Dragonflight 1999 convention report

August 27th, 28th, and 29th 1999 I was down in Seattle, WA for the DragonFlight convention, held on Seattle University’s parklike campus just east of downtown Seattle. I had a great time, shot most of a roll of film, and wish I’d shot more. Here’s the best of the photos, and some notes on the games.
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Gladius & Axe: Roman Early Imperial Legions Vs. Dwarven Axedwarves

This is a battle report from the old Warbard – Corey

Neil and I had a very interesting FR! battle on Sunday – 1000pts of Dwarves vs. 1000pts of Romans. These are the two ultimate Handweapon armies – fairly small battlelines of really, really good troops. My Dwarves had a Light-Artillery equipped Battlewagon, a flying Small Monster, 1 Elite HW, 8 regular HW and 3 crossbow units. The crossbows had stakes, and the regular HW all had Bombs. Two Traps filled out the list.

Neil’s Romans were an entirely ‘straight’ historical early Imperial army – a line of Elite HW Legions with throwing weapons, backed by bow-armed Skirmishers, with some throwing-weapon equipped Mobs and Light & Heavy Cav as support, and one light artillery piece.

What was really unique was that the Romans had no magic user at all, while the Dwarves had a Level 2 War Cleric. As it turned out, this mattered less than you might think. The Romans stubbornly refused to believe that magic was really happening, it seems – using just their Army Pool, and some luck, they stopped the bulk of my spells in their tracks!

The battlefield was quite crowded – a very large hill and a pair of smaller hills dominated the center of the field, with a river and small forested area off on one flank.

Roman setup had the Legions, skirmishers and light arty. together in line, at the back of the large hill. The mobs deployed along the bottom of the large hill, and the cavalry deployed farther out along the flanks, the bulk of it on the right flank.

Dwarven setup was my standard Dwarven setup – a line of 6 HW, with refused flanks of crossbows & HW and a pair of HW behind the main line as reserves. The battlewagon was on the right flank with two of the CB units, facing down the Roman cavalry. I`ve found that this double-refused flank with reserves setup works very well with Dwarves, and helps protect this slow-moving army`s flanks very well.

Both armies advanced slowly toward each other, the Dwarven light arty getting a couple of shots in, but the Roman artillery being masked by the bulk of the hill they were behind.

The Dwarven wargod`s Avatar, summoned by the War Cleric, howled forward and engaged the Legion`s righthand units, being banished shortly but throwing that flank into terrible disorder. Down on the flat, the Dwarven CB deployed their stakes and faced down the Roman cavalry, with both Traps holding units stationary for turn after turn, securing the flank. The battlewagon had charged forward to attack the cavalry, being eventually surrounded and destroyed but fighting grimly for many turns and leaving the cavalry in disarray.

The first clash of the infantry battlelines was thunderous – Dwarven Bombs versus Roman pilum and shortbow, with the bombs destroying the center of the Legion`s line, including the light artillery piece. Although the Dwarves were fighting uphill the whole time, they generally prevailed, gradually grinding the Legion down, although not without cost.

One notable (although temporary) setback for the Dwarves came when a valiant Roman mob beat a Dwarven HW unit twice, throwing it back off the hill in disorder, although not destroying it.

On the left flank, the Dwarven flying small monster (a small Silver Drake) had flown forward and destroyed the only Roman Light Cavalry unit on that flank, while HW & CB units slowly flattened the Roman mobs.

The Dwarven general challenged a Roman Hero to a duel, but the craven Roman, muttering something about `…being an officer, not a duelist, dammit…` went and hid in the rear ranks. The Roman general had more guts – and, as it turned out, more skill, slaying the Dwarf general in epic single combat. The Dwarven axers where not much dismayed, however, and continued to battle it out with the Legions, although both armies where now very much in disorder. (Both armies had been chasing each other down the moral clock, with the Dwarves hitting 4 first, then stopping at 3 while the Romans continued to fall…)

The turning point came when the Dwarven Silver Drake shook off it`s fatigue and soared over the Roman lines, terrifying and then destroying first a unit of skirmishers and then a Legion HW unit, while at the same time the Dwarf War Cleric convinced the wargod to return, slaying one of the trapped Roman Heavy Cav units. Dwarven axers continued to fight grimly, and some sembelence of order was imposed on sections of the Dwarven line.

All of this was too much for even valiant Legionnaires to take, and the Romans fell back, ceding the field to the Dwarven forces!

