Skink City

I have been offline for nearly a couple of weeks now, but I have not been idle. I have taken to setting myself a ‘Christmas Project’ at the end of every year, where I have the luxury of just locking myself away with a pile of DVD box sets (since replaced by Netflix) and cracking on with something I would not ordinarily have time to do. In the past this has been polishing off a novel or painting an entire army – things like that. This year, I set myself the goal of, well, catching up on my Age of Sigmar painting. As it happened, this involved on making a (very) decent start on three armies…

There is still some basing and photographs to get done (I managed to crack through the best part of 200-odd miniatures!), so expect a few updates over the next few days, but I did manage to get the snaps of this little lot – the Skink portion of my new Seraphon army.

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That is a total of sixty Skinks, plus characters, plus special units, plus Kroxigors!

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The Skinks themselves follow the same scheme as the Saurus Warriors I did as a trial earlier this month, so everything fits together. All the Skinks came ready-assembled via various eBay auctions so it was more a case of collating them into themed units rather than any grand design. I ended up with two units of twenty javelin throwers, one unit of ten blowpipes, and one unit of ten sword-wielding Skinks – a good way of doing things, or else I am not sure those sword guys would ever have got done (they are really not the optimum choice of armament, as far as I can see).

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One unit of Chameleon Skinks had to be done as well – but only one. When used in number, these guys are open to some serious abuse so you just want them present as flavouring rather than a game changer. They can be removed from the table at any time (even when in combat) and then replaced anywhere on the table in the next turn – that can cause some serious issues in objective-based Battleplans. So, if you have any of these guys yourself, be nice with them.

I went for a nice urban-camo scheme for them, using various greys built up to Fenrisian Grey. The lizard strapped to their heads (whom I started calling Steve while painting them – took me a while to remember it was because that was the name of the gecko in Madagascar 2…) are simply Ushabti Bone followed by Carroburg Crimson.

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Got to have the flying squad when doing Skinks, of course! I went with Terradons rather than Ripperdacgyls principally because I prefer the dinosaur look, and went for a predominantly purple theme, to match what I will be doing with the really big monsters.

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The body starts off with Xerxes Purple and a Druchii Violet wash, building up to Genestealer Purple (which initially seemed a bit too bright but it works well enough). The wings started as Daemonette Purple and were drybrushed with progressively lighter shades of grey, each starting closer to the trailing edge to get the gradiating look.

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You can have some fun with the posing of these guys. This one has the Terradon tucking in its right wing as it banks into a dive – the Skink on top is leaning into the turn and really looks as though it is taking advantage of the Terradon’s speed to deliver a nasty javelin attack.

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Of course, you cannot have Skinks without Kroxigors, and these three chaps came up really nicely. They are all Finecast, but there were absolutely no issues in their construction and they are much nicer pieces than the metal versions.

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You cannot trust a Skink to just get on with things, so they needed some leadership too. This is a Skink Starpriest flanked by two regular Priests – one with a relic, the other with a featerhed cloak that will allow him to zip about the battlefield (meaning he will probably get into trouble sooner than his comrades!).

I like the Starpriest a lot. This is a plastic kit, and a very characterful one. However, I like the next model a lot more…

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The Skink Starseer. Despite being a relatively minor character among the Seraphon (though he is about as trusted as a Skink gets), this may well be my favourite model in the whole army thus far. It is just so well posed, sitting cross-legged on his floating chair while searching for answers from the future through his magical globe. Great stuff.

This little lot was by no means the only Seraphon I managed to get done, however, and the next post will feature the Saurus Warrior contingent as well as some of the ultimate leadership.

Battle Report – Storm the Walls

We are continuing the campaign within the Realm of Metal and, in this battle, we have a chance to pull out the Dreadhold again for  a proper castle assault!

 

The Story So Far

The forces of Sigmar have had an easy time in the Realm of Metal thus far, with just a minor skirmish outside the Silverway (the main Realmgate to their home in Azyr). They have an interest in finding the Duardin, whose ruins they have been scouting through but, as yet, there is no sign of the dwarf-folk. Lord-Celestant Eldroc continued this search, while Lord-Celestant Bladestorm led his warriors further afield, and they soon came across a mighty fortress, clearly a focal point for Chaos in the area – take the fortress, and future victories would be easy.

However, Tzeentch does not have stupid followers and the Chaos Lord of this territory, the sorcerer Ephryx, Ninth Disciple of Tzeentch himself, had been watching the Stormcasts since they first set foot in the Realm of Metal. And he had a plan…

If the Stormcasts could be tempted closer to the Eldritch Fortress that Ephyrx called home, he could use his powerful magicks to harness their power, trapping their souls within the walls of his castle (actually, the copper skulls that bedecked it). As beings of light and magic, the Stormcasts could be used as arcane fuel to make him the pre-eminent sorcerer of the age, allowing him to corrupt every Realmgate in the entire Realm so they all pointed to Tzeentch’s own kingdom in the Realm of Chaos – thus denying the Realm of Metal to mortals.

This is why the Stormcasts had not met a great deal of opposition so far, and as they marched towards the Eldritch Fortress, Ephryx prepared to spring his trap…

 

The Forces

We are keeping Tzeentch daemons out of this battle, partly because they will give us more variety later on in this campaign but mostly because we have not got the models ready yet!

Bleak Horde
Chaos Sorcerer of Tzeentch (Ephryx)
Chaos Lord on Manticore (Lord Maerac)
Chaos Knights x 10 (two units of 5)
Chaos Warriors x 36 (three units of 12)
Skull Keep and 6 Wall Sections

This is a similar force the Bleak Horde used in Sudden Assault, but the Chaos Sorcerer is Ephryx himself, he is joined by an ally (or as close as it gets among Tzeentch-worshippers)known as Lord Maerac, mounted on a Manticore and, of course, they effectively have a castle protecting them!

 

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant Bladestorm
Lord-Castellant
Gryph-hound
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Retributors x 10
Judicators x 10

The Stormcasts also have a similar force to that used in Sudden Assault, with a solid block of Liberators and Judicators making up their core. However, appropriate to their target, the Stormcasts have brought along two units of Retributors, whose hammers will cause a problem for Chaos Warrior and fortress wall alike…

The aim of the battle is fairly simple – three objective markers are placed within the fortress, and whoever holds the most after six turns will gain victory. The Stormcasts have the right force to achieve this, but the clock will be as big an enemy to them as the Bleak Horde itself.

 

Deployment

While there is nothing in the rules to stop them, we had a chat a while ago about not wanting to put units like horses on walls (though we are allowing dogs, as they can be quite good wall-climbers). This is more of an aesthetic thing than anything else – cavalry on the battlements just looks odd. So, the Chaos Knights were deployed just outside the Eldritch Fortress, Chaos Warriors lined the battlements, Ephryx took his place within the Skull Keep and Lord Maerac was in the courtyard, ready to hop over the walls to assault the Stormcasts.

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The Stormcasts had a very straightforward deployment themselves. The Liberators took the flanks, where they expected to run into Chaos Knights, while the Retributors (supported by missile fire from the Judicators) would run straight down the centre and take the Skull Keep.

