The campaign in the Realm of Life continues, and the Stormcasts have a new target…
The Story So Far
Gardus knew the region in which the Athelwyrd (Alarielle’s hiding place) lay – if they could get to the Oak of Ages Past, they would be right next to the Hidden Vale and Alarielle could be found. The Oak was near the River Vitalis, but Nurgle had got there first and a Great Unclean One, known as Pupa Grotesse, now sat astride it, turning the waters foul. The River Vitalis was now the Gelid Gush.
If the Stormcasts were to make their way to the Athelwyrd and Alarielle, they first had to end the corruption of Pupa Grotesse.
This would be the Battle of Rotwater Blight and Nurgle’s strongest servants would be present to fight.
This is going to be a tough fight, with lots of daemons and some new leading lights of Nurgle that we are going to be seeing in the campaign for the first time. The full Rotwater Blight Time of War sheet is going to be used from now on, which has everything that we have been playing with in the Realm of Life, plus rules for the Gelid Gush/River Vitalis and the possibility that the Sylvaneth might show up.
Great Unclean One (Pupa Grotesse)
Maggoth Lord (Morbidex Twiceborn)
Herald of Nurgle
Plaguebearers x 24 (three units of 8)
Plague Drones x 6
Nurglings x 9
Well, the heavyweights are all here! A good block of Nurgle daemons (more of which can be summoned when this lot have been slain), backed up by not just a Great Unclean One (the target of the Stormcasts) but Morbidex Twiceborn and the Glottkin too! Should be an interesting fight…
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Retributors x 5
Protectors x 5
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)
There is a ‘sky’ table in this battle, and the Prosecutors will likely be going head-to-head with the Plague Drones, a fight they would be completely outclassed in if it were not for the Knights-Azyros and -Venator. The Knight-Venator will also be useful in dealing with Pupa Grotesse, if he survives – and the Stormcasts will be needing all the help they can get as the Great Unclean One has double wounds (as we are using the Forge World model) and regenerates automatically every turn. Still, if the Protectors can get to the daemon, their glaives should be just the ticket…
With Pupa Grotesse already placed on the table, the armies assembled their units, one by one. The Stormcasts took to the sky early, gaining a commanding position, while the battle lines formed below.
The full Rotwater Blight Time of War sheet would be in effect for this battle, which meant the Nurgle forces would prove to be extremely tough. However, there was a chance the Sylvaneth would turn up to help the Stormcasts.
Liberators formed a solid shield line across the battlefield, with Judicators placed behind them and Protectors held back to exploit any breakthrough. The Retributors would attempt to make a (slow) flanking move to directly attack Pupa Grotesse.
Battle Round One
The Stormcasts advanced slowly, knowing they had no time limit to accomplish their goal – Pupa Grotesse had to die, no matter what it took.
A few spirited skybolts from the Judicators bounced off the Glottkin’s thick hide but, above, a swirling dogfight erupted between the Prosecutors and Plague Drones. The Prosecutors fluttered back, keeping their distance from the Plague Drones while pelting them with javelins and hammers, while the Knight-Azyros dived forward to engage one pack directly in close combat.
The diseased forest began to weaken both Liberators and Judicators, even as the Glottkin and Pupa Grotesse started to raise Mystic Shields upon their forces, and a Shield fo Thorns on a gaggle of Nurglings.
With cries from the three Glottkin, the Daemons of Nurgle surged forward to meet the Stormcast advance.
Liberators swallowed nervously as the Glottkin emerged from a thick woods, but the Protectors behind them were eager to get to grips with the massive beast.
High above, the Plague Drones reacted to the Prosecutors, wounding one with their thrown Death’s Heads, then sweeping forward to engage. The Knight-Azyros quickly realised he had bitten off far more than he could chew as the second unit of Plague Drones surrounded him and unleashed their Plague Swords and stings. The dogfight lasted just a few seconds and resulted in the broken form of the Knight-Azyros fluttering down tot he ground…
Battle Round Two
Knowing they were already hugely resilient to damage, the Glottkin cast Fleshy Abundance on nearby Nurglings, before flinging an Arcane Bolt at the Lord-Castellant’s Gryph-hound, killing it instantly.
