Saturday, 28 February 2015

Mordheim. Game 7. The enemy of my enemy is ..... well Neil!

"PARLEY!", the booming voice of the Witch Finder resonated through the ruined hall of the Great Library....."PARLEY!", its authority bringing the swirling melee to a sudden halt.

'Bob' pulled Eric to his feet and watched as Eric rested his head against the barricaded door to stop the room spinning. "Go on" Eric said in his young voice "Eh....... I mean GO ON!" he repeated mimicking the former Lord Crashhart.

"Taxi !!!!!"

"Crashhart I've heard your nothing but bluster and a thrusting cod piece, BUT even a fool like you must recognise the threat of the approaching undead. Further bloodshed will only weaken our bands further for the approaching scavengers!"

Eric took a deep breath and was thankful the door blocked anyone seeing his hands shaking so badly he could barely keep hold of his sword "So what do you propose, Lord Witchfinder?".

Both Warbands awaited Shannow's response with bated breath. . . . .

The calm before the storm?
My phone bleeped yesterday afternoon with bad news, Saturdays game would have to be cancelled. Thankfully 3 of us could answer an emergency muster and answered the Friday night Call to Arms!

Rumours abounded of a demonic scroll hidden within the tower of the Great Libarby. Three warbands arrived simultaniously to investigate; the witch finders of Neil (to destroy it), the Reikland mercenaries of Riot (to sell it) and the Vampire coven of Macca (to plunder it's secrets)........

The walls of the Great Libarby were destined to run red with blood.

We entered the "Shed of Lead" to find the following set out.

This was going to be epic!

I set my depleted warband in the South East corner. It looks like Eric...... sorry I mean the Dread Lord Crashhart is already calling a cab!

"Taxi for Crashhart!"

Neil set up his Hidden 13 in the South West corner. Don't worry about the scarey looking Halbards, Macca and I discovered they are for display purposes only as they are not on Neil's equipment list.

Macca CAMPS his warband in the Northwest corner and that will be the last we hear of him tonight!

I win initiative and bolt all my warband through the nearest door and make a bee line for the tower. All that is except Grim who struggles to keep up and Neil's Elf plugs him with an arrow, but fails to wound. This is a theme which will run through the game.

Macca's warband creep up to the edge of the nearest building, take a look at the approaching Ogre and develop Agoraphobia.

"What do you mean you want me to head out into the open?"
Neil storms forward. Running his archers onto the vantage point of the upper levels.

Second turn and Neil and I charge further into the gloom of the Great Hall.

Macca's Warband show an unusual interest in the local stonework and refuse to move. I feel the stand off between my Ogre and Macca's ENTIRE warband is a fair trade off.

Grim goes into hiding in a futile attempt to ambush the Elf.

Neil splits his warband and stations an archer to hold off Macca's ENTIRE warband. Macca pops his head above the parapit but a run of 6's from Neil sees the demise of one Ghoul by the single archer and its back into hiding for Maccas band.

I am starting to panic as I am fast approaching Neils warband and am now regretting having my Ogre stomping round the back, playing kiss chase with zombies and Elf rangers, when my beat stick should be at the front cracking skulls.

I then notice the small gap between Neils access way and the door of the tower. I figure I can use this bottle neck to stop Neil swarming me with his bigger warband and therefore taking away his biggest advantage over me at the moment. If he refuses to charge me I will just blast away into the breach and wittle him away rather then charge into the open where Neil can use the space to get ALL his warband into action That is until I can get Arnold Leggenbreaker (my Ogre) back into the action.

I will also race Spook up the tower to hopefully kill Lei Yung (Neils archer holding back the undead horde). This will hopefully entice Macca out of the shadows to harry Neils rear (ohh er misses) and set Spook up for something I have been longing to do for WEEKS!

I station Archie at the base of the stairs to direct Macca towards Neils rear rather then risk the barrage of arrows if he heads towards me.

The best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

Stage one works a dream as Neils can only get two of his Warband into melee, and despite his superior numbers I have the advantage!

I have one final go at catching the Elf with "Little and Large" before running Arnold back towards the tower. Hopefully Grim will be enough of a deterrent for the Elf.