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We had already worked out that if the Chaos Warriors completely lined the battlements of the walls, assaulting them with anything less than a monster (which the Stormcasts had not brought with them) would be impossible, because of the range of most melee weapons. To take a wall, sufficient Chaos Warriors would need to be cleared from the battlements for attackers to actually clamber up and join them, a tough proposition. Entry into the Eldritch Fortress would probably be easiest via the Skull Keep.

 

Battle Round One

As this battle was taking place in the Realm of Metal, we had to see what the Alchemist’s Moon was up to, and it started half full – granting a +1 bonus to spellcasting, another boon to the Bleak Horde.

Ephryx promptly took advantage of this, casting Mystic Shield upon Lord Maerac as he spurred his Manticore forward, flying over the walls and positioning himself behind the Chaos Knights on the left flank.

The Tzeentch sorcerer lord also invoked the power of the Skull Keep to create a Vorpal Barrier that stopped any attacks going in or out. While this would have little effect this early in the battle, the Stormcasts immediately saw that if this happened during the assault, it could very effectively block their attack, perhaps delaying them fatally.

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The Chaos Knights on both sides of the battlefield advanced, then accelerated into a charge to crash into Liberator units. The knights armed with glaives hit the hammer-armed Liberators hard, immediately trampling two into the hard metal ground, but on the other flank, the sword-armed Liberators absorbed the charge and then almost wiped their Chaos Knights out completely!

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The Judicators sighted Ephyrx in his tower, but the Vorpal Barrier kept him safe from their skybolts, Instead, they advanced behind the Retributors who had started to make their run to the Eldritch Fortress.

 

Battle Round Two

The moon turned gibbous, doubling the range of Ephyrx’s spells. He took advantage of this to hurl a Bolt of Change at the Judicators but managed to only singe one of them. Invoking the power of the Skull Keep once more, Ephyrx this time managed to cause its gargoyles to spew boiling blood – again, this was a little early in the battle to have an effect, but it caused nearby Chaos Warriors to start shuffling away from it.

Spitefully, Ephyrx threw another bolt of magic, this time from his Runestaff at the Retributors, but their heavy armour absorbed the hit and it did nothing to slow down their advance.

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Lord Maerac surged forward on his Manticore but the Chaos Knights got in the way of his charge and he had little effect on the battle between them and the Liberators. The Liberators did their best to ignore the huge beast that was very close now, and concentrated on the Chaos Knights, felling all but one.

The last Chaos Knight on the opposite flank was riddled with bolts from the crossbow-armed Judicators, freeing up every Stormcast nearby to close in on the fortress walls ahead, allowing them to keep pace with the Retributors who were now closing the distance to the Skull Keep rapidly.

 

Battle Round Three

The moon continued to wax and now started to grant double mortal wounds from spells. Ephryx saw his chance and hurled a Bolt of Change at the Judicators but rushed his casting and tripped over the words – the spell failed. He had more luck with the Skull Keep itself, activating the Ruby Rays of Death, which promptly immolated an oncoming Retributor.

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Lord Maerac saw the threat to the fortress and pulled back from the Liberators he had been hunting for sport to try to intercept the Retributors (a brave move, considering how large their hammers were!). Charging in, he sent one Retributor back to Sigmar but sustained four wounds in the process. His Manticore was starting to limp…

Behind him, the last surviving Chaos Knight was finally overwhelmed by Liberators and now they too could continue their advance on the Eldritch Fortress.

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Diverting from their advance ever so slightly, one unit of Retributors repositioned themselves to attack Lord Maerac and the raw power of their hammers smashed his Manticore apart and flung the Tzeentch worshipper across the battlefield (out of the fight, but don’t worry, he will recover in time for a future battle!).

The Judicators finally managed to get a bead on Ephyrx and wounded him, forcing the sorcerer to retreat further into the Skull Keep, but it was too late – the other unit of Retributors finally charged the Skull Keep and battered down its doors. Ephyrx fell quickly to a hammer, joined by a handful of his Chaos Warriors. The Retributors looked for the sorcerer’s body to make sure he was dead, but it had already disappeared (Ephyrx has a plan, remember!).

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Battle Round Four

The moon started to wane, granting a +1 bonus to all saving rolls – again, this would greatly benefit the Bleak Horde who were already taking advantage of their fortress.

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The Judicators trained their arrow fire on the Chaos Warriors holding the left wall – they started to fall, but it was clear this was going to be a slow process and time was pressing. However, by now, both units of Retributors had charged the Skull Keep and, joined by the Lord-Castellant, they were starting to really hit their stride. The Chaos Warriors inside managed to kill two of the Retributors but suffered far, far worse. The Bleak Horde was now holding onto the Skull Keep by its finger tips.

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To buy more time, the Chaos Warriors on the right wall leapt down to sally forth, charging the Retributors in the side to try to relieve the pressure on the Skull Keep. It was a brave effort by no Retributors fell to their attacks.

 

Battle Round Five

The moon started to wax again, granting a +1 bonus to all hit rolls – finally, this was something the Stormcasts could possibly take advantage of.

Desperate now, the Chaos Warriors of the Bleak Horde repositioned themselves into a defensive posture to delay the Stormcasts as much as they could. The Chaos Warriors who had sallied out retreated back onto their wall while those on the Skull Keep evacuated the building to fill in the gaps in the opposite wall.

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This opened up the way for the Retributors and Lord-Castellant who, with a ragged cheer, claimed the Skull Keep in the name of Sigmar! They now had one of the fortress objectives in their hands and it looked like they would not be able to grab them all – but could they get just one more and claim a minor victory?

They launched a new assault on the left wall, but the Chaos Warriors there proved extremely resilient.

 

Battle Round Six

As the Alchemist’s Moon drifted across the sky, it became quarter full, granting a +1 bonus to all wound rolls. Again, it seemed as though it now favoured Sigmar’s warriors.

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The Lord-Celestant moved into the Skull Keep to hold it, but the battle now was all about the left wall and the objective there that was so tantalisingly close – and still in the hands of the Bleak Horde.

The Lord-Castellant led the Retributors onto the ramparts to do battle with the remaining Chaos Warriors while Liberators at the foot of the wall finally started their assault, now able to get a foot hold due to Chaos Warrior casualties caused by the Judicators.

Once again, the hammers of the Retributors made their mark and the Chaos Warriors reeled from the attack, those not instantly killed driven away from the objective.

Right at the end, the Chaos Warriors on the right wall made a half-hearted attempt to drive the Lord-Celestant out of the Skull Keep but did not manage to give him so much as a scratch.

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While fighting would continue, the Stormcasts had captured this part of the Eldritch Fortress in the name of Sigmar! Surely, the Bleak Horde would now be on the run?

 

Conclusion

This was, as they say, a good ‘un. A desperate race across open ground while skirmishing with knights and Manticores, a vicious assault on a castle, and then we finished with a big fight atop the walls – it does not really get any better than that!

Taking an entire castle (all three objectives) in six turns is clearly a tall order, and the Stormcasts only managed to grab a second right at the end. When playing this Battleplan (or any involving a ‘proper’ castle, it is worth remembering that because of the height of the walls, defenders can very effectively stop anyone assaulting them simply by lining up at their edge. The only way through them is from an adjacent section you have already captured, creating hole with missile and spell fire, or by using big models that can physically reach them.

