Tuesday 28 October 2014

The Battle of Gretchen. 25/10/14

A group of us descended on Slayer Gaming for the second time to conclude the saga of Deathfist and Baron Kraust's rivalry. Scroll on down to see the results!

Although this was nominally a set piece battle between two established rivals, everyone was given a piece of paper with personal (and sometimes competing) goals that if met would constitute a 'success'. Players were also encouraged to tell their own story and plenty of freedom was given to the individuals involved (ie enough rope to hang themselves!)

A large group of ogre mercenaries with a 'distinctive-looking' mercenary giant in tow makes up the left flank of the army attacking Kraust's village, Gretchen. With the Deathfist late for his own battle his allies decide to launch the assault without him so as not to waste the element of surprise.

A whole tribe of Fimir had even been enticed to leave the fens and march with the invaders.

Gretchen's populace go about their daily business unaware of the impending attack. Deals are struck, animals are led to market and the inn is bustling. The shambling undead haunting the outskirts of the village are nothing unusual either, the folk simply turn a blind eye.

Despite the best efforts of the greedy mercenaries the Baron is far from surprised, his footsteps have too long been dogged by Khorne's lackeys and their allies, so by his command traps are laid and troops are summoned to the field. A cyclopean giant is in the van while hordes of rotting zombies and skeletons form the main body of Kraust's force.

From his vantage point at the highest window of Goethesturm Tower Kraust surveys the ground over which the battle will be fought and schemes up a plan.

Goethesturm. How much blood has been spilled in it's shadow? How many lives ended under it's baleful gaze? How many howls of pain and grief have echoed from it's walls?

The Chaos champion 'Doomed Ratchragged enters Gretchen as an ally of the Deathfist under the patronage of his erratic God 'Wenwoch the Waylayer'. As Ratchragged utters a devout prayer to Wenwoch the capricious spirit perversely steals all his weapons in lieu of an answer. Such is the nature of Chaos!

Bryan the troll ambles forward as the Deathfist finally arrives, leading his Chosen. He takes up a position behind the ogres on the extreme opposite to Kraust in his tower, a costly blunder which will make killing his long-time rival next to impossible!

Swarms of bats pour out from their lairs in the thatched attics of Gretchen's outlying farms. They ambush Kraust's enemies, weakening them and more crucially still slow them down.

From out of the sky swoops a terrible Spined Dragon. What awful pact was made with the beast to gain it's trust we shall never know. Ulther Deathfist's allies summon a horde of lesser daemons that coalesce into a single, horrible beast-daemon. An epic struggle begins on the ground but after the interference of a powerful ogre which lands a flurry of blows on the dragon the pair of titans take to their wings to finish the duel aloft.

Nearby, Slake-Sin's Throng of Exquisite Pleasure leaps forth from a warp-rift seeking battle with their thrice-accursed enemies; the followers of Khorne. The Slaaneshi troll takes a long look over the field of battle, slowly panning his gaze from left to right and taking in all the unfolding drama. "Wot a load ov crap" he exclaims, and promptly walks away never to be seen again.

Kraust's giant 'Harryhausen' stomps forward on his cloven hooves at the head of a mighty host of the undead. He bites the head off a Chaos champion and hurls the body over his shoulder, which clears a farmhouse and narrowly misses the Fimir. The surviving Chaos warriors exchange glances before taking flight as one.

His rival bellows a challenge, shaking the rafters of an unfortunate Kraustian farmer! With a swing of his massive club the 'milk-complexioned' big fellow kills his one-eyed opponent with a single blow! His triumphant warcry thunders out across the battlefield but the undead have no hearts to chill.

On the right flank of the invasion force more mercenary ogres skirmish in the haunted woods with a wight.

Back on the left flank the Deathfist and his Chosen are set upon by two giant spiders and a bruising melee erupts.

Ulther Deathfist's Chaos Dwarf artillerymen launch a barrage of fire on the nest from which the spiders are emerging. It is a saturation rather than a precision bombardment however and mortar shells and bazooka rounds land all over Gretchen.

Ratchragged dismounts after slaying a few peasants and begins to loot Gretchen. Perhaps he is looking for a new weapon! After a few more hasty prayers to Wenwoch go unanswered the God finally decides intervene once more as he sets off a magical null vortex which destroys magic items and saps magical power from mages in the area. Bryan the troll goes beserk and slays many enemy warriors.

A wild chase through the narrow alleys of Gretchen begins as a chariot careens carelessly into innocent bystanders. A raging fire, started by stray shells from the mortar, breaks out in the centre of the village.

Coppermain the Meargh and Tarpot-Smite the Dirach lead their Fimm against the numberless foe.

Being on the other side of the village, Kraust's necromantic allies escape Wenwoch's null vortex and summon still more undead troops. The enormous resulting plague of undead wipes out the entire tribe of Fimir!

Slake-Sin helps secure Goethesturm as the invader's right flank collapses.

