of the crossbowdwarves upon the flanks of the footmen did scatter and split their line, allowing the axedwarves to advance, bellowing terrible Dwarven warsongs as they attacked.

Rastaz and the Grand Duke met in single combat, and epic and mighty was the clash. For the Duke was the most skilled swordsman in his realm, and Rastaz was also greatly skilled with the sword, and was aided by his terrible warbear, before which men cowered.

At length, the rashness of the Grand Duke was proved upon his body, as Rastaz hew the ducal head from his body. Seeing their great leader fall, the remaining humans despaired, and fled or surrendered to the Dwarves.

With the might of Erewhon thus shattered upon the Dwarven anvil, the hosts of the Dwarven realm moved into the Duchy, intent on punishing the humans for warmongering. After eating many horses and burning down part of the capital town to get the attention of the humans, the Dwarven lord did install a new Duke, and a great treaty was made for him to sign. Thus forbidden to wage war upon the Dwarves, deprived of lands around the River Flueve, and stripped of the title ‘Grand’, the new Duke of Erewhon was proclaimed.

The body of the old Grand Duke was buried under a great stone which read, in dwarfrunes and human script, “Thus perish all Enemies of Dwarves”. The Dwarves ate his horse.
The Duke's Burial Stone

HOTT Battle: The Duke of Erehwon’s War with the Dwarves.

This is a battle report from the old Warbard. The second part of the report is in The Second Part of the Grand Duke’ s War; or The Downfall of the Grand Duke post. – Corey

The last Grand Duke of Erewhon was a mighty man, a fell warrior and great leader. He had the vice of greed, however, and did greatly covet the wealth of the Dwarven realm in the mountains above Erewhon. Seizing upon customs infractions by Dwarven traders as his flimsy public excuse, the Grand Duke gathered the warriors of Erewhon to plunder and invade the Dwarven Realm.

Gathered he the mighty Knights of Erewhon, nobles all, mightily armoured and enhorsed, so stupendous that the thought of defeat occurred not to them. The stalwart swordsmen were also mustered, and the rabble of the fields were pressed into the Duke’ s service. This mighty host, with splendid banners flying, marched towards the River Fleuve to do battle with the Dwarves.

The Dwarves of the borderguard were all on foot, their axes shining in the sun. Rank upon solid rank, all garbed in their Dwarflord’ s colors. Towards the bridges over the River Fleuve the humans came, the Knights thundering towards the Great Bridge of Dwarven make, the footmen having to contend themselves with a smaller human-made bridge.

The Knights who thundered over the Greatbridge, confident of victory, were met with hails of deadly bolts, and turned back by Dwarven crossbowers, who cared not a whit for the magnificence of Knightly trappings. They knew simply that knights were big targets, and that roast horse was a Dwarven delicacy!

With the Greatbridge thus secure, the Dwarven infantry moved on toward the human footmen, who were crossing on the lesser bridge. The two lines crashed together, and the thunder of the battle rose high, human sword against Dwarven axes. The battle swayed back and forth, the two lines reeling, recoiling and charging.

But more numerous were the Dwarves, and they did overlap the Erehwon troops, driving them back toward the riverbank and gradually away from the bridge. All valour and the personal bravery of the Grand Duke notwithstanding, the humans were quite crushed, many falling to flashing axes or drowning in the swift river. The Grand Duke himself barely escaped over the river.

Soaking wet and in peril of his life, he did vow revenge upon the beastly dwarves, and did slink back to drip upon his throne and call for a new muster of the men of Erewhon.

HOTT battle report from a friend

This is a battle report from the old Warbard – Corey

These two battles were fought between myself[Brian] & a friend; they were his first and second Hordes games. He later wrote this battle report and sent it to me. It makes a nice change from the three Dwarven-propaganda ones I wrote!