Which is as it should be – taking a castle should never be easy!

It is also worth pointing out that no special rules are needed to fortify walls in this way, this is simply an incidental thing from the core Age of Sigmar rules. And it works!

Retributors obviously make prime assault troops and while the Bleak Horde was able to fell a couple coming in (and, with 4″ moves, the enemies of the Retributors have all the time in the world to do this), as soon as the Stormcasts got in, the result became a foregone conclusion – there were just too many surviving Retributors to hold back. The question instead became one of whether the Retributors could do their job in time, and the Bleak Horde certainly made that very hard for them.

I would give this Battleplan a full A+, and it certainly justified the cost and effort of putting together a Chaos Dreadhold. Nothing beats a good castle assault scenario and would recommend this to anyone!

 

The Story Continues…

So, is it all going the way of the Stormcasts now? Of course not – Ephyrx is a follower of Tzeentch and he always has multiple plans in action (at least nine of them).

Though badly injured in his clash with the Retributors in the Skull Keep, he was quick enough to use the secret and arcane passageways throughout the Eldritch Fortress to retreat and, seeing his home teetering on the edge of being taken, enacted his next plan.

As Lord-Celestant Bladestorm directed his forces further into the fortress, his eye was caught by a powerful beacon of shining divine light. Deep within the stronghold, there lay an artefact of immeasurable power, one that clearly should not be in the hands of the Bleak Horde.

Just as he signalled another advance, Ephyrx unleashed another powerful spell, one that blasted a wave of magical energy outwards, hurling Stormcasts from the battlements. Realising that he needed more Eternals to match this power, Lord-Celestant Bladestorm returned to Azyr to tell the God-King his news.

Sigmar’s own hammer, Ghal-Maraz, had been seen.

The warrior chambers of the Stormcasts were mobilised and a massive force was deployed to take the Eldritch Fortress once and for all and return Ghal-Maraz to its rightful owner.

However, when they returned to Chamon, the Eldritch Fortress was… gone.

Some powerful magic of Ephyrx had moved the entire fortress, and Ghal-Maraz with it, elsewhere. The Stormcasts now were charged with relocating the fortress and finally returning Ghal-Maraz back to Sigmar.

And for that, we will need to start the second Age of Sigmar hardback…

 

Battle Report – Sudden Assault

So, it is all happening within the Realm of Life! The Stormcast Eternals have faced a big set back and lost one of their heroes. However, while the Realm of Life campaign continues within the next hardback (The Quest for Ghal-Maraz), the first Age of Sigmar hardback has just two battles left and we figured it might be a good thing if we finished the entire book before Christmas. So, before continuing with happenings in the Realm of Life, we are going to take a quick trip to Chamon, the Realm of Metal. And, as it turns out, big things are going to be occuring there as well…

 

The Story So Far

As in the Realm of Fire, Sigmar had sent a storm to launch a small force of Eternals into the Realm of Metal. Their first task was to capture the Silverway, a Realmgate that led back to their home in Azyr, the Realm of Heavens. Without the Silverway, more Stormcasts could not be sent to the Realm of Metal and the beachhead could easily be overturned by Chaos. So, capturing the Silverway was paramount, just as capturing the Gate of Azyr was in the Realm of Fire.

However, when the Stormcasts arrived, there was… nothing. No opposition at all. The Silverway had been found (after a bit of searching) in the ruins of a Duradin settlement, but there had been no fighting, much to the chagrin of Lord-Celestant Eldroc who was, frankly, up for a bit of smiting Chaos.

He did not have too much longer to wait, however, as a roiling wave of blue fire approached the Stormcasts, and within was the first wave of the Bleak Horde, powerful Chaos Warriors dedicated to Tzeentch.

 

The Forces

As an introduction to the Realm of Metal, this is quite a small battle, just enough to get everyone used to the forces involved and the new Time of War rules.

 

The Bleak Horde
Chaos Sorcerer of Tzeentch on Disc of Tzeentch
Chaos Knights x 10 (two units of 5)
Chaos Warriors x 36 (three units of 12)

For the Chaos Sorcerer, we will be using a Warscroll of our own making (which can be downloaded here). The Chaos Warriors are much the same as those we messed around with for the Rotbringers in the Realm of Life, but the Chaos Knights will add some fast-moving and heavy hitting power to the Bleak Horde.

 

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Castellant
Gryph-hound
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Judicators x 10

In comparison to the kind of force the Stormcasts normally field, they actually have quite a few models in this battle. However, there is little ‘special’ here, making this a very ‘average’ force – no Paladins or Prosecutors, just solid Liberators and Judicators, commanded by a Lord-Castellant.

On the face of it, this is a straight fight to the death, but there are some complications. First off, the Stormcasts have the possibility of bringing reinforcements in through the Silverway and the Bleak Horde may have their forces starting a little scattered, due to the nature of the magical fire that brought them in. However, the Tzeentch Sorcerer has access to a Maelstrom spell that will seriously degrade the Judicators’ missile fire.

In addition, we have new Time of War rules, to cover battles in the Realm of Metal. These will be applied to all our fights in this Realm, and are:

  • When Priests dish out wounds, they can choose to effectively reverse their opponent’s saving roll (so, heavy armour becomes light and vice versa).
  • Wizards have access to the Transmutation of Lead spell, which slows enemy units down and makes them easier to hit.
  • The Alchemist’s Moon hangs very close in the sky and has powerful effects on the battlefield – you will see this happening every turn in the forthcoming battles…

 

Deployment

The Stormcasts formed a solid line of Liberators, backed up by the Lord-Castellant and Judicators as a secondary line. The aim was to hold the oncoming Chaos Warriors and, hopefully, do something about the nasty Chaos Knights before they did too much damage. If that could be achieved, victory should be theirs.

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The Bleak Horde had a more random deployment, with the wave of fire depositing units at random distances away from the Stormcasts. As it happened, this ended up not being too random and the Bleak Horde was able to form a relatively decent line, with both units of Chaos Knights stacked up on one flank where they could combine their hitting power.

 

Battle Round One

The Alchemist’s Moon started off half full, which gave a +1 bonus to casting rolls – this obviously favoured the Bleak Horde entirely. The Tzeentch sorcerer took advantage of this to summon a maelstrom that protected his entire force from missile fire (+2 bonus to saves against shooting weapons), as the Bleak Horde adopted a slow, steady advance, clearly in no hurry to engage the invaders.

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The Judicators opened up with their skybolts which, predictably, bounced off the magically-enhanced armour of the Chaos Knights, while the Lord-Castellant shone his lantern upon the Liberators holding the centre, bolstering their defences. However, the entire Stormcast line held its nerve and did not advanced, content to allow the Bleak Horde to come to them.

 

Battle Round Two

The moon transitioned to gibbous, which doubled the range of all spells for this round, and the Tzeentch sorcerer was able to launch a Bolt of Change at the crossbow-armed Judicators in the centre, though it did minimal damage. Meanwhile, the Chaos Knights raced ahead to engage the Stomcasts before them, with the leading unit launching a charge at the twin sword-armed Liberators. Two Liberators fell to this attack, claiming one Chaos Knight in return.

Behind them, the rest of the Bleak Horde picked up their pace and ran to battle.

