Oathmark – Invasion of Talabecland
Chuck, Don, and I, under the guidance of Matt, settled in to play a fantasy miniatures game two weeks ago. I did not have time to finish the write-up last week, so here is the complete version. Using the Oathmark rules, an Imperial army (Don & Doug) faced off against a Chaos army (Chuck) – “Blood for the Blood God”…
The Elector of Talabecland had heard rumblings of a marauder raiding party descending from the mountains along his border and dispatched Graf Otto Heinrich von Stautenberg at the head of his army’s vanguard to block the pass out of the mountains. Unfortunately, the Graf’s forces are just a little late reaching the pass and only his light units, a unit of Imperial Rangers (armed with arquebus) and a unit of Archers, are able to reach some good defensive ground just outside the exit.
Fortuitously, a unit of Dwarven Axemen, members of the Khazad Guard, had been scouting the pass. While falling back in front of the horde they heard of the vanguard’s advance and agreed to join with the light units. These three units formed up in front of the pass to delay the marauders long enough for their remaining force to arrive to crush the raiding party. Though the dwarves had warned them of what was coming, the humans looked on in shock as what poured out of the pass was not a mere raiding party, but the leading force of a full invasion! Looking ahead, they saw a dozen warbands descending from the pass. They looked to the rear and, quickly doing some math, realized the wrong side would reach them first.
Lord Morgrond of Malenstorm smiled, or what was his closest approximation of a smile. The dwarves his scum had been chasing had finally stopped running and had been joined by humans. He could see the dust in the distance, which he knew meant more humans would be coming to the slaughter. He sent some marauders and his two cavalry units under Gutripper and Bonegnawer to the left to roll over the bowmen – he could almost smell their fear – and one of his maruader units and one of his chaos warriors units up against the Dwarves and Rangers – he could sense no real fear there, though. He advanced with his personal warriors, the remaining marauders, and his beastmen up the middle to meet the remainder of the human army.
The Graf, riding at the head of his Imperial Knights, groaned quietly to himself. This was not going to be the easy stomping of a few raiders he had hoped it would be. “Oh well”, he thought, “Nothing to do but kill them all”. He led his Knights and Knights Panther to the right against the enemy cavalry and pointed his infantry to the left and center. He hoped they would make it to the hills in time to save his men.
Unfortunately for Gutripper, the bowmen and the wizard Matthiaus of Talabheim managed to get in the first hits against his cavalry. As fireballs and arrows rained down from the sky, he watched as his men were cut down and roared with rage. They veered off to the right of the hill in a futile attempt to evade death. Bonegnawer laughed out loud at the destruction visited upon Gutripper’s men and spurred harder to be the one to exterminate the Imperial bowmen and gain favor with his dark prince. His horsemen rode in among the bowmen as they scrambled for cover among the rocks, cutting down half the pesky archers quickly. His men quickly dismounted to hunt down the rest.
On the left of the Imperial line, the Dwarves and Rangers proved a tougher foe. Foulgrim, the Chaos wizard, brought down a rain of fire upon the Rangers, killing many of them. He discovered, though, that had merely made him a target for the Rangers’ sharpshooters. They tracked him as he ran until he went down writhing in pain and unable to think, let alone cast another spell. The marauders threw themselves at the Dwarves, time and time again, but were unable to break them and the chaos warriors struggled to make their way through the rough terrain to close with the Rangers.
His infantry was not closing fast enough and the wave of chaos was slowly wrapping itself around the hill, so the Graf called for his Knights to follow him into battle. The charge of the knights was fearsome and they cut their way into the heart of the marauders and beastmen before them, but the numbers proved too great and they were slowly whittled down. It gave the infantry time to join the battle, though, and they began to move up in support of the Dwarves and Rangers, just in time, as the Dwarves were being slowly pushed back from the crest of the hill.
Morgrond was less happy than usual. Only on his left, where the offending bowmen had been swept aside was there any progress. His wizard was down, Gutripper rode alone now – the sole warrior remaining in the battle from his unit (something Morgrond would solve later, if Gutripper managed to survive the battle), and the Imperial Knights had cut deeply into his center. He called for the chaos warriors around him to charge forward. A unit of human swordsmen rushed forward to protect their Graf, but were no match for his warriors and he drove them back –cutting down a handful himself.
