The first clash in the Godbeasts campaign has been fought in the Realm of Fire, but both sides are now gearing up for major confrontations.
The Story So Far
Some sort of curse had afflicted the forces of both Khorne and Sigmar in their last clash, but it was only now that its source was revealed.
Both Nurgle and Archaon had plans for the Realm of Fire, and neither were keen for the forces of Khorne to remain dominant. Heralded by the Maggoth Lord Bloab Rotspawned, great waves of flies were released over the battlefields the Bloodbound and Stormcasts now fought over, bringing with them a plague that sapped the vitality of all who were infected.
For Nurgle, this meant that the fires of battle in Aqshy would gutter and go out, allowing the cycle of life to begin once more – weakening Khorne’s grip on the Realm of Fire and allowing Nurgle to supplant him.
Archaon’s plan was far more direct and purposeful. He intended the disease to spread not only across the land but high into the sky where it would weaken the godbeast Ignax – enough for Archaon to enslave it.
Ignax was a dragon so massive that its sleeping form had been mistaken by the inhabitants of Aqshy as a sun for centuries. Archaon was now planning to harness the power of godbeasts such as this, for with these mighty weapons he would be able to crush the forces of Sigmar once and for all, putting him in a position to assault the Celestial Realm itself.
Led by Bloab Rotspawned, the Rotbringers had arrived, spreading the enervating curse wherever they walked. However, the Maggoth Lord soon realised the peril he was in when he recognised one of the warriors among Sigmar’s Stormcasts. Knight-Venator Torsun the Redeemed, once Plague Lord Torglug the Despised, soared across the sky, leading a hunt of Prosecutors and joined by the Celestant-Prime, with just one target in mind – Bloab Rotspawned himself.
It was then that a fireball hurled by Khorne smashed into the battlefield. With a terrible roar that shook the land for miles around, Skarbrand leapt into battle.
At that moment, the cinderclouds of Asphyxia closed in, bringing a sweeping firestorm across the battlefield that immolated everything it touched. In response, Lord-Relictor Ionus Cryptborn called forth a tempest of such fury it clashed against the firestorm, lightning fighting fire.
Both forces involved in this battle are mid-sized, but both have extremely hard-hitting units – as well as Valkia the Bloody and Lord Khul (in his form of a Daemonic Prince, thanks to The Ritual being won way back last year), Bloab Rotspawned is present, along with Skarbrand and the Celestant-Prime!
Valkia the Bloody
Daemon Prince (Lord Khul)
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 10
Blightkings x 10
Plague Drones (two units of 4)
Chaos Knights x 5
The Bloodreavers make up the numbers in this combined Chaos force, but the Plague Drones have just as many wounds between them (and are far tougher to kill), and with three daemonic Heroes and a Maggoth Lord to lead them, this army will prove positively lethal.
Lord-Celestant on Dracoth
Lord-Relictor (Ionus Cryptborn)
Knight-Venator (Torsun the Redeemed)
Liberators x 25 (five units of 5)
Judicators x 5
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Protectors x 5
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)
The Stormcasts have a strong force here, and they will be using the Hallowed Hunt battalion. This makes the Celestant-Prime, Knight-Venator and two units of Prosecutors extremely mobile and allows them to re-roll charges (very useful on the Celestant-Prime!). Added to that, they re-roll failed hit rolls against all Nurgle units (so even the Knight-Venator might actually get to do something…).
The battle is a fairly simple one at first glance – the Stormcasts must kill Bloab Rotspawned to gain an immediate major victory (thus potentially ending the battle very quickly). However, if the general is still alive by the end of the fourth round, victory goes to Chaos.
There are, however, some complications, not least of which Bloab Rotspawned very much has Nurgle’s favour and so not only has all incoming damage reduced but also heals D3 wounds in every one of his hero phases. In addition to that, the fire and lightning storms are constantly pounding the battlefield, putting everyone at risk.