"Come here you wee pansy. Little and Large will send you off to the Grey Havens!"
My warband pull down Neil's first wave assault AND I plug Lei Yung as planned. I am feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Then two things happen at once that slaps the "eat shit" grin from my face;

First Neil steps forward with Merrick and declaires he is armed with a blunderbuss! He then proceeds to open fire at point blank range hitting all four of the defenders of the breach automatically!

Thankfully only Dread Lord Crashhart is wounded. The lucky sod is only knocked down and he manages to crawl into the tower and barrace the door behind him to allow him to recover his senses!

Secondly I fail to notice the interrogator and flagellent hiding under the tower and they both come crashing out of the shadows to kick the shit out of poor Archie!

However they both get the fright of their (short) life when Arnold comes crashing back into the room

"I told you I'll be back!"
I decide to stick with the plan and blast away with pistols into the breach and wait for Arnold to stomp the two henchmen pooping their pants and join the fray.

At this point I am embarrased to say I turned into a bit of a "Warmahordes" player and become a real stickler for the rules, but I cannot afford another kicking, and a bad turn could not just see me out of the game but also out of the campaign!

Sometimes you just have to be a bit of a dick and hide behind the wording of a rule. My being a "jobs worth" about line of sight stifles Neil's second wave of assaults. This is particulally important as Neil decides to charge the pair which ambushed Archie into the breach rather then risk the wrath of Arnold

"once more into the breach dear friends. Once more!"
This is the moment I have been waiting for as Neil finally brings Shannow to the fore. All campaign Spook has been building his initiative which is perfect for diving charges! I decide now is the time and go all in as Spook launches himself off the tower landing on top of Shannow and hitting him with +1 to hit and +1 strength!

Here goes nothing.........

A spooks eye view
I have to be honest I go more then a little nuts when I pull off the diving charge (sorry to Neils neighbours!)!

I do not take Shannow out of action but it does seem to knock some sense into him as Neil suggests a truce to combat the approaching undead horde.

I have to admit I did feel bad for Macca but Neil has my Nuts in a vice, with Crazy Bob on the verge of being Curb stomped due to his being stunned and both Eric and 'Bob' unable to charge out of the tower to join the fray due to the press of bodies in front of the door!

Lano then pipes up with "Neil don't trust Mike, he stabbed me in the back when I offered the same deal before!" I have to admit this is true but all bets are off when it comes to Lano as it does not matter how much I like him, whenever I look at him I see a bullseye in the middle of his chest (or back!)! 

It's been TWO years and I yet to beat the smiling assassin!

Hesitantly I shake Neils hand and we turn to combat the approaching rotters.

Macca does the wise thing and offers up a Zombie as a pawn, which I stomp with Arnold and Macca takes his 25% casualties and declares!


Thats two nail biters back to back but I'm still in the game!



