Things are really starting to ramp up in the Godbeasts campaign now, with Archaon finally enacting his plan to bind the Godbeast Ignax (a big fiery dragon that the residents have, for centuries, mistaken for a sun…) to his will, giving him a super-weapon against the forces of Sigmar. The next three battles are taken not from the Godbeasts campaign, but from Ironwarp Citadel, a special release book only available from Warhammer World.
The Story So Far
The war in the Realm of Fire had shifted its focus from the Ashlands to the Land of the Chained Sun – a huge, floating island that was chained to a sun (actually the Godbeast Ignax) with mighty links. The Scarred Isle below it was home to several Fyreslayer lodges and Archaon had dispatched his Varanguard and other minions to hunt the Fyreslayers down so he could enact the next phase of his plan to enslave Ignax.
Ignax was already stirring, having been roused by the waves of fury unleashed by Skarbrand through the Crystal Henge, and two of the chains binding the Godbeast to the floating island snapped, crashing down onto the Scarred Isle and gouging great furrows. However, Archaon now had a path up the chains to the Land of the Chained Sun, and so the invasion began.
Though the duardin who lived there numbered in the millions, Archaon saw them as no more than a small obstacle – but Sigmar had acted quickly and the heavens shook on the third day of the invasion, with great bolts of lightning lashing the land. A full twenty Stormhosts had arrived, led by the Dracothian Guard. In response, Archaon summoned the daemonic legions of Orb Infernia to his side – the war for the Land of the Chained Sun was now a titanic battle of Order versus Chaos.
The war had come to the home of the Fyreslayers, and they were far from passive. The lodges roused themselves to war, with two goals – first, lodges were sent to each of the remaining Great Tethers that bound the island to Ignax. Once taken from the forces of Chaos, the chains would be retracted, pulling the island closer to the Godbeast until its scouring heat scorched the entire island clean of all life, ending Archaon’s plans in fire. It was a terrible sacrifice to make, but the Fyreslayers had made an oath to die rather than allow the Everchosen to win.
Second was to ensure the Godbeast aided the Fyreslayers rather than Chaos. To this end, the Fyreslayers had forged Auriakh, the Father Rune of Binding. Five Runesons of Austarg Lodge, including one known as Volgrov Borrson, swore they would climb the chains and hammer the great rune into Ignax. However, to do that, Borrson would have to gain entry to the Ironwarp Citadel, a massive fortress dedicated to Chaos and now Archaon’s central base of operations. It was also the site of one of the Great Tethers and, together, the Fyreslayers and Stormcasts swore they would gain entry.
It was the Extremis Chamber that would lead the assault and forge a passage through the Ironwarp Citadel’s outer defences.
As the campaign starts to ramp up the pace, so the size of the armies increases. These are powerful forces, with a lot of special characters leading them.
Slaughterpriest x 2
Skaarac the Bloodborn
Mighty Skullcrushers x 6
Bloodcrushers x 6
Bloodreavers x 40 (two units of 20)
Blood Warriors x 25 (two units of 10, one unit of 5)
This is a powerful force, with most of the leading lights of the Bloodbound present. However, pride of place perhaps has to go to Skaarac the Bloodborn, a super-Khorgorath (you may have seen the model from Forge World).
Fulminators x 5
Tempestors x 5
Concussors x 5
Desolators x 5
Liberators x 20 (four units of 5)
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
The Stormcasts have been charged with forcing entry into the Ironwarp Citadel – and who better to do that than the Extremis Chamber? As we have seen before, they are a very powerful force but getting into the fortress is likely to be only half the battle…
Storming the Gates is a fairly straightforward fight, lasting fir six rounds. The Stormcasts gain a major victory if they wipe out the defenders or can get three of their units to the far end of the battlefield – right at the foot of the Ironwarp Citadel’s walls. If they fail, major victory is instead earned by the Bloodbound defenders.
The Bloodbound can recycle up to six units (not Heroes or Skaarac), sallying out of the Citadel during the battle – this is a slight change to the Battleplan as written, but only because I don’t want to paint up another six units of Bloodreavers and Blood Warriors!
Both forces have specific Army Abilities – the Stormcasts can re-roll all charges, the Bloodbound all Battleshock tests.
The Bloodbound hastily deployed outside their walls, the sudden appearance of the Stormcast Extremis Chamber something of a shock to them. The Exalted Deathbringer took command of the ad hoc defence, promising many skulls would be claimed for Khorne. However, he cursed the slow movement of the Mighty Skullcrushers, for they had been inflicted with a Firetrap Curse, perhaps a gift from some Mage of Order that threatened to explode if they moved too quickly.
