A new front has been opened up in the Realm of Life, within the Scabrous Sprawl. The Stormcast Eternals are trying to wipe out the Skaven there, but Archaon has his own plans for the region…
The Story So Far
The Stormcasts, despite their numbers, had become well and truly mired in the Scabrous Sprawl, with the Skaven fighting them to a standstill. Weeks, and then months passed. Billions of Skaven died, but they were always replaced by new generations of hordes pouring from the breeding decks of the parasite engines.
More Stormhosts were committed to fight them, and so the war continued. One parasite engine had been destroyed, but the battle had cost too many Stormcasts and could not be repeated.
Battles started to spring up around fresh geomantic nodes that lay across the Scabrous Sprawl. If the Stormcasts could capture and cleanse them, they could begin breaking the hold of Chaos on the region. However, the Skaven had their designs for the geomantic nodes too. The Stormcasts blasted the nodes with lightning, while parasite engines tore them up to consume their energies. The land bucked and stirred under this continuous attack.
Something very powerful was being disturbed.
Behemat was the World Titan, a Godbeast Star Gargant of colossal proportions, in deep slumber beneath the Scabrous Sprawl. Archaon had commanded the Skaven to corrupt the geomantic nodes in a bid to turn the Godbeast to his own purpose, as he had with Ignax in the Realm of Fire.
From far away on the other side of the Realm of Life, Alarielle felt what was happening and sent a message to the Stormcasts – they must stop Archaon waking Behemat and, if they failed… they would have to destroy it.
The Stormcasts redoubled their efforts to cleanse the geomantic nodes, even as Verminlord Gnawsoul commanded his Skaven to fortify them. All around their armies, the land split and broke apart as Behemat stirred, swallowing whole forces and burying huge parasite engines.
While the war now involves millions of Skaven and several Stormhosts (and, as we will soon see, the forces of Nurgle and the Gargants are getting involved too!), this battle focuses on one specific engagement between the Pillars of Geostasis.
Stormvermin x 20
Clanrats x 60 (three units of 20)
This is a ‘standard’ Clan Verminus force but, like all good Skaven armies, it has it where it counts. So long as they stick close to their Warlord, those Stormvermin will be capable of tackling anything the Stormcasts bring along, while the Verminlord Warbringer carries the burden of heavy support. The Clanrats tend to run away a lot, but they are solid enough and are present in number.
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Liberators x 15 (three units of 5)
Prosecutors x 9 (three units of 3)
The Stormcasts have some advantages over the Skaven, such as the Decimators being supremely well-equipped for dealing with large numbers of rats. However, they will have to find a good answer (and early on) for both the Verminlord and the Stormvermin if they are to win this battle.
The Stormcasts are trying to fight their way across the battlefield in a bid to reach the geomantic node and cleanse it. All they have to do is get a third of their starting models off the opposite table edge (a quarter for a minor victory). However, as always, there are some complications…
Most notably, the land is in turmoil, and players have to roll on the Seismic Wrath chart every round to see if they just experience minor tremors or whether there is total tectonic upheaval! The Lord-Relictor can calm or anger the land, as he sees fit.
In addition, there is a new Time of War sheet covering the Scabrous Sprawl which now comes into effect.
Behemat, the World Titan, is shedding great waves of energy that affect everyone fighting above him. These blessings may grant units a skin of stone, titanic vigour, or one of several other effects. In addition, the Godbeast’s stirrings may cause a massive quake during the battle.
The Stormcasts felt distinctly outnumbered by the horde of Skaven lining up in front of them, and so they spread out, seeking any gap that might appear in the enemy line.
Battle Round One
The Verminlord watched the Stormcasts approach on a line, nose twitching as Clanrats scampered about his feet. It deigned to throw a Mystic Shield over the Stormvermin, but commanded its army to hold their ground and wait for the enemy to approach.
As one the Skaven chittered in glee as the World Titan Behemat made his presence felt. The ground shook violently as a massive quake centred on the Stormcasts broke the land. Prosecutors were unable to take off in time, and one of them tumbled into a crevice that opened up beneath him, and sealed just as quickly. The Lord-Relictor stumbled and fell, heaving himself out of an abyss just as the ground closed up again, crushing a leg.
