Wednesday 6 November 2013

Night of the Living Lead! 2013. Part One.

In an attempt to channel the enthusiasm generated by the Bring Out Your Lead weekend, hosted by Wargames Foundry, the idea of forming loosely affiliated 'chapters' of archeo-gamers and retro-gamers was bandied about. This led to the formation of the Yorkshire Old Boys Society (currently eight members and growing) who, along with a few southern chapters, decided to coordinate their first 'official' meeting with the other groups around Halloween and thematically link their games. After a bit of discussion the over-arching background narrative (here) was put in place and with a bit of local tweaking the ball was well and truly rolling. The tales of this dark and terrible time are gradually starting to emerge and below is the contribution of the YOBS, the story of Baron Kraust and the Phylactery of the Trick Back.

As GM, I used Warhammer 2nd edition as a starting point and borrowed rules from 3rd edition when it suited me. I told the Good Alliance (deploying from the left of the 1st photo) that they had to stop the Necromancer, Baron Kraust, from enacting the Ritual of Nagash as their primary objective but gave them a pair of priests and the option of consecrating two graveyards to weaken the Baron. I told the Bad Guys to defend Kraust's tower and the graveyards at all costs.

The Barony of Kraust, a dark corner of the Sylvanian borderlands of the Empire. There is the hamlet of Kraust Market (bottom left), a few scattered farms, the Baron's landscaped garden with it's rotunda and streams full of colourful Carp and of course, numerous ruins, graveyards and barrows.

The Hobbit's Ruin Tavern, a potential cause of problems for the Good Alliance which included some alcoholic Halflings.

The vile Baron Kraust in his tower, preparing to enact the 'Great Ritual' that will damn his neighbours to a fate worse than death.

The Good Alliance begin to deploy onto the field of battle after the short march from Keinetotehierstadt. The rag-tag alliance consists of all those who heeded the desperate call for aid which the Bishop of Keinetotehierstadt sent out upon learning of his neighbour's nefarious scheme. Here we see Kraust Market occupied by the Bishop's light cavalry, Halberdiers and Dwarf irregulars.

Beyond the Dwarf irregulars can be seen the Bishop's retained Knights. As they pass by a dark, spooky cave entrance their leader mutters to himself. "I hope there's nothing lurking in there."

What a good idea! Thinks the GM.

Beyond the barrow lies the Bishop's centre, merely a screening force to protect the flanks of the two main thrusts and consisting of more light cavalry, the Halfling archers (wisely deployed far away from the tavern) and some militia infantry.

The Bishop's right is made up of trained archers, crossbowmen levy, foot Knight retainers and an elite unit of the famed 'Knights of the White Wolf' that fortuitously happened to be in the area.

As the Bishops' army deploys onto the board, Baron Kraust's loathsome minions begin to creep out of their dark hiding places. A mob of depraved, cannibalistic ghouls emerge from the catacombs of the southernmost graveyard and a rotting regiment of death riders appear on the road behind them.

Yet more death riders appear from the east, this time accompanied by three carrion. A creaking rumble heralds the arrival of some Undead chariots. This section of the Undead army is led by Bobmore Timos (the accountant of doom, one of two lieutenants serving Kraust) and has been joined by an ethereal Ghost.

A closer look at the second unit of death riders and their carrion escort.

The very ground shakes as a colossal, Undead Cyclops strides forth from the central graveyard. 

A moaning sound is torn from the lips of every soldier of the Bishop's army as a mighty Zombie Dragon appears alongside skeleton infantry, death riders and wraiths.

A Skull-Chucker catapult is deployed next to the Wraiths.

Skeleton archers take to the field and a second Skull-Chucker is deployed by it's cackling crew.

The game is afoot! Battle is joined in earnest as the Undead react to the Bishop's surprise attack, tea is drunk and the pizzas go in the oven. The Kraust army advances and the shooting of the catapults goes very wild. Kraust himself is busy enacting the ritual and so is not allowed control over nearby Undead units but his tower counts as a sort of 'wi-fi hotspot' for control purposes because of the enchantments laid upon it to keep the zombie butler and his staff operational. As Kraust only has two lieutenants, one casts an extend control spell to help prevent stupidity.

In response, the Bishop's right pours into Kraust Market as the light cavalry seize the crossroads.

Ever eager to give the crowd what they want, the GM has a stinking, Undead Werewolf appear out of the barrow to interrupt the progress of the retained Knights.

The carrion begin to position themselves for an aerial assault on the Bishop's right flank.

There is a heavy Undead presence around the tower, the master must be defended at any price!

Two Wight guards appear on the tower steps to defend Kraust. The living shall have to pay dearly if they are to fight their way past!