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Across the entire line, the Stormcasts judged the time to be right, and every Liberator not yet fighting charged the enemy ahead of them. Heavily armoured warrior met heavily armoured warrior across the entire battlefield, and the air rang with the sound of metal on metal!

The Lord-Castellant shone his lantern on the Liberators in the centre again, while using the Battleplan’s Command Ability to re-roll all of his own missed attacks. Suitably buoyed by his faith in Sigmar, he charged the Chaos Knights alongside his Gryph-hound.

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On the opposite flank, the twin hammer-armed Liberators fared badly against a unit of Chaos Warriors, leaving only one survivor but, everywhere else, the Stormcasts held and Chaos Warriors began to die. Slowly, but progress was being made.

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Battle Round Three

This round started with a full moon, which doubled all mortal wounds caused by spells. The Stormcasts knew the Tzeentch sorcerer should be a primary target but, mounted on his disc, he was proving elusive.

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While the last Chaos Knight of the first wave was proving to be a tough warrior, shrugging of blade and skybolt alike, the Lord-Castellant could see his glaive-armed comrades readying themselves for a charge that could sweep the Stormcasts off the right flank completely. With a quick command, he sent his Gryph-hound racing after them. The brave hound nipped at the legs of one of the horses, then bounded away out of reach of most of their weapons (the Gryph-hound remained within 3″ of one of them, thus forcing the Chaos Knights to deal with him and denying them a charge in their turn).

By this stage, the entire battle line had turned into a grind, with powerful weapons being swung but resilient armour fending the worst of it off. A few more Chaos Warriors fell but not quickly enough for the liking of the Lord-Castellant. However, just one Liberator fell, returning to Sigmar in a blaze of lightning!

A powerful Bolt of Change targeted the Judicators again and, this time, three fell to its blast though there were no undesirable after effects. On the left flank, the last of the twin hammer Liberators fell, while the Gryph-hound continued to plague the Chaos Knights. They started to concentrate their attention on the mutt and, after being wounded, the Gryph-hound retreated, only to have its escape path blocked by Chaos Warriors.

 

Battle Round Four

The Alchemist’s Moon waned quickly and became a new moon for this round, granting a +1 bonus to saving rolls for everyone on the battlefield.

The Liberators in the centre of the battlefield had been tangling with a large block of Chaos Warriors and had been doing a good job of holding the line. Seeing this, the Tzeentch sorcerer targeted them with a Bolt of Change and this time, when two fell, one was replaced by a Chaos Spawn! Seeing their enemies distracted, the Chaos Warriors who had been engaged with them fled, pulling back to reform their line.

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Meanwhile, the last Chaos Knight of the first wave finally fell just as his comrades, who had been plagued by the Gryph-hound, charged into battle.

In response, the Lord-Castellant turned the light of his lantern upon himself so, combined with the power of the New Moon and his Command Ability, he was now on a 1+ save and re-rolling his own attacks.

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While Chaos Warriors tried to pen the Gryph-hound in, the Tzeentch sorcerer lent his own attacks to finishing off the Liberators in the centre, aided by another group of Chaos Warriors. He was slightly wounded by the LIberators when one of them turned their attention on him, but they had bigger problems with the Chaos Warriors and, now, a Chaos Spawn.

 

Battle Round Five

The moon turned to a crescent, granting everyone a +1 bonus to hit.

The Liberators in the centre finally fell, having too much pressure put upon them, though two Chaos Knights were slain by the Lord-Castellant’s halberd.

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The Gryph-hound saw its chance to swing the battle back into the favour of the Stormcasts, and it raced towards the sorcerer. However, he nimbly dodged its attacks, then smiled as it failed to get far with its traditional hit and run strategy.

Suitably annoyed by the hound that had been dogging them (sorry) for the entire battle, the Bleak Horde surrounded the mutt so it could not get away and then ruthlessly killed it.

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A further Bolt of Change from the sorcerer ravaged the remaining Judicators and brought another Chaos Spawn into existence, this time right on the Stormcasts by now almost non-existent line.

 

Battle Round Six

The moon became a quarter full, granting everyone a +1 bonus to wound rolls, but it was too late for the Stormcasts.

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With little opposition remaining, the Chaos Warriors advanced towards the Lord-Castellant and the Greatblade-armed Liberator who stood by him, while the Tzeentch sorcerer floated away to a safer distance. Another Bolt of Change aimed at the Lord-Castellant took him down to a single wound and both he and the Liberator were felled by the charge of the Chaos Warriors. With no answer to this, the few remaining Stormcasts sounded the retreat. The Bleak Horde had won the day.

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Incidentally, the last to hear the call for retreat were two Liberators far, far out on the left flank, who had been fighting their own private battle with a unit of Chaos Warriors for the entire time! Both units had steadily ground away against one another and both were now shadows of their former fighting selves.

Still, it had been a valiant battle for them!

 

Conclusion

The best word to describe that battle was ‘grind’. Both forces were very heavily armoured and when they met, there was a lot of fighting but (initially at least) not too many casualties. The forces were quite well-matched, and it was down to the special abilities to break the grind.

In the end, the Chaos Knights (perhaps predictably) took too many Stormcasts too long to defeat (though the Gryph-hound may well be man of the match, due to him delaying the charge of the second Chaos Knight unit!), and the magic of the Tzeentch sorcerer swung the balance towards the Bleak Horde. The Bolt of Change started mild enough, but once it got going, casualties not only started mounting but Chaos Spawn started appearing and, by that time, the Stormcasts had nothing to answer them with.

A good, solid Battleplan though and one which showcased the ‘standard’ troops of both the Stormcasts and the Bleak Horde well, and it introduced us to the new Time of War rules fore the realm without having to worry about too many other complications.

From here on, things start getting a bit weirder in the Realm of Metal!

 

The Story Continues…

Well the Silverway remains in the hands of the Stormcasts and they have had their first clash with the Tzeentch-worshipping Bleak Horde. They can now continue to spread throughout the Realm of Metal, but why was the Silverway undefended? Why was the initial attack of the Bleak Horde so weak? Why does it seem like the Chaos forces in this Realm are practically welcoming the Stormcasts into their territory?

All these questions will be answered soon as, in the next battle, we will be having a siege!

 

Battle Report – Pre-emptive Strike

After a quick dip into the battles within the Realm of Metal, we return to a massive fight in the Realm of Life. The Stormcasts have captured the Gates of Dawn but Nurgle has a nasty trick up his sleeve…

 

The Story So Far

The last battle in the Realm of Life saw the Stormcasts sweep through a weak Rotbringers line to seize control of the Gates of Dawn, an important Realmgate in Sigmar’s war against Chaos as it provided a direct link between the Realm of Life and the Realm of Fire. However, what the Stormcasts did not know was that the Gates of Dawn had been corrupted long ago and now only led to one place – Nurgle’s own garden within the Realm of Chaos. Just as the Stormcasts started to create a perimeter around the Gates of Dawn, lest the Rotbringers rally and try to retake it, the Realmgate shuddered and out strode Bolathrax, a massive Great Unclean One, at the head of a horde of Nurgle daemons.