We will be using the Time of War sheet from the Brimstone Peninsula for this battle, as it very effectively covers the environment of most areas in the Realm of Fire.
The Stormcasts came at the combined hordes of Chaos from two angles and, with mutual distrust, the Khorne and Nurgle armies separated into two forces to meet them. However, Bloab Rotspawned was wise enough (?) to keep Skarbrand close to him.
Battle Round One
Having advanced to within striking distance of the Chaos forces, Vandus Hammerhand stood up in his saddle and called for his Stormcasts to advance. The Knight-Vexillor hoisted his Meteoric Standard to the heavens, and the clouds parted as a comet smashed into the Bloodbound before him. While the Blood Warriors and Valkia the Bloody were merely scratched by the debris that was thrown out of the crater, two Bloodreavers were immolated where they stood.
Finding themselves out of position on the far flank, the Protectors began a steady march across the battlefield, hoping to find a more suitable target for their glaives, either Skarbrand or the Maggoth Lord himself. Meanwhile, the Hallowed Hunt assembled before the forces of Nurgle, seeking a clear shot at Bloab Rotspawned but they could barely get a glimpse as he hunkered down behind the Ophidian Archway. The Knight-Azyros accompanying them called a halt to the advance, preferring to let the forces of Nurgle come to him as the Judicators let fly with their Skybolt Bows, dropping a Blightking at range.
Vandus Hammerhand had no such reservations, and his warcry held a note of glee as he sighted his old nemesis, Lord Khul, behind the ranks of the Bloodreavers. Waving his hammer in the air, he led Liberators and Retributors in a full charge against the Bloodbound. His Dracoth opened its maw as it ran, and a bolt of lightning thudded into the Khorne ranks, killing a Blood Warrior and singeing Valkia.
There was a sickening crunch that could be heard across the battlefield as the Stormcasts hit the Bloodbound at full speed.
As the Dracoth reared up, Vandus laid about himself with his Celestial Hammer, smashing Bloodreavers apart with each swing. Ten Bloodreavers were blasted apart as the impact of the hammer discharged the full force of Sigmar’s lightning, and the nerve of the rest broke. The few surviving Bloodreavers fled from the battlefield as fast as they could run.
Lord Khul cursed the Bloodreavers for cowards and he piled into the swirling melee, keen to claim kills for the Blood God. Seeking out the Retributors, he swung his axe with his mighty daemonic strength but roared in frustration as the Paladin’s armour proved up to the task. A moment of doubt crossed the Daemon Prince’s mind as the Retributors hefted their hammers and swung back at him.
The Daemon Prince reeled away under the thunderous blows, their impacts snapping even Lord Khul’s thick bones. Barely able to stand, Lord Khul realised he may have bitten off a lot more than he could chew…
Weaving an enchantment, Bloab Rotspawned threw a Mystic Shield over Skarbrand, and bid the beast rage forward to engage the Stormcasts who were cowering near the woods. Needing little encouragement, the incandescent Skarbrand plunged forward, the forces of Nurgle close on his wake as they closed the gap.
Bloab Rotspawned nudged his Maggoth forward, and it vomited a stream of acid at the Liberators who had taken position in the woods, melting two of them. Skarbrand roared in fury, seeing two enemies taken from his grasp before he could reach them.
Raging now, Skarbrand rushed forwards to engage the nearest Prosecutors.
They desperately tried to gain altitude to escape Khorne’s wrath, but the daemon was too fast. Skarbrand plunged into their midst and tore them apart, leaving only a scattering of shimmering wings in his wake.
By now, the Blight Kings and Chaos Knights had reached the Retributors, Liberators and Knight-Azyros. The Stormcasts received their charge stoically, the Retributors smashing three Blightkings to the ground before they could lift their own weapons. However, the Knight-Azyros was caught between both Blightking and Chaos Knight, and was left badly wounded by their attacks.
On the far side of the battlefield, Lord Khul momentarily panicked and he limped away from the Retributors as they lifted their hammers up for another series of blows.