Leading his Nurglings, Morbidex Twiceborn charged into the nearest Liberators atop his Maggoth, but used his superior reach to stretch across them and swipe at the Judicators, sending three straight back to Sigmar.
Meanwhile, the Glottkin charged another unit of Liberators and another three fell, though not before their Greatsword had managed to gouge a nasty gash in the monster’s leg.
All across the battle line, forces had engaged and the Stormcasts now faced the immense durability of Nurgle Daemons as they tried to survive the grind.
In the sky, the Stormcasts were losing the dogfight. Two units of Prosecutors had already been torn apart, and the Knight-Venator (no doubt seeing the writing on the wall) decided to ‘concentrate on the main objective’ and dived down to land in a small copse of woods close to Pupa Grotesse. He unleashed a Starfate Arrow at the beast, but only scratched the Great Unclean One, a wound that had already started to heal.
The Lord-Castellant raised his lantern and the Glottkin collectively shrieked as the divine light boiled their flesh, just as the Protectors rushed in with their monster-killing glaives. The Glottkin reeled from this assault and, when the dust had cleared, they were all seriously wounded (down to single figure wounds in one round!).
Morbidex Twiceborn received a celestial hammer in the face from the Lord-Celestant’s cloak, convincing him to instead tackle the Liberators hiding in the nearby forest. He received more wounds from them but, along with his ever-helpful Nurglings, reduced them to a single Greatsword-wielding Stormcast.
The Stormcasts had very nearly brought down the Chaos general, but across the line their own forces were suffering and it looked like the sky battle had already been lost. They would have to work hard to achieve a breakthrough in order to reach Pupa Grotesse – casualties did not matter, so long as they could reach the Great Unclean One and end its reign of filth.
Battle Round Three
Shrugging off arrows and the celestial eagle buzzing around his head, Pupa Grotesse flung an Arcane Bolt at the Knight-Venator, forcing the Stormcast hero to retreat a little further away. Meanwhile, the Glottkin, seeing they were in deep trouble, raised a Mystic Shield over themselves, along with a Shield of Thorns.
Taking a leaf from the the Knight-Venator’s tactics, one unit of Plague Drones dropped behind the Stormcast line and targeted the Lord-Castellant with their Death’s Heads, though they bounced off his thick Sigmarite armour.
The Plaguebearers on both flanks rushed forward to charge the nearest Stormcasts, led by the Herald of Nurgle. They immediately bogged down a flanking unit of Liberators on the right flank, but were quickly dispatched by the Retributors on the left, leaving a clear line straight to Pupa Grotesse! Lord-Celestant Gardus quickly raced through the Sylvaneth woods to meet up with his Paladins, to prepare the main attack against the Great Unclean One.
High above him, the surviving Prosecutors finally managed to bring down a single Plague Drone, but only at great cost – only a single Stormcast remained in the sky.
The last Liberators died in the centre, leaving the Nurglings and Morbidex Twiceborn free to roam to new targets, but the Protectors fought hard against the Glottkin. The great beast managed to fell the last one with the help of Plaguebearers and the Herald, but only after sustaining serious wounds in the process (the Glottkin was now down to just one wound!).
Battle Round Four
The Stormcasts finally managed to wrest the initiative away from Nurgle’s forces, and Lord-Celestant Gardus raised his hammer as he called upon the grace of Sigmar for reinforcements. He was answered and, in a flash of lightning, Gardus and the Retributors were joined by a new unit of Protectors and Judicators, making for a potent force that was now just a stone’s throw away from Pupa Grotesse – though heavily battered, the Stormcasts had managed to wrong foot the Daemons of Nurgle and maybe, just maybe, they could bring victory back!