Here is how Neil wrote up the encounter. Enjoy

A Dangerous Liaison : Curse of the Unlife

Baladan held his lantern aloft to examine the crusted sewer entrance. He was not sure whether it was the darkness ahead or the putrid smell coming from within the tunnel that made him reluctant to enter but he did not want to go in. Behind him the rest of the Thirteen waited not that he took much notice. They rarely came near him and he was aware that they spoke about him when they thought he could not hear. They called him the Interrogator behind his back, a name that he cared not for but it suited him to keep the fools away from him so he did nothing to change their views. Let them think what they wanted and be damned with them.
Baladan continued to examine the tunnel entrance attempting to peer deeper inside. The scratched runes carved probably with bleeding fingers were exactly as the Cultist had described and if he was telling the truth lead directly to the Temple  where Shannow wanted to go. Baladan grinned at the thought the possibility of the Cultist telling the truth, when you pluck out a man’s eye with a hot dagger he seldom tells you anything but the truth he mused to himself.
Tracing his fingers along the crude runes scored Baladan crouched low to peer into the gloom. He did not like what he could not see nor did he like the smell emanating from the tunnel as the pungent smell of death and decay reminded him of days long before bringing bitter memories to the surface. He remembered flies buzzing in putrid flesh and the stark white of an exposed ribcage picked clean by ravens before he forced the thoughts from his mind.
I could tell them that it is the wrong tunnel Baladan mused to himself as he squatted by the tunnel and looking over his shoulder at the rest of the Thirteen who were resting within the scorched ruin that sheltered the tunnel whilst he sought the way ahead. His eyes fell on Shannow who stood alone and away from the group his tall Outland Hat hiding his scowling face whilst his long black leather jacket flapped around his waist being picked up by the wind. Shannow’s hands were resting easy on the two silver handled guns secured on his belt but Baladan knew that he could draw them and bring them to bear in an instant as he had seen done so many times before.
Baladan felt Shannow’s gaze upon him and looked briefly at the Hunter. Cold blue eyes , a heavy stubbled jaw and shoulder length grey hair which jutted like straw from beneath the wide brimmed hat met his gaze and Baladan felt his strength bear straight through him. Baladan looked away, too quickly for sure, feeling that Shannow was reading his mind but knowing that it should not be possible. Damn he knows my soul!
Forcing his mind to concentrate on the task at hand he looked away and back into the gloom of the tunnel and fought to control the panic rising in his gut. It’s not the dark he told himself, it’s the smell, oh God I can’t bear that smell. Images began to form in his mind, dark images of a village, his village, of riders arriving from the west whom claimed to be travelers yet armed for war. The riders stayed overnight in the Chieftain's Hall and offered gold to pay their way. The Chieftain, always a greedy man took them into his hall whilst slipping their payment into his coffers even though the rest of the village, Baladan included, locked their doors ever suspicious of armed men arriving amongst their  peasant community. 
Later that night the screams started coming from the Chieftan’s Hall. Baladan locked his wife and children into his bedroom as he stood cudgel in hand  shivering by the rough wooden door that was his home too scared to open the door but shaking every time a tortured wail came from outside the door…

