After the truly epic battle we had in the Realm of Life last week, we are taking a short step ‘out of arc’ in the main storyline of the Realmgate Wars campaign to take a gander at what is happening elsewhere in the Mortal Realms.
This will give us a chance to try out some new forces that have been painted up and tackle some new Battleplans. It also has the benefit of giving me some more time to paint up the forces required for the battles in the Realm of Metal that will mark the end of the Quest for Ghal Maraz.
So, this week we are travelling back to the Realm of Fire, to the Fortress of Embers that stands atop Obdisia Isle where the Mighty Lord of Khorne Kaelgor, the Butcher of Obsidia, is in for a nasty shock…
The Story So Far
Kaelgor has ruled Obsidia Isle and the surrounding lands for an age, but the Stormcast Eternals are determined to bring his reign to an end. Led by Lord-Celestant Aurgos Trueforged, they fought their way up the skull-paved road to the Fortress of Embers, and Lord Kaelgor gladly led his forces out to meet them.
Waves upon waves of Bloodbound rushed out of the fortress, and the Stormcast Eternals were pushed back from its walls, suffering heavy casualties as Khorne worshippers crashed into their ranks. Lord Kaelgor himself had taken to the field, leading his mighty Skullcrushers, but Lord-Celestant Trueforged feared he would not have a chance to meet the Khorne general in battle, as the Stormcasts had already taken serious losses.
The day looked grim for the soldiers of Sigmar.
But lo, what is that light in the sky?
This is an interesting battle, as it actually has three armies (though both the forces on the side of Order will be controlled by one player in this game). At the outset, the battle looks laughably easy for the Bloodbound, as their victory condition is to have models on the table at the end of the sixth turn and the Stormcasts are clearly outnumbered.
However, what the Khorne player does not know (because he is not going to be told until the Stormcasts’ first turn…) is that there is a massive comet coming towards the battlefield that will wreck his forces as it impacts, and will then start disgorging a huge army of Seraphon!
This is quite a famous battle in the lore of Age of Sigmar, as it marks the first real contact between Stormcast and Seraphon.
Might Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut (Lord Kaelgor)
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
Warriors of Chaos with two weapons x 12
Skullreapers x 5
Wrathmongers x 5
That is a good, solid force of Bloodbound, however you look at it. The Bloodreavers and Blood Warriors form its backbone, but it has almost all the Khorne ‘royalty’ to lead them, along with the elite Skullreapers and Wrathmongers. And all that is before we consider Lord Kaelgor and his Skullcrushers whom, between them, will hit like the proverbial train.
Lord-Celestant Aurgos Trueforged
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)
Judicators with Skybows x 5
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Slann Starmaster Zectoka
Oldblood on Carnosaur
Scar-veteran on Cold One
Skink Priest with Priestly Trappings
Saurus Guard x 10
Saurus Warriors with Celestial Clubs x 40 (two units of 20)
Saurus Knights with Spears x 10 (two units of 5)
Skinks with Javelins x 40 (two units of 20)
Stegadon x 2
Kroxigors x 3
It looks a little grim for the Stormcasts, until you realise all those Seraphon will be on the table before the end of the first turn and while they need to completely wipe out the Bloodbound in six turns to secure a major victory, there is a reasonable chance they can succeed!
The Stormcast were deployed first, outside the gates of the Fortress of Embers (this is a joy of having a decent Dreadhold – it was not supposed to feature in the Battleplan, but it serves as a great backdrop to the fighting, and may give the Bloodbound some options!). Then the Bloodbound went down in their entirety, and a potent force they looked – 90-odd axe-wielding maniacs!
This battle would be using the Time of War sheets for the Storm of Sigmar (so both generals could call on reinforcements during the battle) and the Realm of Fire, though we would not be using the blood geysers (there would be enough going on in this battle as there was!
Battle Round One
The Bloodbound automatically took the first round in this turn, and they would enjoy a healthy bonus to boot, as they thought they would just be finishing off stragglers (all Bloodbound units were getting a +1 bonus to hit and wound in this round).
Lord Kaelgor shouted at the Bloodreavers and Skullreapers, driving them into a murderous frenzy then, with a final word, he ordered his entire horde forward.
Things became packed really fast as the Bloodbound raced towards the patchy force of Stormcasts. The Slaughterpriest obviously had something to prove this day as, when he called upon the Blood God for favour, he was pointedly ignored. Within seconds, the Bloodbound were charging, eager to get to grips with the enemy (just as, coincidentally, Men of Harlech started playing on our stereo – good timing!).
The Blood Warriors on both flanks were canny enough to manoeuvre around the Stormcasts defences in order to be able to charge the Retributors Lord-Celestant Trueforged had been hoping to hold in reserve. The Aspiring Deathbringer leading them went down quickly to a hammer in the face, as did some Blood Warriors, but Khorne’s finest managed to exact a heavy toll on the Retributors as well.