The Stormcasts advanced unsteadily, the Prosecutors still forced to walk as Behemat’s presence inexorably drew them downwards.
However, the quake had moved on, and now the Skaven were shaken to their bones as the ground churned beneath their feet. Stormvermin and Clanrats tumbled into the bowels of the Earth, but the shaking ground upset the aim of the Judicators and most of their Skybolts went wide, only their Prime scoring a single kill on a Stormvermin.
Battle Round Two
Seeing the Stormcasts fighting against the effects of Behemat, the Verminlord ordered his Stormvermin to advance as a unit of Clanrats kept pace with them.
A chasm opened up under the Decimators, dropping one of the Paladins under the earth, and the Verminlord took advantage of their distraction, rushing forward with more Clanrats in his wake.
As the Clanrats picked their way through the trees to find a retinue of Liberators waiting for them, the Verminlord threw caution to the wind and dived into the middle of the Stormcast formation, determined to rip their heart out early in the battle.
Picking his target, the Verminlord unleashed a series of powerful swipes at the Lord-Celestant, causing the Stormcast to reel backwards under the assault. The Verminlord’s glaive rained blow after blow upon the Lord-Celestant, but his Sigmarite armour held firm, suffering no more than a few heavy dents. However, the attack put him on the backfoot, and his own sword and hammer did no more than scratch the Verminlord.
In the trees, a Liberator was pulled down quickly by the Clanrats, but the others quickly assembled a shield wall that resisted the Skaven’s blades and spears.
Just a short distance away, the Stormvermin rushed through another woods to surprise the Liberators behind it.
Despite their training and armour, the Liberators had no defence against the speed and viciousness of the Stormvermin, and three were slain in seconds. The nerve of the last two broke and they ran, leaving the Boltstorm-armed Judicators to face the wrath of the Stormvermin.
Behemat continued to shake the land, and still the Prosecutors were unable to take to the air, crippling their ability to out-manouevre the Skaven and stalling the Lord-Celestant’s plans.
Seeing the Stormvermin were in very real danger of completely smashing the Stormcast’s centre, the Knight-Venator drew his bow and directed both retinues of Judicators to concentrate their fire up them. However, the quaking land ruined any chance of precision fire, and the Stormvermin suffered few casualties.
Their momentum carried them headlong into the Judicators, but the Stormcasts were prepared this time. The staunch defence of the Judicators only killed a single Stormvermin with a thrust of a warblade, but this proved too much for the Skaven. Seeing the opposition they faced on the other side of the woods, most decided this was not the battle for them and they fled, leaving only the Fangleader to continue the fight.
Despite knowing he was completely outmatched, the Lord-Celestant bravely fought the Verminlord, activating his cloak to pummel the beast with celestial hammers before scoring several telling blows with his sword. However, the Verminlord was a canny warrior, and it kicked the Lord-Celestant to the ground before impaling him through the chest with its glaive.
The battle in the trees between the Liberators and Clanrats was fast developing into a stand off. Neither side could deliver a telling blow against the other, though a couple of Clanrats at the rear of the unit took the opportunity to sneak away to safety.
Battle Round Three
Briefly, the land stopped shaking, and the Skaven took advantage of this to bring their two reserve units of Clanrats into the battle, each aiming to halt the all-too-slow advance of Prosecutors on the flanks.
The Clanrats had intended to simply block the advance of the Stormcasts, but the Warlord with one of their units got over-excited and cajoled the Skaven into a rash attack. They were not happy about this, but felt more threatened by their own leader than a few silver Stormcasts.
Only three Clanrats and two Liberators died in the battle tat quickly erupted, but neither side was willing to prolong the fight and many fled the battlefield, on both sides.
Further away, as the Boltstorm-armed Judicators dispatched the Stormvermin’s Fangleader, the Decimators finally managed to move into reach of the Verminlord and their massive axes soon brought the creature down to the ground where they could methodically hack it apart.