The Stormcasts formed a wedge, led by the the Extremis Chamber with a Drakesworn Templar at their point.
Battle Round One
The Exalted Deathbringer held his forces back, a little unsure as to how they would hold up to the huge Dracoths of the Extremis Chamber. Bloodreavers were sacrificed to the sentient Pyroclasm to ward off its effects while, high in the sky, a brilliant solar flare from Ignax bathed the battlefield in bright light.
As the Bloodstoker bravely whipped Skaarac into a frenzy, the Bloodsecrator planted the Portal of Skulls, opening up a gateway to Khorne’s own kingdom in the Realm of Chaos. Amplified by the Overlord Bastion he was within, the blood crazed effects of the icon started to spread through almost the entire Bloodbound force.
However, the Bloodbound proved unusually disciplined and they heeded the commands of the Exalted Deathbringer, holding their ground to bait the Stormcasts into charging them.
The Drakesworn Templar dismissed any plan the Bloodbound may have cobbled together, and proudly led the Stormcasts forward to storm the walls. His Stardrake responded to the power of Ignax, and flames started shooting out of its mouth alongside lightning. Behind the Extremis Chamber, two Liberators gladly relinquished their lives to appease the Pyroclasm, returning to Azyrheim with honour.
The Tempestors were the first to attack, opening up with their Volleystorm Crossbows upon the Bloodreavers who served as a bodyguard tot he Bloodsecrator.
Eight Bloodreavers fell to the salvo, joined by another six when the Judicators following up the Tempestors loosed their Skybolt Arrows. However, under the influence of the Portal of Skulls, the Bloodreavers did not waver, even under this terrible assault.
The Stardrake ridden by the Drakesworn Templar growled a command that the firmament itself obeyed, and stars started falling from the sky. Several struck the Overlord Bastion and Numinous Occulum, but simply splintered apart on the hard stone rather than injuring those inside. Another struck Skaarac hard in the chest, and the beats bellowed with rage, impatient to get to grips with the oncoming Stormcasts.
Battle Round Two
He did not have long to wait, as the Drakesworn Templar gave orders for the Stormcasts to increase their pace and charge.
As the Numinous Occulum burst into flames as the power of Ignax waxed, the Tempestors thundered forward to pepper Skaarac with their Volleystorm Corssbows, their accuracy causing the creature to writhe in pain even as the Drakesworn Templar approached.
The Desolators replaced the Tempestors in hammering the Bloodreavers, finishing them off with Storm Blasts from their Dracoths while, on the other side of the battlefield, the Concussors unleashed their own storm upon a second retinue of Bloodreavers.
Judicators tried to get sight of the Bloodsecrator, but few of their arrows made it past the thick walls of the Bastion.
Then, the lead elements of the Stormcasts hit the Bloodbound line with a crack that resounded across the Ironwarp Citadel.
The impact of the Stardrake sent Skaarac reeling, vainly flailing at the Drakesworn Templar with his claws as the Stormcast gouged several deep wounds that made a mockery of armour.
At the Templar’s side, the Fulminators levelled their Stormstrike Glaives at the Mighty Skullcrushers, spearing one through the throat before they could react. A little further along the line, the Concussors charged the Bloodreavers who had survived their Storm Blasts, riding over them with ease.
The Stormcasts initial assault had been fast and hard, though the Bloodbound were far from being broken.
An Ash Storm swept over the battlefield, reducing the visibility of all combatants. More importantly for the Bloodbound, it blocked the effects of the Bloodsecrator’s Portal of Skulls, and some of the frenzied blood lust left the defenders just when they needed it most to repel the Stormcasts.
However, the two Slaughterpriests within the Numinous Occulum knew there was more than one way to channel the power of Khorne and, together, they enacted rituals that boiled the blood inside one of the Fulminators, sending him back to Sigmar before the Stormcast knew what had happened.
To the relief of the Exalted Deathbringer, reinforcements showed up as Bloodreavers leapt over the outermost wall of the Ironwarp Citadel to confront the Concussors and halt their advance.
The rest of the Bloodbound moved forward to block the Stormcast advance and surround their lead units.
Bone tentacles from the Khorgorath plunged into the Stardrake, before the creature rushed the Tempestors. The Stormcasts were caught off-guard by this sudden attack, but their Dracoths reacted on instinct and savaged the Khorgorath before it could do much damage to their riders.
