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!

HOTT Battle 1: Head Shot…

This is a battle report from the old Warbard – Corey

Dwarven warleader Reorax Thanak (the Witchkiller) surveyed his troops and the situation. The initial movement into this territory had gone well – only isolated patrols of humans, easily swept aside. His matchless Dwarven engineers had constructed a solidly stockaded field camp, and his troops had moved in for the night.

Now he had received word that a human force had moved out to meet him. His force formed up in front of their camp in the gloom of dawn, and prepared to begin the combat that would restore this land to its rightful Dwarven overlords.

Beyond the ranks of solid axedwarves and the bulk of the boltthrower to the left, the massive ‘Khadan’ floated, proud achievement of the runecarvers and mastersmiths of Thordan. The airboat was unique and powerful, and if Reorax’s plan worked, it could prove the key to winning this battle.

Dwarven Order of Battle: 6xBlades (Axedwarves), 1x Hero General (Reorax Witchkiller), 1x Shooter (Crossbowdwarves), 1x Artillery (Bolt Shooter), 1x Airboat (the Khadan) = 24pts. Dwarves were defending.

Signal lamps flickered from the Khadan, keeping Reorax informed of the enemy’s movements on the far side of the river. “Human troops in column….Foot leading…Horse following…Witch and guns spotted…” That last caused Reorax to grin. Killing human witches – they called them wizards – was something of a hobby for him. Another staff to mount on his wall, and another silly looking robe to carpet his floor with…

Terrain: Mostly open. A few small hills between the Dwarven camp and line and the river, which had a bridge. All human units started on the far side of the river, which crossed most of the board.

Human Order of Battle: 3x Knights, 1x Knight General, 4x Blades (Regular Swordsmen), 1x Wizard (the ‘witch’), 1x artillery (primitive bombard)= 23pts.

The Khadan eased forward, sails catching the wind and liftrunes flaring in the early morning light. As it approached the Human column crossing the bridge, the swordsmen in the lead moved left, clearing the way for the column of knights behind them to cross, the banners of the commander floating in the van. The airboat swung down on the human general’s group, weapons swinging to bear. Far behind, the main Dwarven line of axedwarves and crossbowdwarves started forward.

The Humans were severely cramped in their initial deployment. The Ketan River was not fordable, the bridge being the only way across. The Knights and Swordsmen were in column, the infantry leading the way. The gun and wizard were on the banks of the river to one side to defend the bridge.

The human general survived the Khadan’s initial attack, so the captain of the vessel swung in line for another run. The human witch let loose a blast of raw power, but the Khadan’s runes of protection dissipated the blast into a harmless – albeit spectacular – flare of light before the vessel was even struck.

This attack run proved successful – with the bridge behind him jammed with his own knights, the human commander fell before the deadly hail of the Khadan’s weaponry. Leaderless, the human army streamed back over the bridge and away, harried on their way by the Khadan.

In Hordes, armies which have their general killed automatically rout, costing them the battle. This is what happened to the humans in this battle.

Reorax and the Dwarven line hadn’t even closed to within bowshot of any enemy units, and the sun was not even properly risen! Reorax’s disappointment at not getting another human witch was balanced by the sheer exultation of such an easy victory. All honour to the Khadan’s crew and builders!

Now they could advance into human-occupied territory, and finish the job of establishing proper Dwarven leadership over lands that were rightfully theirs.

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