… the shadow that fell over Baladan brought him back to the stinking city of Mordhiem. Resisting the instinct to react he looked up at the shadow that loomed over him and felt Shannows gaze bear down on him as weights of stone.
“We move forward then Interrogator?” Shannow asked, a statement not a question.
“Yes Hunter Shannow we could” Baladan uncomfortable under Shannow’s gaze. “But the way ahead says death to me, there are those who will try to stop our passing.” 
“We move on then Interrogator. You will lead the way.” Shannow did not move.
“Yes Lord.”
“If they come it will be an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life.”  Shannow intoned as his hands moved to his guns.
“Yes Lord.” 
Baladan cursed himself, he swore he would call no man Lord again but Shannow made him feel again the peasant he was and the peasant he had tried so hard not to be no matter how hard he tried.
Over Shannow’s shoulder he could see the Warband beginning to stir and move towards the tunnel some drawing weapons as they prepared for the journey ahead.
A deadly tunnel at his back and Shannow in front of him, Baladan sighed and turned into the tunnel knowing death was both in front of him and behind him.
The cultist had been wrong or he may have lied, as the tunnel had not led to the Temple of Sigmar as he had foretold. 
As he pushed through the dark of the tunnel and towards the dim greyed light ahead Baladan brushed the thoughts from his mind. I cut his eyes, his ears and his mouth before I sliced his inner thighs and watched the life bleed from him so if the fool lied he probably never knew what I wanted to know he mused to himself no pity in him. 
Behind him he could hear the others shuffling through the tunnel and as he reached the end of the tunnel and stepped into the moon lit-night he cast his eyes about taking in his surrounds.
Ahead of him was a large building, round and stone build, high and with open with wide windows. Hanging from hooks were the remains of the long dead, grimacing in pain and with them swords, weapons and armor long rusted from exposure to the elements. A double doorway ahead lay rotten and open inviting those to enter.
This place must be old Baladan thought to himself, places built of brick and stone had been built by his ancestors but those skills had long been lost in the dark ages of his times.
A hand fell on his shoulder.
“I have seen these places before” said Uthred, the tall blond haired Northman moving aside Baladan his plate armor curiously reassuring.  “It is, well was a warrior lodge, a place of war and combat. People would pay to see others fight, I have seen places such as this on my travels.”
Baladan looked into Uthred one remaining eye and wondered how he could see anything, simply nodded not wanting to argue with the one eyed hardy warrior.. Shannow walked passed the two warriors, with Merrick and Lei Yung their crossbows armed and in tow and headed into the shattered doors of the Amphitheater.
The Elf, silent in both movement and his thoughts brought the Warband to a halt within the ancient dueling building. Turning to the Thirteen he said “We are not alone.” before moving off into the shadows.
The stairs ahead of them lead up and to a single open door and they became aware of noises ahead of them. Baladan strained to listen ahead but Lei Yung, who was crouched next to him and breathing heavily and Merrick who was hastily loading his deadly blunderbuss between them drowned out any chance he had of hearing what was ahead. The stairs were single file and everyone knew that to move on them in would leave them dangerously exposed and open to slaughter. Shannow who was crouched alongside the overweight Priest signaled at them to advance.
Baladan, crossbow in hand moved forward and up the stairs. He was scared.
Feeling scared he was used to, but the last time he felt this scared was back at the village. He remembered standing, cudgel in hand by the door but he remembered little else after the screaming. When he had awoke he was on the dirt path outside his homestead though he knew not how he had got there. As he had roused himself he was aware of smoke from the Chieftains Hall and bodies in the street but his thoughts were to his own front door and his stomach had churned as saw that the door to hiss cottage  was open and was hanging on its hinge.
Once inside slowly and  struggling from the injuries he had suffered he had blindly moved his way into his house and stepping over the upturned table and few smashed possessions that littered the floor towards the room he had left his family in.  Inside he had found death, fly bloated, rib exposed death of his family and he had crumbled to his knees. He had nothing left, it was all gone, he was alone, but those who had taken it would pay and pay in blood. He had buried his slaughtered children and his disemboweled wife and had left he next day. He would be forever haunted by their bodies, gutted and desecrated by the warriors of Chaos.
 Shannow had found him when driven by loss and rage he had attempted to sign up to a militia band destined for the northern shores and the rest, as they say was history. 
Bringing his mind back to the present, Baladan ran up the stairs praying that the next arrow would not be his. One thing was for sure, those that had taken his loved ones would pay on with their blood and he would make sure they suffered before they met any God that they chose to serve.
Uthred was at the top of the stairs and Baladan following the heavily armored warrior was close behind. Ahead the stairs ended with a open wooden door which Uthred moved swiftly through raising his wooden shield as he did so. Arrows thudded home into the shield and Uthred, continued forward towards the unseen enemies beyond the doorway. Baladan stepped forward and risked a glance through the door. Ahead he could see Uthred was in a wide walkway which overlooked a fighting pit. Uthred was grunting with effort as he fought three humans alone, blocking with his shield whilst his war hammer lashed out at his foes. 
Their not cultists, thought Baladan taking stock of the humans. Their dress was not dissimilar to that of the Thirteen and they fought with calm efficiency of trained warriors rather than the wild frenzy of a cultist. Together they were working Uthred as a group, covering each other and wearing the armored warrior down. One Human in particular stood out. Clad in black tight clothing and with a black mask covering his eyes he appeared to be some sort of bandit leader though the fighting skills of him and his men dismissed any notion of banditry as they fought as veteran campaigners rather than low life opportunists.