In the centre of the battlefield, Skaarac rallied himself to strike back at the Stardrake, but the Templar was ready for any of the Bloodborn’s tricks and once again Skaarac was forced backwards. As the Templar raised his Stormlance to deliver the final blow, Skaarac held up a clawed hand to ward off death – just as the Bloodcrushers charged.
The impact of their Juggernauts smashing into the side of the Stardrake knocked the creature off its feet and spilled the Templar to the ground. Taking advantage of their Juggernaut’s momentum, the Bloodletter riders swept down with their Hellblades, dispatching both Stardrake and Templar together.
One of the Fulminators avenged the Templar after a fashion, piercing Skaarac’s black heart with his glaive, but the damage had been done. The mightiest of the Stormcast had been banished from the battlefield.
Elsewhere, Blood Warriors confronted both the Concussors and Desolators. The Concussors were well into their stride now, smashing apart six Blood Warriors before they had time to strike, forcing another two to run.
The Desolators fared almost as well, though the Blood Warriors did manage to take one of the Stormcasts down and succeeded in holding the rest up.
The initial assault of the Stormcast had been halted but now the Warrior Chamber closed in to lend its weight, its Stormcasts hoping they could bend then break then Bloodbound. However, both sides keenly felt the losses of the Drakesworn Templar and Skaarac the Bloodborn.
Battle Round Three
Once again, the power of Ignax caused buildings to burst into flame, but both sides were now far more cautious and avoided being burnt alive. With the Ash Storm clearing, the Bloodsecrator once more planted his Portal of Skulls, and a red light bathed the battlefield, driving the Bloodbound into a frenzy.
More reinforcements arrived, with a small retinue of Mighty Skullcrushers trotting out of one of the gates to guard against any moves the Stormcast might make on their left flank.
The Slaughterpriests once again enacted their rites, and another Fulminator succumbed to their blood being boiled, but Khorne was not happy with one of the Slaughterpriests, and sent crippling pain to remind him to show more respect.
As one, the leaders of the Bloodbound moved in to fill the gaps left by their weaker underlings. Together, the Exalted and Aspiring Deathbringers attacked the Fulminators, though their weapons did little more than dent armour, and the Exalted Deathbringer had his arm gouged by a Dracoth’s fang. Meanwhile, the Bloodstoker charged the Tempestors, pulling one Stormcast off his mount with a whip, then ending his life with a thrust of a blade.
The Concussors finally managed to work their way free of the few Blood Warriors who had pinned them down, but one of their number fell to a crazed Blood Warrior who threw himself upon the Stormcasts before dying. However, the Concussors were now free to act, and they assemble themselves to make a charge against the Bloodreavers who defended the wall.
The Stormcast advance had noticeably slowed, but Ignax sent a Raging Heatwave onto the battlefield, infusing everyone, Stormcast and Bloodbound alike, with a murderous rage. The Lord-Relictor used this fury to channel Sigmar’s own power, and he summoned a lightning that burnt a Bloodcrusher to a crisp before leading Retributors in a charge.
Lightning surged form the Dracoths of the Tempestors, causing the Bloodstoker to jerk violently before falling still to the ground, even as two Bloodcrushers went down to the hammers of the Retributors and Lord-Relictor.
Close to the wall, the Concussors charged line abreast towards the Bloodreavers, barely noticing as they rode right over the barbarians, wiping them out to a man.
Storm Blasts from the Desolators rocked the Overlord Bastion, and this time found their way to the Bloodsecrator. The Portal of Skulls was finally closed, and the Bloodbound wilted noticeably without its boon.
As the second wave of the Stormcast Eternals followed the Dracothian Guard, the Warrior Chamber was finally in a position to show what it could do. Liberators rushed forward to support the beleaguered Fulminators, surrounding the Aspiring Deathbringer, and laying him low with their hammers.
Battle Round Four
The battlefield was now littered with the dead and injured but while the Stormcasts had enjoyed some successes, the Bloodbound had indeed managed to slow them down and, aside from the Concussors, no Stormcasts had reached the walls.
Feeling that time was now set against them the Tempestors broke free of the Bloodcrushers and, joined by the Desolators, thundered towards the Ironwarp Citadel.
Invigorated by their easy victory over the Aspiring Deathbringer, the retinue of Liberators sought out a new target, just as the Skullgrinder emerged from the shadows of the Numinous Occulum. With some glee, they charged once more.