In the first battle, I set up with my swordsmen in the centre, with two groups of two knights on the flanks. The [human] army was led by the mage Dughan the Smitten. Bardur’s army of dwarves stood before the gates of their fortress, drinking and laughing at the preposterousness of the skinny folk across the field. The Human knights rushed forth and charged the dwarven crossbowmen, and were crushed for their daring effort. With the Dwarven airboat, “Flight of Gandeer”, harassing the right flank, Bardur Stormhammer challenged the magician to settle their differences, man to dwarf. Of course, Dughan, remembering his mentor’s warning never to mess with a drunken dwarf, turned poor Bardur into a mole! Greatly distressed, the remaining dwarves carried their Hero back to the stronghold in the Iron Goblet. The dwarves shall not forget that magic is for more than the pansy elves ever again…

Several days followed with the dwarven smiths forging runes to remove the hex on Bardur, then the humans again assaulted Bardur’s stronghold. Bardur, remembering his days as short-snouted rodent, was not so hasty to attack that dastardly magician. Instead, he sent his crossbow-armed dwarves after Dughan, who proceeded to run around the board in fear of the satanic devices of the heathen dwarves. Finally, Bardur had had enough! He called to his axedwarves to charge the scattered and segmented line of swordsmen. Unfortunately, his dwarves were unable to hear him over their excessive taunting of the fleeing sorcerer, and he ended up alone, surrounded by human swordsmen. Thus ended Bardur’s short reign as Lord of Gandeer’s Keep. May the Runes be with him.

Dughan, for what it’s worth, stole forty barrels of Bardur’s finest stout, and got very, very drunk. Unfortunately, he forgot to give the King his share in taxes, and was sent to the dungeon. He is still there to this day. And he is still drunk (dwarvish brews are well known for their potency, and many a lay has been sung about the hundred year hangovers that they tend to induce in the wine drinking elves). The dwarves of Gandeer’s Keep have sworn that the pickled blood of Dughan shall not go to waste, and that it shall be returned to them. By force if necessary. All forty barrels of it (with the impurities filtered out).

HOTT Battle 3: Kzah Robad

This is a battle report from the old Warbard – Corey

A millenium ago, Kzah Robad had been a great Dwarven provincal capital, massively built and echoing with the stamp of Dwarven armies and the noise of trade, one of the centers of the Peace of the Axe that the great Dwarven Empire had maintained in the area. Then had come the Plague Years, killing one dwarf in four and ruining the Empire. Kzah Robad had been abandoned then, all the dwarves killed or moved back over the great mountains. Humans and other races less affected by the Plague had moved into the area, but some half-remembered fear of Dwarven might or of the Plague had kept Kzah Robad empty. The great stones had weathered and tumbled, but not even a millenium of nature’s work could destroy this city.

Now Kzah Robad echoed again to Dwarven soldiers marching, and warleader Reorax hoped the noise of trade would return soon. The Peace of the Axe was being re-established, starting with Kzah Robad and the upstart humans who occupied the districts surrounding it. In two major engagements and a host of smaller, the human armies had been swept aside. Now Kzah Robad was Dwarven once again, but there remained one last organized force of human soldiers in the district. Before the Peace of the Axe must come the use of the axe, Reorax knew.

His forces were drawn up outside the ruined West Gate of Kzah Robad, and his scouts reported that the humans were coming directly towards them. He took a moment to look over his lines. Axemen, as always, and a force of crossbow dwarves, drawn up just behind the leftmost small hill. The Warbears were off skirmishing, but the boltshooter had been repaired and rejoined his forces, deployed on the far right. He leaned on his sword and waited for the enemy to come over the low hills in the middle distance.

Dwarven Order of Battle: 1x Hero General (Reorax), 6x Blades (axedwarves), 2x Shooters (crossbow dwarves), 1x Artillery (boltshooter)=23pts. Dwarves were defending.

Terrain: Several low hills in front of the dwarves, including one immediately in front of their inital left wing setup. No other significant features.

The human knights came into view first, thundering over the rightmost hill and onto his right hand line of axemen and the boltshooter.

Human Order of Battle: 1x Knight General, 3x Knights, 4x Swords, 1x Wizard, 1x Artillery=23 pts.

Reorax cursed, realizing that both he and the human leader had made mistakes. He was almost certain to lose the boltthrower now, as the knights crashed into it. The knights had, however, charged forward too fast for their infantry support – their flank was wide open for him to charge into…he thought the human’ s mistake was far more likely to cost him the battle.

First, he had a witch to kill! The human ‘wizard’ – they were all witches to Reorax – had advanced to within striking range, just as had his comrade had during the eariler fight. Didn’t these silly fools know anything? Reorax taught the witch the folly of attempting to fight dwarves, although he doubted the witch appreciated the lesson. Another staff for his collection….