Both armies had suffered heavily, but with the demise of the Verminlord and his Stormvermin, the Stormcasts now had a clear line through the centre of the battlefield and they took advantage of it, running as fast as the shaking ground would allow.
Seeing a lone Liberator fending off a horde of Clanrats on one flank, the Knight-Venator drew his Starfated Arrow from its quiver, and took aim at the Skaven Warlord. The arrow arced across the sky unerringly, and embedded itself in the Warlord’s neck, much to the Skaven’s (rather short-lived) surprise.
Battle Round Four
The aura of the World Titan once again brought all fliers to the ground, at exactly the wrong time for the Prosecutors, who had been trying to use their speed to bypass the Clanrat lines.
As one, the Clanrats reversed their advance and began pursuing the Prosecutors.
Meanwhile, the Clanrats remaining in the centre broke off from the Liberators they had been fruitlessly trying to shift from the woods and raced to cut off the Lord-Relictor and Stormcasts he was leading off the battlefield. They squeaked in true happiness as the ground shook again, and a massive crevice opened up beneath a Judicator and the Knight-Venator, swallowing both.
As the Clanrats raced to the downed Prosecutors, a series of vicious scraps erupted across the battlefield. Though the Clanrats suffered worse, one Prosecutor was impaled on their blades.
Still unable to fly, one retinue of Prosecutors followed the Lord-Relictor as he led them across the battlefield, while another retinue was finally able to leave altogether. However, the third was still mired among Clanrats.
The last surviving Liberators broke cover from the trees to intercept the Clanrats who were chasing the Lord-Relictor. The Decimators tried to match their pace, but their heavier armour was proving to be a hindrance on the uneven ground.
Battle Round Five
Behemat shifted and this time the whole battlefield shook violently, throwing both Stormcast and Skaven to the ground.
However, the Stormcasts were determined to get past the Skaven and they soldiered onwards, the Lord-Relictor finally leading the Skybolt-armed Judicators and one retinue of Prosecutors away from the fight.
The Decimators tried hard to reach the Clanrats closest too them, hoping to at least tie them up so the last Prosecutors could get away, but it was in vain. Once again, the shifting ground caused them to stumble.
Though there were few left, the Skaven still outnumbered the Stormcasts, and these were odds they favoured. Eager for blood, Clanrats scampered after the Stormcasts before they could get away.
A nasty skirmish quickly developed near the centre of the battlefield, with Judicators trying to fend off the Clanrats that mobbed around them. Both sides took casualties and, once again, warriors on both sides found their nerve broken as they fled from the fight.
Battle Round Six
The aura of Behemat flooded the battlefield with a titanic vigour that infused the surviving Clanrats and drive them in a frenzy of bloodletting. So empowered, they easily caught the last of the Prosecutors.
Fighting a rearguard action now, the Prosecutors defended themselves against the weapons of the Clanrats, their shields turning aside many blades. With a single, practised motion, they took a step back and then leapt into the air where their wings spread to carry them from the battlefield.
The Stormcasts had managed to get a handful of retinues across the battlefield but they were battered and in no shape to continue fighting. The Skaven, on the other hand, could easily sustain the losses they suffered and so victory, as minor as it was belonged to them this day.
This was a truly memorable battle – not least because the Knight-Venator used his Starfated Arrow upon a worthwhile enemy hero, and it actually worked!
Of course, he disappeared straight down a hole afterwards…
The major factor that affected this battle was the Battleplan rules and Time of War sheet that reflected the effects of a World Titan waking up beneath everyone. This powerfully affected the Stormcasts who really struggled to get across the battlefield (the Prosecutors could not fly for much of the battle, and everyone had their movement and running reduced).
The margin of victory in this battle was (once again) minor – if the Stormcasts had managed to get just one more model off the table (just one!), they could have claimed a minor victory for themselves.
Still, the closest battles are the best ones!
The Story Continues…
Next time, we are travelling up to the Great Green Torc that hangs above the Scabrous Sprawl, as Archaon’s full plan to enslave Behemat becomes all too apparent. Other forces are stirring though, and it will take two tables and two Battleplans to properly do this fight justice!