To make things worse, Vermalanx, a Verminlord Corruptor, had been watching events unfold within the Realm of Life and he too was seeking the Lady of Life, Alarielle. He took advantage of Nurgle’s horde to launch his own attack against the Stormcast, leading a chittering mass of Pestilens Skaven.

Clearly, the Stormcasts now have a serious battle on their hands. Perhaps a last ditch reinforcement from the Sylvaneth will save them?

 

The Forces

This is quite a sizeable battle, with four armies (though they are effectively allied into two forces). It may be worth mentioning that, in the fiction, Bolathrax called upon the Rotguard, a unit of seven more Great Unclean Ones! However, I am not going to buy that many Great Unclean Ones let alone paint them!

 

Nurgle Daemons
Bolathrax – Great Unclean One (double wounds)
Plaguebearers x 16 (two units of 8, with Icon Bearer and Sonorous Tocsin)
Nurglings x 9
Plague Drones x 6

Pestilens
Vermalanx – Verminlord Corruptor
Plague Priest
Plague Monks x 40 (two units of 20)
Plague Censer Bearers x 5
Plagueclaw Catapult

So, the forces of Nurgle and the Horned Rat combined have both the numbers (with the Plaguebearers and Plague Monks) and the hard-hitting power units (greater daemons and artillery). This is a very powerful force. I should point out that we were using the Forge World model for the Great Unclean One because, alongside the likes of the new Bloodthirster, the ‘proper’ Finecast model looks a bit… weedy. To give the model its proper weight, we have doubled both its Wounds characteristic and the number of Wounds it needs to suffer before its abilities start degrading.

The Gates of Dawn, being a Realmgate, should have random effects every turn. However, as they are well and truly under Nurgle’s control, we decided the Rotbringers player would get the choice of whether to activate those random effects at the start of every turn. Predictably, he kept hitting the ‘activate’ button…

 

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Celestant Gardus
Lord-Relictor
Lord-Castellant
Gryph-hound
Knight-Azyros
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Protectors x 5
Judicators x 10
Prosecutors x 6 (armed with Javelins and a Trident)

Sylvaneth
Tree Lord Ancient
The Lady of Vines – Branchwraith
Tree Lords x 2
Dryads x 32 (two units of 16)

Even with the Dryads (who won’t turn up until later in the battle), the Stormcasts are heavily outnumbered. However, they have a few things in their favour. First, the Paladins have arrived in force for this battle, and ten Paladins are always going to command respect. The Tree Lords lend more heavyweight fighting power to the force, and while the Dryads will likely fall like wheat, the Branchwraith will be able to keep a steady flow of them returning to the battle – she won’t be able to keep pace with the summoning of Bolathrax (who not only gets spells but can bring more daemonic forces through the Gates of Dawn as his Command Ability for this Battleplan), but it might just be enough to take the strain off the Stormcasts.

The aim of the Stormcasts is to destroy the Gates of Dawn – with Nurgle’s corruption, the Realmgate is irrevocably lost. However, not all the Stormcasts’ forces start on the battlefield and they are going to have a tough time trying to plough through Skaven and Nurgle daemons to reach their goal.

The Gates of Dawn can only be affected by close combat (so no shooting or magic!), have 8 Wounds and a Save of 3+.

 

Deployment

 

The forces of Nurgle set up first, with both daemon and Skaven pulled in tight against the Gates of Dawn to stop any sudden attacks.

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The Stormcasts could only start with a maximum of three units on the table (the first responders to something obviously going very wrong with the Realmgate), and these were the Decimators, crossbow-armed Judicators and the Lord-Castellant. The plan was for the Decimators to rush forwards and carve up the nearest Plague Monks, in an effort to balance the numbers between the two armies.

 

Battle Round One

As it turned out, the Stormcasts were on the ball, and the Sylvaneth had been alerted quickly to the power residing within the Gates of Dawn – a large portion of their entire army turned up in the first round!

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Even two Treelords had mustered, appearing at opposite sides of the battlefield. The forces of Nurgle were well and truly hemmed in now, and the Stormcasts could begin probing for a weak point that would get them to the Realmgate. A few pot shots were thrown, but their effect was mild. However, the Decimators had the predicted effect upon the nearest unit of Plague Monks and all twenty lay dead at their feet when the axes finally stopped swinging, with not a single Paladin so much as scratched.

However, the power of Nurgle is in corruption and both the Decimators and Judicators were weakened by the pestilence of the area (being in the Realm of Life, anyone near terrain can suffer a mortal wound, though Nurgle units get healed instead…). However, Bolathrax was clearly drunk on the power he was wielding, as he began gibbering to his god (the Realmgate’s effects stopped both the Great Unclean One and the Plague Drones from doing anything this turn).

Vermalanx instead took temporary command and hurled an arcane bolt at a Decimator, killing him outright. The Verminlord directed the Plagueclaw Catapult to attack as well, but the filth flying through the air went wide. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Vermalanx led a group of Plaguebearers into combat with the Decimators, and though he took a slight scratch, the Verminlord killed most of the Paladins and forced the last one to run.

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On the far side of the battlefield, the other Plague Monks had tracked down some Dryads emerging from the woods and initiated a fight that would end up grinding both units down, while another unit of Plaguebearers crashed into a line of Liberators – this is a fight that would go on for the rest of the battle, with neither unit able to significantly affect the other!

 

Battle Round Two

Regaining his senses, Bolathrax tried to open the Realmgate to bring more daemons onto the battlefield, but the great stone arch remained silent for now. Choosing to instead use his own powers, Bolathrax called a Herald of Nurgle into being.

Keeping up his own momentum, Vermalanx hurled a nasty arcane bolt into a Treelord, then advanced, determined to drive all Sylvaneth and Stormcasts back from the area he had commandeered. He charged the Judicatorts while the Plagueclaw Catapult proved more accurate this time, catching the Treelord right in the chest, but the pus and bile just bounced off the Treelord’s armoured trunk.

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The Treelords were not having a good time overall, and while they wondered just where the Treelord Ancient had got to, the Plague Drones surged forward, catching one of them. Two Plague Drones fell to the Treelord, one impaled with a nasty spike, but the Treelord was badly wounded in return.

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The Plague Monks finished off the Dryads they had charged and started hunting around for another target. They did not fancy going back to the Gates of Dawn, as things looked decidedly dangerous there!

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By now, the entire Stormcast and Sylvaneth army had appeared, ready to destroy the Gates of Dawn – all except the Treelord Ancient, who had apparently overslept…

The Prosecutors and bow-armed Judicators had moved into range of Bolathrax and started pelting the Great Unclean One. Unfortunately, their missiles had little effect and what damage that was done was rapidly being healed as Bolathrax started to regenerate. The Heraldor trumpeted the Gates of Dawn, injuring Bolathrax, the Plagueclaw Catapult and the Plague Priest – and thus marked himself down as a target. A group of Nurglings, giggling as they went, bounced over to head him off.

Meanwhile, a unit of Protectors had marched onto the battlefield, and were now making their run to the Realmgate – so far, the only unit of Stormcasts able to do so. They were intercepted by a unit of Plague Censer Bearers, whose life-span could have been measured in seconds, and then they charged the Plague Priest, who did not last all that much longer. Because of their extremely long glaives, one of the Protectors had even managed to (slightly) damage the gate!