The Bishop's centre occupies a small farm, hoping to take cover from the deadly payload of skulls dropping all around them.

On the left the Bishop's forces begin to close on the enemy as they negotiate the stream and woods of the expensive-looking gardens near the rotunda. Victor Reaver the Landscape Gardener of Undeath, and the second of Kraust's lieutenants, commands the section of the Undead army that will defend the gardens. And the master's tower of course! Victor only wishes the Baron would heed his requests to evict the tenant farmers and replace their hovels with a lake of harmonious aspect.

With Kraust Market firmly in the hands of the Bishop's Halberdiers, the dastardly Undead spellcasters Victor and Bobmore think of a use for the otherwise pointless 'Enthuse' spell they rolled up. If double magic points are paid can we ensorcell the locals into an uprising against the occupation? Why yes of course! No less than 44 villagers with makeshift weapons begin to pour out into the streets looking extremely upset.

No doubt anyone who has ever looked up Werewolves in the Warhammer 2nd edition rulebook will understand the disappointment of the GM as he battles the retained Knights. Even with a couple of last-minute buffs the Undead creature is swiftly ridden down by the triumphant horsemen.

The Halfling regiment 'The Prowde Cockes' are suddenly devastated by a direct hit from the previously woeful skull-chuckers. Their numbers are drastically reduced and where previously they were all bawdy songs and leering snarls they now leap over the wattle fence to cower and find desperate cover.

The Undead cavalry and chariots crash onwards with spells of stability laid upon them to prolong their usefulness.

Screaming their eerily silent hatred at the foe the death riders plunge towards the Bishop's ranks.

The terrifying Ghost glides down the path from the central graveyard towards the enemy. He absolutely does not rattle any chains or go wooo.

Perhaps more terrifying, a vicious Manticore swoops down to the battlefield, attracted by the promise of slaughter and a good feed!

Undead infantry clank, grind and grate as they close the distance.

The zombie dragon's tongue lolls from it's gaping maw as the memory of hunger flickers across it's rotting brain.

The Bishop's right flank abandons Kraust Market as the threat of the enchanted villagers begins to coalesce.

The Halberdiers situation doesn't appear to be improving however! They face the carrion and a unit of death riders.

The Manticore and Undead Cyclops converge on the enemy centre with some support from skeleton infantry.

Over by the rotunda, the Bishop tries to set a cunning and deadly trap for the forces of Undeath as they charge heedlessly on.

At long last, the lines clash together as a wave breaks upon the shore. A unit of fearsome death riders slams into the Dwarf irregulars but the doughty fellows take nary a step back as they face down the foe with stern determination. 

Having cleaned the chunks of rotting Werewolf from his hammer, the leader of the retained Knights prepares to confront an Undead chariot.

The Undead patiently build up their strength in the centre, perhaps unaware of their overwhelming superiority. The screening force is doing it's job so far. Could the rumour also be true that the Baron Kraust has a crippling phobia of Halflings?

Over by the rotunda, death riders and skeleton infantry march into the V-shaped trap and face a coordinated volley of crossbow bolts, arrows and fireballs!

To find out if the Undead right flank survives the trap or are destroyed and if the Baron is able to complete his evil ritual or the Bishop lays him low: Tune into Part Two of 'Night of the Living Lead!'

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. My word, Mr Paul! That is a nicely laid out table. Very sorry not to have been able to participate in such an event! Here's to round two!


    1. Why, thank you very much Gaj! It's certainly a shame not to have you more local, having moved from the southern hemisphere to the northern, could you not simply make a tiny bit more effort and come to live in Yorkshire? Round two on it's way!

    2. Alas, 266 miles (give or take) did end up being a bit of a rounding error when we landed! I promise to be more considerate the next time!

    3. Awesome, remember to bring a warm coat.

  2. Really nice looking table and paint jobs all round.
    Don't keep is in suspense!

    1. Thanks 24, glad you're enjoying the spectacle! Part two is inbound...

  3. Nice one Paul - two Parent's Evenings this week has kept me offline so it was a nice surprise to see the game up already tonight!

    1. I managed to put it all together over a couple of days, it helped that I finally downloaded Picasa! (Thanks for the tip.) I have the original photos if you have a need for them, though I know you have a lot on your plate already, just let me know if you want them emailed across.

  4. Oh yeah and you can't be having those nasty little Halflings scuttling around your Barony ; )

  5. Fantastic looking game! Did I see two copies of Man O' War in the background? Lucky.

    1. Yes indeed, there are a lot of retro goodies stored up in this particular man-cave! You can reach out and lay your hands on just about any tabletop system invented!