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Thoughts on ‘Magicless’ FR! Games: I’m not going to claim that magic had no effects at all on this fight – the Dwarven wargod’s Avatar was instrumental twice, although he didn’t stick around a long time. Part of this has to do with the peculiar nature of the War Cleric’s spells – the bulk of them are far more subtle and tactical, so that while they can change the outcome of the game, they’re not going to do it single-handedly. Even if you had a more distructive spellcaster – the Fire Shaman comes to mind – the deciding factor of the battle is always the actual clash of units, and usually the clash of battlelines.

It also shows off, I think, the integrity of the FR! ruleset – the tactical, combat part of the rules are sound enough, and the magic is not generally overpowering, so that a pure tactical combat army – which is what Neil’s Romans were – can still give a magic-enhanced army a stiff fight. This game, as I said in the report, was neck-to-neck almost right to the end. A really great game!

Grashnek da Uruk on Unbolg’s big raid into ‘uman territ’ry

This is an old battle report from the original Warbard – Corey

We had a Medieval Human vs Orc FR! fight Tuesday (April 27, 1999), and I’ve finally written a battle report. This one’ s from the Orc point of view (after all, victors write history, right?) and I had a lot of fun writing it!

The fight was a 750pt Orc army vs a 750pt Medieval army.

Grashnek da Uruk on Unbolg’ s big raid into ‘ uman territ’ ry

So, da big boss Unbolg, he decide dat de Dwarfs, dey’ re entire too tough. Lousy eatin’ and dem buggers is bloody good fighters, too. Dey maul de Tribe when we last went into Dwarf territ’ ry, so Unbolg look for easy pickins.

He say he found good target for da raids in territory of ‘ uman lady, da Duchess of Sout’ fold. Humans is better eatin’ an’ da horse is better eatin’ still, sez Unbolg. Da snagas go “Whoo-hoo!” – it don’ t take much to get dem snaga excited. Me, I tink damn kniggets on big damn ‘ orse is pretty mean, but Unbolg got ‘ dat look’ , mean and set in ‘ is ways. It’ s why ‘ e’ s still da Boss.

So we wanders into ‘ uman territ’ ry, a big mob of da snaga, a bunch of us uruk, lots o’ dem mad frotin’ -at-da-mout’ wargs, some wit’ snaga ridin’ dem, and a couple a dem big, big trolls. Boy, do dose troll buggers stink! Unbolg was da Boss, o’ course, and I’ m like da other kinda boss, cause I’ m meaner dan most, and I gets to carry da big big Banner, wit’ flames all over it. We had dat mad bugger Graz and ‘ is drum, and dat ‘ orrible little snaga fire shaman, cause for a snaga ‘ e’ s mean, and ‘ e’ s got a way wit da fire. A bunch of dem archer-uruk came, too.

We come up over a bunch a hills, an dere’ s dis little village of da ‘ umans, wit lots a dere peasant types running’ away when dey sees da big Banner overhead! We kinda start chargin’ toward da village, wit’ da wargs and da snaga-riders on da sides and dose stoopid archers ahead. Calls demselves Uruk, dey do! Da cheek of it!

Den dere’ s big, big walls of flame and all ‘ orribleness in front of us! Da snaga charge at it, but dere afraid, no surprise dere. Dere was a damned ‘ uman mage or sommat in da area! So we kinda move to da left, up onto da hill, wit’ da snaga in front and us uruk behind, and da archer types even farther ahead.

Da archer-types, dey say ders great big bloody ‘ orses on da plain, all covered in cloth and wit’ guys in armour on da backs of ‘ em! Da bloody ‘ uman knights ‘ ad showed up, and dey were gonna fight! Dere was ‘ uman footmen wit’ da big swords down dere as well, but da mad warg poured all over dem and dey wasn’ t doing so good.

Graz da Mad an’ ‘ is drum lead a couple mobs o’ snaga into da town, and da snaga on wargs are goin’ round da far side, and da little shaman, ‘ e sez for sure ders a damn ‘ uman mage in da area, cause ‘ e can feel da spells. Dere’ s more flames and ‘ orribleness in front of us, but da Boss Unbolg he sez to charge da flames, dat dere fake like! So we do, an’ ya know, dey were fake?! Damn ‘ uman mage, ‘ e could only do illusions like!

Da archers were shootin’ at da knights on da plain, and dey actually brought a bunch o’ dem down, filled full o’ arrows! Damn good, I’ ll say, even if dey ain’ t uruk! Da shaman, ‘ e was keepin’ da ‘ umans confused wit’ big damn walls o’ flame and by makin’ ‘ em all real hot, so dey couldn’ t move like. Dat shaman was pretty hot, ya know?