 Baladan loosed his crossbow at the black clad leader hoping to shoot him whilst he was unprepared but as he released his trigger he was forcefully jolted by Marrick who pushed passed him shouting “Move! Move! Move!” and wedging him against the door frame causing his bolt to fly wild and high slicing the air above the Bandit Leaders head. Ahead Uthred screamed and dropped as the Bandit Leader’s mace smashed into his head with only his helmet saving him as he fell stunned to the floor. 
Merrick stepped past Baladan and through the doorway smiling at the bandits his eyes as cold as ice.
“Knock knock…” he said to the group who were poised over the fallen Uthred and stunned with Merrick’s arrival as they registered the giant blunderbuss in his hand. Merrick pulled the trigger and the walkway was filled with noise, flame and smoke as the blunderbuss delivered its deadly payload. The bandits, tightly grouped as over Uthred were thrown like ragdolls across the walkway. Merrick pulled his swords and ran forward to cover the fallen Uthred behind him Shannow and Red Ryak followed as well as the rest of the Thirteen. The bandits were not alone and others were climbing from the fighting pit where they had been looting before Uthred’s unexpected arrival. 
Shannow, guns drawn was putting shot after shot into the advancing bandits.
“Do I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? Am I not grieved by those that rise up against thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred. I count them mine enemies.
The battle became a tight affair as the walkway let only three to four warriors fight in a line at any one place and the chaotic melee made targeting the enemy with missile fire difficult at best. The Thirteen that had crashed into the Bandits had used their surprise well to drive over the falling Uthred and present a wall of spears and shields tightly locked against their foes however the Bandits armed with curved and wicked scimitars in both hands had recovered and knowing that spearman will never win against swordsmen were fighting with increasing effectiveness against the shield wall of the Thirteen. Baladan behind the shield wall and rapidly reloading his crossbow peered ahead but could see nothing of the Bandit Leader who had disappeared in the smoke of Merrick’s blunderbuss shot.
Shannow also stood behind the shield wall pushing a man here and shouting at a man there to organize the shield wall of the Thirteen. So intent was he in doing so he did not see the the bandit who has high above the walkway on a balcony overlooking the battle below. Baladan seeing the bandit shouted word to Shannow but it was too late. The bandit, either brave to a point of recklessness or possibly insane drew his swords and leapt from the balcony high above arms spread wide as if diving into the sea.  Tumbling as he fell he rolled off the wall and at great speed landed on Shannow who crumpled to the floor, dazed and unarmed as his guns flew from his hands. Recovering his senses Baladan pulled his torture dagger and began to hack at the back of the acrobatic bandit driving him away from the fallen Shannow.
Uthred was back on his feet and could be heard screaming Northern insults and he fought in the shield wall. Behind him Culwych the priest had joined the battle laying around him with his giant hammer and shouting Psalms of Sigmar adding yet more noise to the din battle.
Suddenly a voice rang out from behind the bandits.
The fight continued as men unsure of the change of events continued to attack each other.
Again “PARLEY!”. This time the owner of the voice pushed through the bandits and faced the Thirteen. It was the black masked Bandit Leader and he held his weapons by his side to show he meant no harm. Behind him the other bandits closed in.
Shannow had recovered his senses and was back on his feet whilst the bandit acrobat was still on the floor where Baladan held a wicked dagger to his throat.
Shannow pushed through the shield wall and faced the Bandit Leader.
“Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Speak your words of Parley.”
The Bandit Leader, though young appeared confident in himself and smiled wryly at Shannow.
“A man of the book huh? Never taken to it myself though I have no quarrel with those that do. Would you mind awfully if you let go of my friend there, I get quite upset when anyone puts a dagger to my friends throat.”
Shannow motioned to Baladan who released the tumbler and pushed him through the shield wall and back to his friends.
“He is free, now speak your Parley Bandit. I have no time for games.”
“Nor I, though I do feel myself aggrieved in this situation. Myself and my friends here were minding our own business, merely looking for items of historic interest when your men attacked us and we merely defended ourselves. However, as we are peaceful men we forgive you for your unprovoked attack and in offer of Parely call for peace and in return will not bar your path through this place.”
Shannow grinned.
“For Historians, you appear to be light on scientific equipment and ill dressed for the role but I accept your Parley for now.”
The Bandit Leader smiled “That is good for our quarrel is for another day. Today we have more pressing matters.” He motioned Shannow towards a nearby window and pointed outside towards some nearby ruins. 
Shambling figures could be seen moving towards the Amphitheater, rotten corpses bloated and grotesque but still walking and many in number. Behind them strode a tall pale human who though dressed in heavy armor moved gracefully and who resonated fear itself.  
“Servants of the Unlife..” Shannow cursed and spat on the ground to ward away evil.
“Indeed. We have encountered them before and if we continue to fight then we in turn will become on of his creations.”
“Let us move on and fight another day?”
“Yes. Though I head to the Temple of Sigmar and as long as you do not stand in my path I will have no quarrel with you.”
“I will bear that in mind though I hear that many artifacts of historic significance are to be found there.” smiled the Bandit Leader.
“We shall have peace if you desire but do not touch the Temple, it is for God and God alone and I will bring vengeance those who defile his home.”
“We shall see!” the Bandit Leader finished and without another word walked away his Warband following in his wake

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