While the Stormcasts were cheering, the Sylvaneth were cursing their decision to help. One unit of Dryads had already been eradicated, and now the Plague Drones had almost brought a Treelord to its knees.

 

Battle Round Three

 

Seeing the threat posed by the Protectors, Bolathrax lumbered his great bulk around to face them, then opened the Gates of Dawn to bring forth a new unit of Plaguebearers. He failed to throw an arcane bolt at them, but Vermalanx was around to help, unleashing a Plague that killed one Protector and greatly weakened the nearby Treelord.

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Bolathrax and the Plaguebearers charge the Protectors but the Paladins stay on target, knocking another two wounds off the Realmgate (got to love those really long glaives…). They also managed to kill a Plaguebearer and gave Bolathrax a nasty wound to think about.

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Away from the Gates of Dawn, a fairly nasty skirmish was starting to erupt around the Ophidian Archway. Two units of Liberators had been held up by Nurglings and Plaguebearers (the Plaguebearers’ icon bringing five back into the fray, so their unit was now actually larger than when it had started…), and the Prosecutors (along with the Knight-Azyros) had effectively been nullified by another unit of Nurglings – they did not have the movement to get past the daemons to reach the gate, their missile weapons were not powerful enough to kill the Nurglings, and if they rushed into close combat, the Nurglings would likely trap them for most of the battle, exactly as they had been doing to the Liberators.

An entire flank stalled because of some Nurglings!

The deadlock was broken when the Nurglings had decided to have a pop at the Heraldor. Now the way to the Gates of Dawn was open!

The Treelord Ancient finally decided to turn up, but even the Plague Monks had grown tired of waiting for him and were now arrowing their way back to the Realmgate.

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The Prosecutors and Knight-Azyros swept forward to the Gates of Dawn, leaving the Liberators and Heraldor to be trapped by Nurglings and Plaguebearers – the Stormcasts were running out of time and if the Realmgate was to be destroyed, it had to be done by those Eternals who could reach it in the next turn or two.

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By now, Bolathtrax was beginning to suffer. The Judicators had maintained their fire upon him, as had the Prosecutors and though each sting was minor, they were beginning to rack up. Lord-Celestant Gardus had now arrived on the scene as well and as he raced to the Gates of Dawn, he twirled his cloak to fling a handful of magical hammers at the Great Unclean One, reducing it to just three wounds! His attacks on the Realmgate were less successful but he still managed to take another wound off it (halfway there!). Calling upon Sigmar for aid, Gardus was gratified to see lightning strike a nearby forest, before Decimators and Judicators strode out from the smoking trees. But Gardus also knew they were probably too little, too late.

However, Nurgle’s forces were still fighting hard, and another Protector went down under Bolathrax’s bulk, just as the Plague Drones destroyed a Treelord.

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Battle Round Four

Bolathrax, despite being weakened, unleashed a plague that struck Lord-Celestant Gardus and killed a Prosecutor before it dispersed. The Plague Monks by now were racing another unit of Dryads, this time to see who would be first to return to the Gates of Dawn and flip the balance of the vicious fight that had erupted around it. The Skaven drew ahead but failed their charge at the last moment. However, the Plague Drones proved far more mobile, and they zipped back quickly, hitting the Prosecutors and Gardus in the back. Not seeing the danger until it was too late, Gardus was knocked to the ground and taken out of the fight.

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At the same time, Vermalanx sent the Lord-Castellant back to Sigmar, after what had been a lengthy duel between them, and Bolathtrax killed another two Protectors, leaving just one left – however, the Protector-Prime was not about to let his comrades die in vain, and a thrust of his glaive ended Bolathrax’s time in this realm. The Great Unclean One called upon Grandfather Nurgle to aid him, but was ignored – as it happened, Nurgle had a very specific purpose in mind for Bolathrax…

. All the Stormcasts had left at the Gates of Dawn were a couple of Prosecutors and their weak javelins had not made much of an impression on the Realmgate yet, just taking one wound off of it. And there the quest seemed to stand, the Realmgate on three wounds but with no one able to deliver the final blow. Even a last minute charge by the Dryads had little effect.

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However, the Knight-Azyros had been waiting for his moment and, seeing an opening, swept in to shatter the supports holding the Gates of Dawn aloft – major victory to the Stormcasts!

Just!

 

Conclusion

Despite being just four turns in length, an awful lot happened in that battle and if the Knight-Azyros had not delivered that final blow, I am not sure the Stormcasts had anything left to throw at the Realmgate!

The Nurgle daemons were, as always, nasty. They are just very, very hard to actually kill! This was the first time we had used the Pestilens in force and, in general, they got the thumbs up. Sure, the Plague Monks die very quickly, but they can hit like an absolute hammer. And Vermalanx is basically a rat-faced greater daemons – what is not to like?

For the Stormcasts, this battle was all about not getting bogged down, something Nurgle forces excel at, and the Eternals did not achieve this very well! There was one unit of Liberators who were unable to move for the entire battle, due to getting Plaguebearers in the face, and just a handful of Nurglings almost stalled an entire flank because the Stormcasts could just not risk getting bogged down in close combat with them (Nurglings are particularly annoying, as they automatically regenerate all wounds at the end of every turn, meaning if you cannot kill them outright, you may as well not bother!).

The Stormcasts actually managed to muster two separate waves of attack on the Gates of Dawn, first with the Protectors and Gardus, then with the Prosecutors and the Knight-Azyros. It is good that they succeeded because, as I say, I do not think they could have launched a third!

 

The Story Continues…

As Gardus looked up from the dirt and grime, he could hear Bolathrax’s voice getting ever closer, and the Gates of Dawn shook and shuddered with inner power. Though the Knight-Azyros was attacking the supports of the Realmgate, Gardus could see he would not be quick enough, and that whatever Bolathrax was planning, wherever he was planning it from, was approaching with terrible inevitability.

Ignoring his wounds, Lord-Celestant Gardus climbed the steps leading up to the Gates of Dawn and threw himself in, determined to finish off Bolathrax on his home turf.

The Stormcasts had won, and the Gates of Dawn were now destroyed. But their leader was now in Nurgle’s own garden…

 

With that fight done, we have finished the Realm of Life battles that appear in the first Age of Sigmar hardback! Things look bleak for the forces of Sigmar, as Nurgle’s followers are rallying well against the invasion and the Stormcasts have lost a great hero now Lord-Celestant has disappeared into the corrupted Gates of Dawn. However, the search for Alarielle, Lady of Life, continues and we will be returning to this Realm after Christmas!

 

Event Report: Trials of the Oighear

Now and again, GW run one day events for their games at the HQ in Nottingham. These are free to enter, and this weekend I went along to my first one.

This was the Trials of the Oighear, an Age of Sigmar campaign covering Ice Mages in the Realm of Metal getting together every thousand years to prove who is best and will be their leader. The conceit here is that they can change shape at will and hire in mercenaries to do their fighting – so, for the event, you could bring any army of up to 30 models, plus one Ice Mage whose Warscroll was provided.

You can read about Ice Mages here. They are quite pokey for wizards, and have a Shield of Ice ability that gives them and one other unit +2 saves. They do not have access to arcane bolt or mystic shield, but have their own suite of spells. Frosty Blast is a pumped up arcane bolt that also slows the target unit, Lake of Ice shifts units in a random direction, and Ride the Storm effectively teleports the Ice Mage up to 20″.