Cursing the Daemon Prince for a coward, Valkia the Bloody took to the sky and then dived downwards, the spear Slaupnir aimed straight for the heart of Vandus Hammerhand.
Vandus turned in his saddle only at the last minute as he noticed the dark shape arrowing down to him from the sky. Slaupnir bit deep into his armour, and the Lord-Celestant slumped across the back of his Dracoth. Sensing its master’s peril, the Dracoth snapped at Valkia, savaging an arm and forcing her back long enough for the Vandus to recover his wits.
Battle Round Two
The sky turned bright orange as the pyroclastic storm raged across the battlefield, sweeping through the ranks of the Stormcasts. A Prosecutor fell from the air, his wings burned beyond repair, and Knight-Venator Torsun was seared by the heat.
Skarbrand roared with the full force of Khorne’s fury and nearby Prosecutors clutched at their helmets as they blood boiled with his anger. One managed to scream before their heads exploded in a shower of brains, blood and gore.
Seeing the weakened Knight-Azyros close by, Bloab Rotspawned attempted to hurl an Arcane Bolt at the Stormcast but got a bit too excited, fumbling the spell. His rage drivung him on to find more victims, Skarbrand thundered towards Knight-Venator Torsun.
Seeing danger rushing towards him, Torsun took to the air, keeping just out of Skarbrand’s reach, much to the impotent anger of the Bloodthirster.
For his part, Bloab Rotspawned saw his own forces fighting the Stormcasts in the woods and decided he could not let them have all the fun. He watched as Plaguebearers on the backs of Plague Drones hurled diseased skulls at the wounded Knight-Azyros, but the Stormcast hero tucked in his wings and rolled out of the way of all their missiles. Smirking to himself, Bloab nudged his Maggoth once more and watched a stream of acid arc through the air to melt through the Knight-Azyros while his attention was fixed on the Plague Drones.
Then, Bloab charged the last of the Liberators in the woods, his scythe swinging low to remove the heads of them all.
The forces of Nurgle were bringing their full weight to bear on the Stormcasts before them, and Sigmar’s soldiers were beginning to buckle under the strain. However, against the forces of Khorne, the leadership of Vandus Hammerhand was proving irresistible.
Valkia the Bloody got a sense of destiny from the Lord-Celestant she fought and, badly wounded by his Dracoth, she took to the sky, landing a good distance away from the Stormcasts.
Raising his hammer to the sky, Vandus Hammerhand saluted the God-King and called after the daemonic leaders, making a few choice comments about their cowardice and lack of martial honour.
There was no way that Lord Khul was going to take that from his old enemy.
With a mighty roar, the Daemon Prince rushed back into the fight to confront the Lord-Celestant. His massive axe caught Vandus a vicious blow that set the Stormcast reeling as blood flowed freely from the gap it gouged in his armour, but he quickly recovered. His Dracoth carrying onwards, Vandus swung a terrible blow at Lord Khul that knocked the Daemon Prince flat on his back.
Scrabbling back to his feet, Lord Khul snarled at Vandus Hammerhand, whose skull he had promised long ago to Khorne, but he knew this was not a fight that would be won today. Though badly injured, Lord Khul took to the skies and departed the battlefield.
Valkia the Bloody looked back to the advancing Stormcast forces, knowing that even the Consort of Khorne could be made to suffer for failure. She hesitated for just a moment too long, and did not notice the shift in the storms high above. Sigmar’s lightning forced back the pyroclastic fury of Khorne, and a bright bolt arrowed down from the clouds to strike Valkia squarely in the chest.
Vandus Hammerhand watched her fall from the sky to land far off in the distance, her impact with the ground throwing up a plume of dust. He doubted either the lightning or the fall would end the reign of the Daemon Queen, but he had no time to search for her.