However, the Liberator-Prime soon began to wonder if they had not made a mistake, as the Skullgrinder’s anvil smashed into their shields, forcing the Liberators back and leaving them unable to strike.
The combined power of two retinues of Retributors and the Lord-Relictor proved irresistible to the Bloodcrushers, and the last of the daemons was destroyed. However, it was with some dismay that the Lord-Relictor saw more Bloodcrushers leave the Ironwarp Citadel, just in time to intercept the Tempestors and stop their advance once again.
Yet another Fulminator succumbed to Blood Boiling from the Slaughterpriests but, once again, Khorne was not happy with the way one of them performed the ritual, and the Slaughterpriest’s own blood briefly burned with angry fire.
As a Solar Flare from Ignax bathed the battlefield in bright light, the Bloodbound refused to pay further homage to the Pyroclasm, and the firestorm swept down upon them with a vengeance, burning all in its path.
The Skullcrushers and Bloodcrushers combined their weight to lead a charge against the Tempestors. One of the Stormcasts was wounded in their attack, but a Dracoth was quick enough to turn round and snatch one Chaos Warrior from the back of a Juggernaut, savaging then flinging him across the battlefield.
The Liberator-Prime’s premonition about the Skullgrinder proved to be prescient, as the anvil cracked the skulls of the Liberators, leaving the Prime to face him alone.
The Skullgrinder’s anvil thudded repeatedly into the Liberator-Prime’s shield, sending him spinning backwards but, somehow, the Stormcast managed to block all of the Skullgrinder’s swings.
Battle Round Five
Once again, the Pyroclasm was slighted by the Bloodbound and, once again, it descended upon them with wrath, seriously injuring one of the Slaughterpriests who emerged from the depths of the Numinous Occulum to target the Concussors who were beginning to pound at the outer wall of the Ironwarp Citadel. Briefly one turned back to boil the blood of the last Fulminator, removing the retinue from the battle completely.
The gates of the Ironwarp Citadel swung open once more, this time to disgorge more Skullcrushers who promptly charged into the few surviving Tempestors, leaving just one alive to hold all the Juggernauts of the Bloodbound in one place.
As another Ash Storm descended upon the battlefield, the Stormcasts raced for the walls, knowing that if they did not reach them soon, the Bloodbound would be able to summon overwhelming reinforcements.
Even the Retributors were able to lend their support as, led by the Lord-Relictor, they charged into the Bloodcrushers in a desperate attempt to relieve the Tempestor. However, even as they destroyed one of the daemons, reality blinked and it reappeared in front of them, grinning with undisguised blood lust.
Battle Round Six
The Stormcasts made a final push for the walls, finally securing them for the massive army that followed in their wake.
As the Judicators began to open up on the Juggernauts with their Boltstorm Crossbows, Stormcasts began to scale the walls and slaughter the few defenders that had reached them.
However, it proved too late for the Liberator-Prime who duelled the Skullgrinder, the massive anvil finally caving in his chest to send his spirit soaring back to Azyrheim. He departed in honour though, ready to report to the Go-King that the outer defences of the Ironwarp Citadel had fallen and the main attack could now begin.
Another fun battle on a great looking table – this is what Age of Sigmar is all about!
I mentioned this battle on the Age of Sigmar Fans Facebook page, and the reaction was fairly uniform – the Extremis Chamber was going to roll right over the Bloodbound. And yes, they did. Of course they did.
However, that was not the aim of the battle. The Bloodbound were never going to be able to mount a credible defence against an assault from the Extremis Chamber. The Ironwarp Citadel is simply too large and the Stormcasts too mobile to be able to deploy a defence in force. What they had to do was slow the Stormcasts down long enough for reinforcements to arrive.
And they came quite close to doing that – the Stormcasts only reached the walls in strength on their very last turn, and that was only because the Tempestors effectively sacrificed themselves by getting the attention of every Juggernaut on the battlefield.
So, advantage Stormcast, but it could certainly have gone the other way!
It was a shame that we did not get to see more of the Drakesworn Templar or Skaarac, but a confrontation between those two was always going to result in disaster for both. Never fret though, we will see both return to the fight for the Ironwarp Citadel before the war is over!
The Story Continues…
With a path forged through the defences of the Ironwarp Citadel, the Stormcasts and Fyreslayers will be able to force an entry over and through the outer walls – but as the Bloodbound rally to their presence and flood the area with murderous warriors, will the forces of Order be able to secure their foothold?