 

The only restrictions to your army is 30 models, only one of which can be a Monster and none can be Wizards. The Ice Mage is in addition to this.

I ended up taking two units of 9 Chaos Warriors, 1 unit of 9 Chaos Knights, and a Lord on Manticore – all Tzeentch worshippers (hence the units of 9). The Ice Mage went on top of this, for which I used the Tzeentch Sorcerer Lord I had painted up earlier because… he was kinda bluey in colour…

 

First Game

All tables and opponents were randomly drawn in this event, and I got paired up with a Dwarf player to begin with. The battle took place across an ice field, with one side trying to get past the other. Throughout the game, units risked breaking the ice and drowning, though Heroes would just get a bit stuck and flyers would ignore it altogether.

I am not going to say what I thought of this game – instead, I will just give you some facts.

  1. I lost, and the game lasted about 20-odd minutes, which is the quickest game I have ever had at an event.
  2. He took a Giant in a Dwarf army (or a Destruction unit in an Order army, if you prefer).
  3. He started off by saying that he did not fancy marching his Dwarfs across the table, so would I mind being the attacker instead of rolling randomly?
  4. There were three Organ Guns, with an Engineer in the force. But you see, that does not really matter, because…
  5. What I first thought was a unit of 20 Troll Slayers was actually 20 separate Dragon Slayers. In other words, there were 20 Heroes in his army. No actual troops, unless you count the three Gyrocopters.
  6. He had also taken Ungrim Ironfist, whose ability he proceeded to use upon the Giant (description says Dispossessed only).
  7. And he had 38 models on the table in a 30 model event.

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I just present these facts to you, you make up your own mind.

 

Second Game

This was an ambush Battleplan, and I ended up being the Ambushee – this would be a classic confrontation as my Tzeentch warband would be surrounded by Nurgle followers! I had to set up first, so my opponent would know exactly what he had to face, but at least I got to go first. I picked what I thought was the weakest point in the circle (a big unit of Chosen, as it turned out – no way did I want to mess with Dragon Ogres, Blightkings and a Maggoth Lord!), and just went for it!

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We both made a few mistakes in this battle but, in the end, I managed to get a third of my models off a table edge to claim victory, even though I felt like a complete coward at times – my Knights kept getting tangled up with the Maggoth Lord, which they did not enjoy and so kept fleeing, while I quite cheerfully sacrificed one unit of Chaos Warriors to act as a speed bump for his Dragon Ogres!

My opponent (nice chap, really into the modelling side) didn’t think this scenario was completely fair. I am in two minds about it. If I were doing it at home, I would pay particular attention to the forces in the centre (the defender) to make sure they were either few in number or just plain slow. On the other hand, he spent some time messing around with my Chaos Knights, the fastest unit I had after the Manticore. However, they did not really mean a great deal in terms of the scenario conditions, as I needed to get a certain number of models off the table and the Knights would not likely have cut it. Just concentrating on my slow Chaos Warriors could have made things really sticky for me.

Still, I cannot criticise – my main tactics were centred around trying to get the Hell away from the Maggoth Lord!

While I was playing this game, Dwarf Boy was on the table next to ours – his opponent had a grim expression, glazed eyes, slumped shoulders… yeah, I could sympathise.

 

Third Game

The second game was good, this third was the best of the lot. I met another Chaos force, this one full of Trolls, Ogres and Plague Toads, and the Battleplan was basically the storm one from the Ghal Maraz hardback – basically, the territory of the players shifts in a line across the table, influenced by victories and random chance. If you kill the enemy general (the Ice Mage, in this case), you will shunt it far enough that you will likely win.

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My issues began early on in this game. You see, they had given us a list of objectives to complete to gauge how well we did, and in this Battleplan, it seemed as though every objective was designed to get us to commit suicide!

For example, you got 3 bonus points if you did not use the +2 Save Shield of Ice at any point. You got 3 more if you teleported your mage to an enemy then charged him (always a good idea for a wizard…).

So, I had made the decision not to use Shield of Ice, and that kinda stuffed me from the outset. You can see in the photo that our Chaos Lords on their Manticores had engaged one another. However, while I had the mark of Tzeentch (can unbind spells), his chap had the mark of Nurgle and the benefit of Shield of Ice – which gave him a 1+ save, meaning I only got a few scratches in while he was (eventually) able to finish me off.

I knew that using Shield of Ice was the right thing to do, but once you start something…

The game ended with my Ice Mage teleporting over to his, completely fluffing his frosty blast spell, then getting minced in close combat.

Still, an excellent game and, morally speaking, I think I was the better Ice Mage! And, as it turned out, I was only 1 Objective Point behind this chap across the entire campaign. So, that ended well too!

 

One Day Events

So, should you make the effort and go to one of these events? Well, it is free – if you can bring yourself to struggle up to Nottingham (two hour drive for me, your mileage may quite literally vary), why would you not at least give it a try? No entry fee, no hotel bill, just bring some pennies for drinks and food at Bugman’s Bar and, frankly, you could just as easily bring your own. Give me a shout, and I will see you there!

Speaking of which, the next Age of Sigmar events being advertised right now are Rotwater Blight on January 9-10th (which I am booked in for already), and the Rise of the Seraphon on February 20-21st, a doubles event (which I have not booked for yet, but the idea of leading a huge bunch of Lizards is appealing…). Both of these are the more standard two-day paid-for events.

A Tour of Warhammer World

I have posted before about events held at Warhammer World but, up to now I have not gone into the exhibition centre they have there – principally because of the £7.50 entrance fee. Well, this weekend, I went up for the Trials of the Oighear event (full report on that tomorrow) and this time I took one for the team. I ponied up the cash, and took a look around. I also snuck in a camera so you could all have a look as well.

(there is no actual ban on photography, but I would not have felt like 007 without that conceit).

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When you walk in, this is the first thing you see, some cabinets at the bottom of the stairs displaying some very old GW products, which are all likely to be older than most of the people who walk through this place (sadly, I remember buying many of these when they were first released…).

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Like the original Beakies and Space Ork Raiders. Or, just below them in the photo, the Devastators box set, containing (no, not heavy weapons marines) the likes of the Mole Mortar and first exposed-to-the-wind Land Speeder. And yes, that box next to it contained two Land Raiders.

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Still, things like Hydras and Manticores are way bigger these days, so I guess it is not all bad.

Once you have had your fill of nostalgia, you head up the stairs to the first exhibition room, dedicated to Age of Sigmar.

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The displays are divided into two main types – the first is like the above, where entire armies are on display. Here is a part of the Orcs and Goblins cabinet – that Forge World Giant really is a big ‘un…

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And here is a snap of something that explains Bretonnians in the Mortal Realms (don’t kid yourselves, I am pretty sure these guys will be properly gone soon enough).

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The second kind of cabinet is like this – massive. In fact, this is one of the smaller ones. We’ll get to the really big stuff soon enough!

Basically, they are of (usually) large battles involving hundreds of miniatures in a suitably awe-inspiring setting.

