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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!