The Liberators were ground down by Skullreapers and Bloodreavers, while Lord Kaelgor led his Skullcrushers right down the middle, over-running the Judicators with a single charge. Lord-Celestant Trueforged was now right in front of the Khorne Lord, while the Lord-Relictor was desperately beating back Bloodreavers.
The battle had barely begun, and the Stormcasts were already thin on the ground, with just four left standing!
Then, the comet smashed into the battlefield, and a veritable horde of Seraphon piled out, eager to begin their own war against Chaos.
Saurus Warriors, Skinks, Knights, and massive dinosaurs raced towards the Bloodbound, as Lord-Celestant Trueforged urged his few remaining Stormcasts to hold firm and push back the Chaos worshippers.
An Oldblood atop a Carnosaur led the Seraphon charge, shattering an entire unit of Bloodreavers in a single blood-filled attack, as the Blood Warriors and Retributors continued to fight one another to a standstill.
Meanwhile, Lord-Celestant gave a twirl of his cloak, and a hail of celestial hammers struck Lord Kaelgor, before Trueforged charged him. A flurry of sword and hammer blows seemed to leave Kaelgor reeling but, as Trueforged took a step back to consolidate his attack, he could see the Khorne Lord was merely angry. Very, very angry…
Lord Kaelgor urged his Juggernaut forward, but could not restrain his Skullcrushers, all of whom wanted the glory of taking the Lord-Celestant’s skull. Trueforged’s armour stood up to the punishment they meted out but he was badly injured. Seeing the danger, the Lord-Relictor desperately tried to fight his way clear of Kaelgor’s minions to reach his commander.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, a combined attack by Kroxigors and Saurus Knights managed to finish off the Wrathmongers, but not before Khorne’s madness had taken hold – both Seraphon units had been greatly weakened by destroying them.
Battle Round Two
A great deal had already happened in this battle (and we had only finished the first turn!), but there were more tribulations for both generals to face.
The arrival of the comet had cracked Obsidia Isle, and great chasms were opening up in the battlefield, threatening all who would try to cross them or fight near them…
The Seraphon began their steady advance of extermination, intent on wiping out each band of Chaos followers as they came upon them. One Stegadon had become bogged down by a small group of Blood Warriors, but a Fireball from the Skink Starpriest immolated the last one, freeing the great beast to engage more worthy foes. Slann Starmaster Zectoka had already designated the Khorne Bloodsecrator, who had planted his banner and was opened a portal to the Realm of Chaos, as a primary target, but the Stegadon was just a little too far away.
Lord-Celestant Trueforged fought bravely and while his Lord-Relictor managed to slay a Skullcrusher, the Stormcast commander was ultimately doomed…
A unit of Saurus Knights had managed top break through the ragged Chaos line and charged the Skullgrinder who had decided the Carnosaur’s skull would be a worthy gift to Khorne. Their charge badly wounded him, but his return attacks smashed the Knights apart, and the Skullgrinder roared with delight as his last swing sent the final Saurus Knight plummeting into a nearby chasm.
The Khorne Lord had a choice to make at this stage; he could throw up lines of defence designed to slow the Seraphon advance down long enough to get an intact force back to the Fortress of Embers – or, knowing he was somewhat outmatched, he could attack.
As it turned out, Lord Kaelgor was something of a traditionalist when it came to Blood God Strategy and Tactics. The order to attack was given…
Lord Kaelgor selected a Stegadon as being a worthy enemy, leading the last group of Bloodreavers against it, but his Skullcrushers feared to cross the chasm that now separated them from their lord, instead turning towards advancing Saurus Warriors while finishing off the Lord-Relictor.
The Slaughterpriest had finally arrived into the battle proper, leading a unit of Chaos Warriors. Khorne was pleased with his aggression and rewarded his servant by boiling the blood of the last Retributor – the last Stormcast had fallen!
But Slann Starmaster Zectoka did not care. He was here to stop Lord Kaelgor.
The Skullgrinder leapt over a yawning, lava-filled chasm, to swing his anvil at the Carnosaur, but the great monster simply ground the Skullgrinder into the earth. On the other side of the battlefield, a Stegadon was doing much the same thing to Bloodreavers while ignoring Lord Kaelgor’s attacks.
All over the battlefield, warriors were taking their chances in leaping over the chasms that had opened up, while taking the opportunity to push their enemies into them – a surge from the Stegadon he was battling almost sent Lord Kaelgor over the edge, but his Juggernaut managed to get out of the way in time!
Battle Round Three
A small unit of Skullcrushers had managed to get a direct line of sight on Slann Starmaster Zectoka as he advanced onto the battlefield but, seeing the danger, the Slann waved a hand and more Kroxigors materialised in front of him, forming a formidable wall.