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In this one, the Stormcasts are having a bit of a barney with the Bloodbound on a floating island fortress thing. It goes without saying, you can spend an hour looking at each of these displays and still be picking up brand new details. Taking a camera with you might well be a good idea…

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This one is labelled End Times, and depicts a Skaven attack upon a Dwarf stronghold. However, it is designed to be viewed from all four angles, with each facing presenting something new.

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On this side, the Dwarf reinforcements are rushing inside the hall to try to stem the invasion.

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There is a massive chasm inside that divides the display in two, with the two forces fighting over rickety bridges.

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From the other side, you see the chasm is wide enough to allow the Gyrocopters in, where they are performing strafing runs on Skaven war machines.

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Dwarf miners are trying to flank the Skaven army, but have run straight into the Brood Horrors…

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The reflections are bad on this one (they may allow photography, but they do not aid it here), but this is the main Skaven attack – that green glowy thing is not a reflection, but a Warpstone weapon…

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The next display is of a Chaos force leaving a blight-ridden fortress.

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Nurgle is the theme here, and they have not been afraid of splashing out on Forge World models…

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Along with the Glottkin, a Maggoth Lord (Twiceborn), and a lovely converted Mutalith at the back, all Nurglified.

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And this is just part of the main horde – took this snap because I quite liked the Warshrines.

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However, once you move round the side of this display, you realise you have not seen it all, as the Chaos forces are moving underground as well.

That was the quick tour of the Age of Sigmar section. The second exhibition room is dedicated to Warhammer 40,000.

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Again, all the armies are on display, from Sisters to every Marine chapter you have seen painted up in White Dwarf. These are the two variant Land Raiders and Rhinos that you can grab from Warhammer World (and only Warhammer World).

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And, of course you get the big displays too. The first is a bit of a marine-on-marine action with the Emperor’s Children.

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While just across the way is a Space Wolf fortress being attacked by Tyranids. Didn’t spend too long on this one because, well, filthy Space Wolves (the Lion was right!). But there is nothing funnier than watching a Space Wolf getting eaten by a bug.

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Here, for example, are some Space Wolves who cannot fly properly.

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And here are some Space Wolf dogs about to get torn apart.

Gets me every time.

Anyway, after Marines, it was onto the Guard (Astra Militarum). Think you have a large Guard army at home? Really? Try this…

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These guys are just on parade. And no, this is not Epic scale. Note the elite troops on the wall on the left and, right at the back, the Commissar’s personal super-heavy…

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It might take a little while to paint that many Guardsmen up…

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This is a smaller display, but I know it will have fans – the Death Korps of Krieg, in a fortified position.

From here, it is on to the next Exhibition Room. There is just a single display in this one, and it is billed as the largest 40k display in the world. They may be right.

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You ready for this?

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Now, I am rubbish at photography, so you do not get the right sense of scale here. And the lighting is very weird, so the camera was not at its best anyway. But this display needs two stories, and you walk down and around it.

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The lights also kept changing…

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But as you get to the top, you find a Bloodthirster has got there before you.

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And this is how you are supposed to use a Dreadclaw…

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It is not until you get downstairs that you realise how many Titans there really are…

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You would need some seriously tall guys to play properly on this board.

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The next Exhibition Room is dedicated to all things Xenos, and we start with a very nice Eldar vs. Tyranids set up, including glowing lava!

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And a Titan. Must have a Titan.

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They call this one Ork Town…

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And just on from that, a cabinet that contains all their really large models, including the Warlord Titan.

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No reason for this photo, other than I thought that was quite a nice scheme for Necrons…

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And I took this one because I thought I was looking at the really large Tau flyer. Umm, no. Not even close. As we will see.

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Orks vs. Crimson Fists – it must be Rynn’s World!

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This picture will get the long beards nodding knowingly…

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Yeah, that is the big Tau flyer. And it is ‘uge.

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But then it needs to be, with this lot bearing down on it.

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The display is an odd L-shape, right next to a door, hence the choppy photo.

However, that door leads to.. another Exhibition Room, this one dedicated to the Horus Heresy.

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‘Standard’ Calth battle.

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And one showcasing the interiors that Forge World do.

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And there is always room for one more Titan…

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As a complete aside, I did notice a new table when I went back to the gaming hall. There had been a mention that a new Age of Sigmar table was being built. Well, I think it has just been unveiled…

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This is actually quite nice – and it shows off the Dreadhold’s modularity nicely. The first thing you notice are the really tall towers (keeps and bastions stacked on one another) and the gatehouse, which is just great. However, note the triangular keep to the left as well. Seems to be what you get from three keeps and three walls.

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All with a river of blood running through it. Didn’t get a chance to play on this table, but it would be a fight to remember…

 

 

The Brimstone Tempest

Just before we take a break for Christmas, I finally got round to finishing something I have wanted to do for a while – a complete campaign for Age of Sigmar. I also got the graphics guys (well, Amy) to out it together in an attractive PDF, which you can download here: The Brimstone Tempest.

The official story line for Age of Sigmar has sort of left the Realm of Fire alone for a bit (some more bits and bobs to be found in the novels and ebooks), so I wanted to take a look at ‘what happened next.’ Having read all the Valkia the Bloody stories as well, I wanted her to be front and centre in the new story.

So, I put together this short campaign, of just four Battleplans. The first battle, Judgement of the Blood God, shows what happens to an Exalted Deathbringer who shows a bit of patience and thought (it is not pretty) and Valkia is introduced to the fray along with her daemonic hordes. There is also a Time of War sheet that is used throughout the campaign that is centred around Valkia and what tends to happen when she appears…

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After the first battle, Valkia has roundly whipped a bunch of Bloodbound but needs to see which one of them is tough enough to lead after she departs for the Realm of Chaos. So, she decides to have a go at the Skaven in Duardinia (you’ll find this place on the top of the Brimstone Peninsula map in the Age of Sigmar hardback).

The Skaven Warlord Snikkit can see what is coming, so throws his worse troops in front of the Khornate horde (now daemons and Bloodbound combined, with Valkia up front!) in an effort to buy time to build his defences. The rats are going to lose this one, but the Chieftain that has been sent to face Valkia will gain a victory (of sorts!) if he can just survive!

The next Battleplan, Bulwark Assault, sees Valkia’s force throw themselves at the Obsidian Bulwark, an old Bloodbound-built fortress that the SKaven have long since taken over. By now, Khorne’s fury is such that it is capable of blasting apart castle walls by rage alone (a nice Command Ability for Valkia in this one!), while it is suggested that a Bloodthirster will not go amiss for her forces. However, the Skaven have started to rally and their full strength is present too. Well, all except Grey Seer Gnawdoom, who has announced his attention is needed elsewhere…

…which beings us onto the final battle, To Catch a Queen. Grey Seer Gnawdoom has a mad, mad plan to actually capture and harness the daemonic power of Valkia. If he succeeds, he may well become the pre-eminent sorcerer in the entire Realm of Fire. If he fails… well, Valkia is not known as ‘the Merciful’.

We have tried our best to make this campaign look as though it came from GW, and if you have a Khorne force, you just need to add Valkia to get going. If you have a Skaven army as well, you already have everything you need to dive into this one though, frankly, any opposing force could work!

I would be very interested to hear if anyone gives this a go and what they make of it!