Da snaga ridin’ warg were away on da side, but we could see dem messing wit’ some knights, running around dem an’ shootin’ , and dem knights couldn’ t catch dose fast wolves, so dat was looking pretty good.

Da ‘ umans were gettin’ a bit discouraged, I tink, and mebbe slowin’ down a bit, but dey was still tough basterds, and da batch dat came ‘ round da forest ahead of us, dey were even tougher looking, and dat Duchess, she was wit’ dose knights, so dey’ d fight real good! Da shaman cast lots o’ walls a flame, and cut da mean-looking knights off, but da other knights ran over da last o’ dose mad wargs, and nearly all da archer-types was run down as well, but da ‘ uman’ s were loosing, and dey knew it too.

Da end came wit’ out me even ‘ aving to fight, and I calls dat pretty good! Dose wolf-snagas swarmed all ov’ r some knights dat were fightin’ wit some snaga mobs, and da surrounded knights went down, and da rest kinda ran away, but dey left lots an’ lots o’ ‘ orses an’ ‘ umans on da field, so we had a good feed and got to plunder dat village, and it was pretty damn good, ya know? Dat village burned real nice, too.

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Postscript: I’m in the middle of reading “The Art of War in the Middle Ages” by Charles Oman (my light recreational reading of the moment) and ran across this passage:

“…each commander took his own route and made what speed he could, the French army arrived upon the field in dozens of small scattered bodies. These were attacked in detail, and in many cases routed by the Mamelukes. No general battle was fought, but a number of detached and incoherent cavalry combats had all the results of a great defeat. A skirmish…would overthrow the chivalry of the West, even when in went forth in great strength and was inspired…” (pg 59)

Now, substitute “Duchess of Westfold” for ‘French’ and ‘West’, and “Orcs” for ‘Mamelukes’, and we have a perfect snyopsis of Tuesday’s FR! fight between Tony’s medieval humans and my orcs and goblins!

“Art of War in the Middle Ages” is a great book – I highly recommend reading it.

Battle #2: The Duchess of Southfold’s War on the Dwarves

This is an old battle report from the original Warbard – Corey

750pt Dwarves (Corey) vs. 750pt Medieval Humans (Brian).

The Duchess of Southfold did declare war upon the Dwarves, declaring that Dwarves were offensive, thieving, braggartly, and furthermore were foul to look upon. Summoning a great host of knights (4 Knights), her personal knightly retinue (2 Elite Knights) a lesser host of lowly footmen (4 Handweapons, 1 Mob of peasants), and many of the great nobles of the land, including Sir Danel, Master of Horse (Hero w/ Exeptional Weapon), Sir Vilheim, Master of Foot (Hero) and the ignoble but skilled illusionist Sarnain (1st Level Illusionist Hedge Mage), she did lead her troops against the offensive Dwarves. (the Duchess was her own General.)

Greatly alarmed at this mighty host, the Thane of Greymount (General) mustered a great host of axedwarves (6 Handweapon), his personal Guard (1 Elite Handweapon), the crossbowdwarves (3 Xbow), a party of Bearriders (1 Hvy Cav, causes fear), and his great battlewagon (Battlewagon w/ Hvy Arty). The great heroes of the realm accompanied him (2 Heroes), as did a Cleric of the Wargod (1st Lvl War Cleric).

The human army moved through great woods towards the River Flueve, which was entirely fordable at this, the height of summer. The footmen did hang back, not desiring to combat the superior Dwarven forces, whilst the great body of Knights, lead by the Duchess and her Master of Horse and the illusionist Sarnain, did crash through the forest in hope of outflanking the Dwarves.

The Dwarves had drawn up their great infantry battleline, with crossbows on the flanks and a smaller party of axedwarves in reserve, and hoped to move forward to contact the knights whilst they were still struggling to leave the river. Sarnian, however, skillfully cast illusions, which had the appearance of great walls of flames, and did prevent much of the movement the Dwarves had hoped to make.

Thus the knights were able to cross the river and deploy unmolested, and form up great ranks to thunder upon the Dwarves, spitting them with lances and trampling them underfoot. The knightly ranks did wrap entirely around the Dwarven line, and the further part of the Dwarven line fell before the knights, yet the knights were greatly in disarray from their charge, and there were still many Dwarves upon their flanks.

Furthermore, a party of Dwarven Bearriders had come over a great hill and fallen upon the human footmen far behind. The great warrior Vilheim, who was Master of Foot for the Duchess, slew the Dwarf Razan Bearrider in epic single combat, but was lost when the vengeful Bearriders destroyed his men about him. Despite their loss and the terror the bears stirred in men’s guts., the footmen continued to hold off the Bears.