Lining up its star beam, the Bastiladon sent a terrifying blast across the battlefield that struck Lord Kaelgor right in the chest, finally ending his centuries long reign. All the Bloodbound had just earned themselves an immediate promotion, but they would have to survive the battle first…
The Skullcrushers charged the Carnosaur but, as it turned out, they had been right to be reluctant in crossing the chasm, as the sheer mass of a Juggernaut proved too much for it to leap across, and both daemonic beast and twisted man fell into the lava far below. The Carnosaur gave a mighty roar, which broke the nerve of the last Skullcrusher, forcing him to flee.
Despite the (blood-filled) sacrifices of Lord Kaelgor and the Skullgrinder (not to mention the Aspiring Deathbringer much earlier), the Slaughterpriest still had not wetted his axe – and that was just not Khornate policy. When the priest tried to call upon the favour of the Blood God once again, Khorne punished him, boiling his own blood.
Meanwhile, a serious (albeit one-sided) skirmish had erupted on the far flank, between the Exalted Deathbringer and a horde of Skinks.
Though the little lizards fought bravely, they were clearly outmatched, though the Exalted Deathbringer (and soon to be new Lord of the Fortress of Embers) was furious that the Skinks just vanished when he killed them, with not a drop of blood!
The Skullreapers managed to wrong-foot the last Saurus Knights, and charged straight past them to strike at one of the Stegadons. Their daemon-bound weapons managed to kill one of their own, but they seriously hurt the beast. The Knights they left for the Slaughterpriest and his Chaos Warriors, who dealt with the Cold One riders quickly and efficiently, finally glad to have fought something.
Battle Round Four
Both sides had taken heavy casualties by now, but everything was going according to Slann Starmaster Zectoka’s Grand Plan. His losses had been incidental (Skinks could be re-remembered, and he could always find more Stormcasts to talk to). However, the Bloodbound had been dealt a blow from which they would never recover. Now the Slann had merely to finish the task he had set himself.
The Slaughterpriest, finally back in Khorne’s good books, boiled the blood of the nearest Stegadon, killing it instantly.
Seeing there were few Khorne warriors around to take advantage of his portal, the Bloodsecrator pulled up his banner, and raced to engage the Skinks who were bogging down the Exalted Deathbringer (he obviously knew how to butter up his next general…). Meanwhile, the Slaughterpriest led his Chaos Warriors across a chasm to charge the Carnosaur. Three Chaos Warriors fell to their fiery deaths, but a titanic fight between the Slaughterpriest and the Carnosaur saw both teetering on the edge of the chasm… before both fell in!
A similar scene was enacted a little further away, as the last Skinks piled upon the Exalted Deathbringer and Bloodsecrator, pulling both down with them in the nearest chasm (we’ll call that a win for the Skinks).
The Skink Starpriest casually tossed a fireball at the last Skullreaper, immolating the madman, just as Kroxigors and a Scar-Veteran on a Cold One surrounded the last Chaos Warriors on the battlefield and slew them.
As peace reigned, briefly, over the battlefield, Obsidia Isle began to break apart and sink into the lava, the stress of the cometstrike finally proving too much.
Most satisfied with his work, Slann Starmaster Zectoka dismissed his followers and then returned to Azyr.
Well, the Seraphon have well and truly arrived in the Mortal Realms! The Stormcasts may have to wait for another meeting before they can establish proper diplomatic relations, but they clearly have an ally against Chaos.
This was a really fun battle, with everything going the Bloodbound’s way in their first round, then the whole nature of the battle changing in the Stormcasts’ round, with the arrival of the Seraphon.
The chasms that opened up after the arrival of the comet really shaped the battle too, with both generals a little unnerved at the possibility of losing models simply by moving but, towards the end, we were both really getting into the idea of enemies battling one another right at the edge of the fiery drops, with some getting pushed in!
The battle was a major victory for Zectoka but, it has to be said, a great element of this was the Khorne player choosing to give him a major victory! The Khorne player knew the forces of Order had to completely wipe him out to win, and all he had to do to gain a major victory himself was have at least one model survive for six turns.
He could have had the Slaughterpriest and Chaos Warriors retreat back to the Dreadhold – it would have taken time for the Seraphon to reach them, and they would have been in a defensive position. However, in the Khorne player’s own words;
‘I worship the Blood God, what else am I going to do?’
So, he attacked!
The Story Continues…
This battle was ‘out of arc’ in the sense that it does not impact on the main storyline we are playing through in the Quest for Ghal Maraz. However, we have not seen the last of the Seraphon – not by a long shot. It is rumoured that plague pits of Clan Pestilens have come to the attention of the Slann Starmaster Zectoka…