Bonegnawer smiled as he saw the pretty Knights Panther arrayed before him in the flat land below the hill and licked his lips. These little boys, fresh from their castles, would run screaming once he cut into them. He charged his men down the hill and cut into the Knights. His men killing them left and right and…
von Magersdorf, Seneschal of the Knights Panther, placed his boot on the chest of the chaos champion and drove his sword through the warrior’s chest. He looked around, surrounded only by his personal guard, the rest of his men having been cut down and driven away by the ferocious charge. He had been unhorsed himself and a fresh unit of marauders was pounding toward him on foot. He looked to the center to see the Graf’s banner still flying, but Chaos warriors, marauders, and beastmen were everywhere around it. Fireballs from the wizard Matthiaus still fell across the battlefield, dropping the enemy wherever they fell, but the infantry in the center was not holding. The only place where things seemed to be stable was the leftmost hill. He watched as the Devoted of Sigmar disappeared into the woods, then tightened his hand around his sword as he heard the battle cry of the approaching marauders.
Finally, thought Morgrond, as the human wizard fell and the accursed fireballs stopped dropping on his head. His marauders had finally pushed through the remaining Knights Panther and the last few survivors had charged the wizard. The wizard had fought desperately, killing many of them in hand-to-hand combat, but with their dying breaths the last few closed and stabbed at him. Now, Morgrond turned his attention back to killing and he drove the remaining human infantry away. He had watched from afar as the Graf rallied what was left of his Reiksguard Knights time and time again, charging back and forth as if he were possessed by a god. He was determined to put an end to him personally.
The Graf knew they were in desperate straits, but his heart was filled with hope as his infantry finally regained the hill. The Sigmar cultists had come out of the woods into the flank of the enemy, giving the Imperial Tercios a chance to get a footing and, suddenly, the marauders had broken and fled the field. The Graf had led his bodyguard against the flank of the chaos warriors as another Tercio crested the hill and those dark warriors were driven back. Then he heard a roar behind him and his heart dropped as he turned and saw the truth of his situation. The chaos lord was charging toward him at the head of his warriors, the Imperial infantry in the center was broken, and no more fireballs from his old friend Matthiaus were falling from the sky. He raised his sword for what he imagined would be the last time…
The flag of Steiner’s Stags tumbled from the hand of its bearer as a chaos warrior cut him down. The remaining Imperial forces had slowly been pushed back onto the hill in an ever-shrinking circle until, in a last, desperate attempt to breakout the final Tercio charged off the hill into a small band of chaos warriors. Though Morgrond was not pleased (well, he was never pleased), he had broken an Imperial army and he still had enough warriors on their feet to start raiding while he collected his survivors.
[For campaign purposes, the game system has a way to determine what happens to units after the battle. So, Matt did some calculations and determined the following…]
The chaos cavalry suffered heavily, with one unit being totally destroyed and the other taking heavy casualties [it would be out of a campaign for 3 battles]. However, both the champions. One of the large Marauder units also suffered heavy casualties [out for 2 battles] and the Chaos wizard, Foulgrim, was lightly wounded [sitting out one battle].
On the Imperial side, both the Imperial Reiksguard Knights and the Knights Panther were able to re-form with very few permanent casualties, but the Seneschal of the Panthers was gravely wounded [out 3 turns] and the General, Graf Otto Heinrich von Stautenberg, died with honor surrounded by a pile of enemy bodies. The flagellants and dwarves were wiped out, but only one of the three tercios, the Bogenhafen Bucks, suffered heavy casualties and were unable to reform after the retreat [out for 3 battles].
The Imperial wizard, Matthias, was captured and Lord Morgrond, who is almost as devoted to Tzeentch as he is to Khorne, will undoubtedly try to corrupt him to serve the Ruinous Powers with promises of arcane secrets. Whoever takes over the defense of Talabecland after the glorious death of General von Stautenberg may well see Matthias hurling thunderbolts at him from the other side of the battlefield in the next encounter between these armies!
Congratulations to Chuck on a horrific victory. Doug and Don were unable to hold and all begins to fall into chaos.