All might still have been lost if it had not been for the skillfully cast illusions of Sarnian, who made it seem as if great lines and walls of fire blocked the Dwarven advance, thus allowing the knights to dress their lines and fall upon the enemy again. Thus trapped between great lines of knights and the river, their own lines in terrible dissarray, the Dwarves fled, or fell, or surrendered, each according to his own fate.

More battle reports coming soon.

FR! Battle #1: Unbolg the Uruk Offends the Dwarves

This is an old battle report from the original Warbard – Corey

750pt Dwarven force (Joel commanding) vs 750pt Orc/goblin force (Brian commanding).

The foul uruk-hai and snaga underlings of the uruk chief Unbolg had been raiding and plundering the fringes of Dwarven territory for too long already, and their latest move was the last straw: the uruk had moved into and desecrated a hilltop site dedicated to the Dwarven Smith-God. Mustering the axedwarves and warriors of the realm, the Thane of Greymount marched out to recover the holy site.

The Dwarves had a great body of axedwarves (7 Handweapons), the best of whom were in the Greymount Guard (1 Elite Handweapon). Two companies of crossbowdwarves (2 Crossbow), a unit of feared Bearriders (Hvy Cavalry, causes Fear) and a great balista-mounting battlewagon (Battlewagon w/ Hvy Arty) completed the Dwarven line. Thorin Silvershield (Hero) was first amongst the Axedwarves, and Razan Bear-rider (Hero) lead the Bearriders into combat. The Thane himself lead the army (General), and an outraged Cleric of the Smith-God (1st Lvl War Cleric) accompanied the force.

The Uruk of Unbolg were not many (3 Handweapons) but were accompanied by a great mob of slave-orcs (6 Mobs of snaga) and a group of terrible Trolls (1 Elite Handweapon), while the low-ranking Uruk took up their bows (4 Skirmishers). The wargs and their riders rounded out the force (2 Light Cavalry wolfriders; 2 Small Monster units of wargs). Unbolg himself lead the force, waving his plundered Dwarven axe overhead (General w/ Exceptional Weapon). The Uruk Grashnek carried the revered tribal Banner of the Flame God (Hero w/ Army Standard), and Garz the Mad hammered his drum to inspire the troops (Bard) and aid the slimy snaga shaman Sqee (1st lvl Fire Shaman) in incinerating the hated Dwarves.

Battle was joined in a narrow valley between the holy hill and a larger hill toward the river. The warg-riders poured ahead on the right flank, the wargs moved onto the large hill to the left flank, and the main orc mass moved ahead slowly, with the skirmishers out in front. The Dwarves advanced in two lines of infantry, one behind the other, with the Bearriders and battlewagon gaurding the right flank and the Greymount Gaurd on the left flank.

The first clash came when the artillery of the battlewagon fired upon the snaga wargriders, who pressed on until fully half of them were destroyed, the remainder falling back to find easier targets.

As the Dwarves moved forward, they encountered the uruk skirmisher screen, the foul arrows of which slew many great Bears and their riders, utterly destroying the unit. Undismayed, the Dwarves slew many skirmishers with crossbow fire until the remainder fled behind the main body of the uruk, there to harass the enemy with bowfire.

A great fight developed on the very top of the sacred hill, as a Dwarven crossbow unit that had pressed ahead was attacked by a great mob of snagas and the wolfriders pressed upon their flanks. The great battlewagon thundered to their aid, but too late, as the crossbow Dwarves were swarmed under by the snagas, who were inspired by the great Flame Banner in their midst. The snaga found themselves overmatched by the great battlewagon, however, which crushed them under it’s great wheels.

Down below in the valley, the two infantry lines impacted with a great noise and greater slaughter, as the Dwarves had been filled with the battle-lust and power of their Wargod, and their rage was terrible to look upon. The uruk and snaga had fully half their battleline obliterated in the first minutes of combat, and the remainder were sore pressed despite the power of the Trolls and the efforts of the snaga fire shaman, who did summon great sheets of flame to protect the flanks of the surviving uruk and snaga.

On the far left flank, the ravening packs of wargs had been driven back and destroyed by crossbowdwarves and axedwarves, although the unit of crossbowdwarves had fallen when the great berserk fury of the Wargod siezed them and dashed them against the wargs, who were still more terrible that the berserker Dwarves.

The horribly outnumbered, outflanked and hard pressed remenants of the tribe of Unbolg fled cravenly into the wilds, and never troubled Dwarven lands again.

Great game – hope my opponent enjoyed it as much as I did. More battle reports coming soon.

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!

Wargaming & Such (formerly Brian's Wargaming Pages)