Instead, the Lord-Celestant led his forces in a rush across the battlefield to support the Stormcasts who were still fighting Nurgle’s warriors, as his Retributors lent their weight to finishing off Blood Warriors who had been engaged with Liberators since the start of the battle.
While the Bloodbound had been routed, the main target of the Stormcasts, the Maggoth Lord Bloab Rotspawned, was still fighting on their other side of the battlefield – and he was winning. Vandus Hammerhand mouthed a prayer to the God-King for deliverance.
And he was answered.
In a bright burst of lighting, the Celestant-Prime had arrived.
Stretching forward with his Cometstrike Sceptre, the Celestant-Prime called meteors from the heavens to crash down around the Chaos Knights, Plague Drones and Bloab Rotspawned himself.
Seeing the Celestant-Prime had been sent to aid them, the Hallowed Hunt rallied and flew forward, even though they were all too aware that Skarbrand was still within their midst. They called upon the Judicators for support, and arrows of lightning arced through the air to strike deep wounds into Skrabrand – but they just made him even angrier.
Leading the way, Knight-Venator Torsun ignored the presence of the Bloodthirster and repositioned himself to get a good line of sight upon the Maggoth Lord. Pulling a thrice-blessed Star-fated arrow from his quiver, he took aim and was elated to see his shot was true…
Dismay quickly followed as the Star-fated Arrow merely bounced off the thick blubber of the Maggoth.
With the forces of Nurgle almost completely dominant across this part of the battlefield, and Vandus Hammerhand and his Stormcasts too far away to lend aid, chances for the Stormcasts to reach Bloab Rotspawned were fast disappearing. Trusting in the divine power of Sigmar, the Celestant-Prime swept forward towards the Maggoth Lord, a retinue of Prosecutors flying in his wake.
Bloab had been chuckling away to himself as he watched Skarbrand tear apart Stormcasts, and did not realise his peril until it was almost too late. A flutter of energised wings caught his attention as the shadow of the Celestant-Prime fell across him. Ghal Maraz shown bright with the God-King’s own power as it sensed one of the great Lords of Chaos within its reach and the Maggoth stumbled sideways under the impact of its strikes.
Realising he had been completely out-manoeuvred, Bloab Rotspawned hurriedly cast a spell he had prepared for just such an occasion. Flies buzzed around him, growing huge wings as they latched onto his skin. His Maggoth too grew large fly-like wings and, together, they lumbered clumsily into the sky, desperate to put as much distance between themselves and Sigmar’s vengeance as possible.
With their leaders gone, the forces of Chaos lost their will to fight and started to fade into the wilderness of Asphyxia.
Vandus Hammerhand was victorious.
The Stormcasts seem to be on a roll at the moment! The same can not be said for the forces of Khorne, of course, with both Valkia and Lord Khul fleeing from combat being really, really poor. They just do not seem to have much luck!
This was a really short battle, but it certainly did not feel that way while playing – a great deal happened in those turns!
As always in Age of Sigmar though, it could so easily have gone the other way. While the Celestant-Prime and Prosecutors managed to mob Bloab Rotspawned at the end, if they had not been part of the Hallowed Hunt battalion (with all its re-rolls on wounds and hits against Nurgle units) they would have completely failed in their attacks and then there would be every chance that the Maggoth Lord could simply have turned round and clocked the Celestant-Prime in a single turn of combat. If that had happened, the Stormcasts had precious few models in the area and, with Skarbrand on the prowl, Bloab would probably have been safe!
Oh, and needless to say, just before the Hallowed Hunt moved in, the Knight-Venator had failed to so much as scratch Bloab Rotspawned, despite using the Star-fated Arrow with all the re-rolls in the world…
That guy never gets a break.
The Story Continues…
Next time we are leaving the land of Asphyxia behind to visit the strange world of Orb Infernia high above it. Daemon Princes of all four Chaos powers, the Tetrarchy of Chaos, have been watching the battles below and are preparing to act. However, have they counted upon the actions of the Seraphon?