Deathfist lands blow after blow on the giant spiders but cannot prevail. Suddenly a shadow passes over the struggle as another conflict is played out overhead. The flying daemonic beast has it's heart torn from it's chest by the Spined Dragon and it's corpse falls to earth where it explodes in a volcanic shower of evil energy. The only other casualty is a nearby ghost, it's soul is wrenched into hell alongside those of the composite beast-daemon. Fire and magic is poured into the badly wounded dragon and it too succumbs, plummeting straight down onto the Deathfist. An uncanny explosion of dragon fire mixes with the poison of the two squashed giant spiders and causes a wave of chemical death to billow out from the dragon's corpse causing untold casualties.

A surviving giant spider leaps down onto some invaders from a rooftop, this is too much for the attackers who turn and flee sparking a general rout in the centre.

Only the chariot crew continue their gruesome business unaffected. The flames begin to spread.

Ratchragged has fought his way across Gretchen and confronts Kraust's hordes on the eastern side. Offering an impassioned final plea to Wenwoch the Waylayer Ratchragged is rewarded with the sight of his God swinging out a gnarled claw and back-handedly slapping an enemy phantom, destroying it in a shower of ectoplasm!

The mercenary enchanter 'Tim' and his bodyguard 'Wulf' have fought the same regiment of skeletons all battle long. Both remain unwounded as the battle draws to a close and the concept of a 'tarpit' unit is turned on it's head!

Slake-Sin's bodyguard and the centaur unit crash into what little of the invaders can be mustered on the right flank. The centaurs slaughter some chaos warriors while the giant's wounds multiply. The battle paused for a confused moment as a Slaaneshi warrior has a sudden epiphany and pulls aside his codpiece revealing a ghastly, green phallus. Stricken with horror, the giant and even the Slaaneshite's comrades are unable to muster the wherewithal to strike a blow. "BEHOLD! For I am reborn this day as 'Green Helmet the Exposer', this name I shall bear henceforth! Tremble at the thought of what adventures might lie before me!"

Individual acts of fortitude are not enough for the invaders to prevail, Kraust looks out upon an emptying field of battle as the day draws to a close. A day of death and slaughter has been the price for defending his domain against the Deathfist who finally turns his back upon his enemy forever, swearing never to return. What vile ends will Baron Kraust pursue now he is unchallenged!

"Kraust watched as his allies departed. There goes the ambitious necromancer, his reward was more knowledge than he earned but less than he yearned for. There goes the Eldritch Knight, his reward was a tome that would be his gateway to eternal life, and eternal servitude. There goes the Slaaneshite, it's reward was a single human female from Gretchen. This naturally puzzled the Baron and stirred his suspicion though he granted the boon freely. Only time would tell whether the decision would have repercussions. He turned from the window and looked at his long abandoned study. Time to return to his work. Time to make the living suffer!"

Big thanks go once more to Slayer Gaming for hosting us. Many, many thanks to all those who took part, it means a lot to me to see happy, smiling faces around a gaming table. Finally, thanks also to the bakery across the road!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Cracking write up mate - many more smiles this end of the internetz as I was reading it!

    So it seems Kraust has seen off/frustrated his Khornate enemy but gained the inscrutable and unsavoury attentions of a Slaaneshite.

    All I can say is that there are definitely laws against indecent exposure in the Barony of Kraust!

    1. Thanks mate, glad you enjoyed the read! Plenty of work for the Baron in the future I reckon, definitely got a hankering to find a few new stars for February though!

    2. Yeah - I think I've heard of a young and enterprising Hill Goblin Commander.

      Think his name was Foulblade or something... ; )

    3. I have ordered a Foulblade at last! Mounted and foot versions, plus an Orcleaver (didn't find any suitable personalities in the BTD stuff). It'll soon be time for game on!

  2. Hah, great campaign! Sometimes I just want to wargame but most of my friends really enjoy the role-playing element of going to taverns and stuff in-between. By the way, have you played any of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen yet? My party and I are about to wrap up Cragmaw and have been really enjoying the streamlined "flow" of 5th edition.

    1. May thanks Stephanie! Getting all those around the table to agree on the way a game should shape up and the direction it should take is the hardest part that's for certain. I have started to DM a 5th edition campaign (there are a couple of articles on the first two sessions on the blog, bit behind with those :/) but we can only get a single 4 hour session in each month at the moment. We are hoping to step up to a weekly campaign soon when schedules allow but so far the party have only made it as far as Wave Echo cave. I have read through HotDQ and am really looking forward to running it though. I couldn't agree more about the flow of 5th and how much fun it is!

    2. WARGAME!!!! Life is too short :-)

  3. Excellent stuff, I particularly like the combination of dragon fire and spider poison causing untold casualties. Sounds like it was a great scenario with some lovely miniatures - perfect.

    1. Thanks Stuart! I'm pleased the extra GM'd bits gave you a chuckle. Lots of fun had by all and as before more of a social occasion than a battle!

  4. Frawwww! This is an epic write up Paul! Especially the Dragons! I think your hired for the 3rd of Jan ;-)

    1. Cheers mate, Glad you enjoyed the report. I'm really looking forward to your bash and I'm always up for a spot of GM'ing!