To his left, his crossbows were harassing the human swordsmen as they moved up. As Reorax had feared, the boltthrower was burning on the left, the crew either cut down or run off by the knights. They were finding his axedwarves tougher going, however, and as he charged into the flank of the nearest knight unit, he knew they weren’t going to get any farther today, or ever.

Reorax and his followers hacked through the knights, driving them off and cutting them down until he reached the lofty banner of the human leader, the man who called himself Baron and leader of these lands. A minutes swordwork brought human ‘Baron’ and banner both down, and the human army started to rout off the field, chased by the victorious dwarves.

Later that night, an enourmous victory celebration was held in a partly restored hall in Kzah Robad. A human in chains was brought before Reorax. “And who in Brokaz’ s name is this damn Tall?”, said Reorax.

The human attempted dignity, which is hard when chained. “I am Oswald of Greenwald. My brother was Baron of Greenwald. I understand you slew him in battle, so I am Baron now, and in charge of Greenwald.”

Reorax shook his head. “Human, you are nobody, and in charge of nothing. I am Reorax, and the Dwarves are in charge now.”

HOTT Battle 2: Slow Grind

Advancing after their triumph at the Ketan River, Reorax’s army moved deeper into human-occupied territory, their ultimate goal the Kzah Robad ruins, ancient Dwarven capital of this region, and the return to rightful power by this land’s true Dwarven rulers.

The airboat Khadan had moved on ahead scouting, and word had been sent back that another human force was attempting to intercept the Dwarven forces. Reorax picked a defensible area and swiftly another stockaded camp went up. The Dwarven force settled down to await the humans.

Reorax had been pleased to see that some of his other units had caught up to his main force. The great warbears were especially pleasing. He knew the humans feared the great Dwarf-ridden grizzlies, and with good reason. Only the most powerful wildmagic and runework kept the bears in check. The wildmagic had been learned from a renegade Elf ages past, but the Dwarves had used it with their own magics to create a unit that was utterly unique in the world. Yes, Reorax was very pleased with his single troop of Bearriders.

He was less pleased that the massive Bolt Thrower had broken an axle the previous day…these damn roads could break even Dwarven machinery. He made a mental note: Get Dwarven stonemason rebuilding proper stone roads soon after the territory was secure! At least the new crossbow dwarves would help make up for the lost Bolt Thrower.

Dwarven Order of Battle: 1x Hero General (Reorax), 6x Blades (Axedwarves), 3x Shooters (Crossbow dwarves), 1x Knights (Dwarven Warbears)=24pts. The airboat and artillery have been traded off for two more Shooters and one Knight unit. Dwarves were defending.

Reorax looked forward into the afternoon light, cursing the trees that grew in large patches all over the area, including his chosen battlefield. He could see human units moving beyond the trees, and the horns and drums thundered the advance.

Human Order of Battle: 1x Knight General, 3x Knight, 4x Blades, 1x Wizard, 1x Artillery. Same as last battle.

The Dwarven axers moved into trees on the left to await further orders as Reorax moved with his Warbears and the crossbow units closer to the enemy. The human witch proved to have less sense than a juvenile tunnelslither as he dashed forward in an attempt to cast majics on the advancing dwarves. With a howl of triumph, Reorax charged forward, catching the human witch by surprise and earning himself a new staff and silly cloak to add to his collection…he truly was Reorax Witchkiller!

Bands of human knights appeared on both sides of the woods ahead of the Dwarves, and a human gun had been set up beside the wood. With a crash and billow of smoke, the gun began to fire on the Dwarven crossbows, who advanced and began to fill the air with deadly Dwarven-steel crossbow quarrels. The human knights fell during the charge, their armour no match for quarrels. The human swordsmen emerging from the woods were driven back in a similar storm of quarrels, whilst the bombard was unable to disrupt the stalwart Dwarven archers.

To the left, however, Reorax had a more immediate problem. A band of human knights had swung out and were moving in on the flanks of his archers. Moving quickly to block them, Reorax and his immediate followers drove the knights back, giving the Dwarven axedwarves time to arrive and seal the flank.

As the human army continued to take casualties, they began to falter. Finally, over half of them had been killed or fled, and the remainder lost their courage before the remorseless Dwarves and fled the scene.

In Hordes, loosing half of your army (measured in points, not bases) will cause the rest to rout.

The way was clear to Kzah Robad and the return of Dwarven power after a millennium of absence from this land!