A great cheer went up from the Stormcasts as the Lord-Castellant raised his lantern once more to confront the Glottkin, this time boiling them away into nothingness – the chaos general was dead!
However, a low, baleful moan was then heard as Nurgle took an interest in this battle and decided he did not want to lose his favoured servants just yet – the Glottkin were returned to the battle, fully healed and eager to gain revenge. And this time, there were no Paladins close by to tackle them.
Pupa Grotesse was peppered by arrow fire from the Judicators and Knight-Venator while Gardus prepared his men for the main attack, while the Lord-Castellant saw the danger Morbidex Twiceborn presented – he was free to leave the battle line and intercept Gardus’ force. With a cry, he bravely charged the Maggoth Lord, causing a vicious wound.
Shifting his great bulk to face the new threat emerging from the woods, Pupa Grotesse grunted as he summoned Plaguebearers to create a barrier between him and Gardus.
By now, even the newly resurrected Glottkin could see the danger that Lord-Celestant Gardus presented, and they turned round to race across the battlefield in pursuit.
Battle Round Five
The Glottkin weaved wards of magical energy around themselves, raising both a Mystic Shield and Shield of Thorns, before unleashing a torrent of filth on the Protectors and then charging them. They kill two of the Paladins but are wounded in return.
The Knight-Venator suddenly found himself rushed by Plague Drones who had dropped down from the sky to intercept him.
There was a rustle from within the woods, which heralded the arrival of (at last!) the Sylvaneth. However, it was too little, too late, and just a handful of Dryads appeared who were quickly charged by Morbidex Twiceborn.
They made good account of themselves, wounding the Maggoth Lord badly, but the advantage was always going to be with Morbidex Twiceborn.
The Glottkin once again tear the Protectors apart, leaving just one alive, but the generals were seriously wounded in return (brought down to just 4 wounds in a single round!). However, Gardus’ attack had been properly stalled, with the Protectors all but gone, the Judicators getting steadily whittled away and the Retributors distracted by a group of Nurglings who had followed them into the woods.
In a last ditch effort, Lord-Celestant Gardus raced forward to try to break through the line of Plaguebearers. He succeeded but, on his own, was no match for Pupa Grotesse, who hurled the Lord-Celestant away into the foul river.
Battle Round Six
By now, the back of the Stormcast assault had been broken and there was nothing left to throw at Pupa Grotesse. While individual battles still raged across the battlefield, the Stormcasts were finally forced to retreat and reconsider their options.
Well, that was a tough one!
This was very much a battle of ‘ifs’. If the Stormcasts had retained the initiative on turn five, Gardus’ force would have been able to launch their assault on Pupa Grotesse, if the Sylvaneth had arrived a turn earlier, they could have been placed alongside Gardus and helped in that attack, if the Sylvaneth had sent a Treelord (just one would have done!) the Stormcasts would have had a monster themselves, if the sky battle had been won the Stormcasts would have gained tactical control of the battlefield, if the Glottkin had not returned to the fight…
Well, you get the idea! Just one of those things could have made a difference, but that is war for you!
One thing is clear though – Daemons of Nurgle, when allied with the Rotwater Blight Time of War sheet, are hard! And things are not going to get easier…
The Story Continues…
Lord-Celestant Gardus led his force away from Pupa Grotesse – so close to the Athelwyrd, he could not waste more time on the Great Unclean One, as he had to find Alarielle. While other Stormcast forces moved in for another assault on Pupa Grotesse, Gardus began poking around the Gelid Gush, once the River Vitalis. Noticing something odd and feeling drawn onwards, the Lord-Celestant descended into its waters, to find a magical portal beneath.
The Stormcasts had finally found the Athelwyrd, and uncovered Alarielle’s secret hiding place. There mission in the Realm of Life was surely drawing to an end! However, their actions had not gone unnoticed and Nurgle’s forces were mustering for what would be the biggest battle, by far, of the Realmgate Wars.
Stay tuned for next week’s clash, as this will be a good ‘un…