We have an epic in store this time round – four armies, battling on two tables, using two linked Battleplans, and a band of rogue giants!
The Story So Far
High above the Scabrous Sprawl hung the Great Green Torc, a massive ring made from the soulstuff of a dozen seasons, connected to the Jade Kingdoms by the Grand Umbilicus. One end of the torc represented Rebirth and as one travelled the torc, the seasons manifested as domains of both time and place, culminating in Death and the Amethyst Gate, said to lead to the realm of Nagash.
Once, the greatest of Gargants presided over the torc, along with vast tribes of spider-worshipping Grots. However, the coming of Nurgle’s Brayherds corrupted the torc as they had over every land they walked, and the Gargants fled down the Grand Umbilicus, only to find the lands below to be infected.
The Great Green Torc was destined to become a battleground, however, as it was part of Archaon’s threefold grand plan. First, he had used the Skaven to gnaw under the ground and awake the Godbeast Behemat, and then he had assured its placidity by use of the Daemonfly Curse. Next, he would bind Behemat into eternal servitude by placing the corrupted Great Green Torc around the Godbeast’s neck. With two Godbeasts at Archaon’s command, the siege of Sigmar’s realm would be soon in coming.
Led by Lord-Celestant Gardus, the Hallowed Knights and Stark Hammers launched an assault upon the Great Green Torc, sweeping aside the Nurgle Brayherds wherever they were found. Quickly, the Brayherds gave way, their Bray-Shamans attempting to draw the Stormcasts on into Arachnia, domain of the Spiderfang Grots. Realising he was being led into a trap, Lord-Velestant Gardus ordered a retreat, only to find his path blocked by hordes of Beastmen.
The Stormcasts soon found themselves split while below, upon the Scabrous Sprawl, more of Nurgle’s children, led by Bloab Rotpawned, were using the Grand Umbilicus to reinforce those fighting above. Only by securing the Grand Umbilicus could the Stormcasts stop the flood of Beastmen and Rotbringers, giving their brothers fighting atop the Great Green Torc a fighting chance.
However, the Sons of Behemat had been awakened by the fighting, and now a tribe of Gargants waded into the battle – but who would they do the most damage to, and could they be persuaded to fight for one side or the other?
There are two battles going on in this fight, and so we have four armies.
Bray Shamans x 2
Gors x 20 (one unit of 20, two units of 10)
Ungors x 30 (one unit of 20, one unit of 10)
Bestigors x 10
Bullgors x 9 (three units of 3)
Upon the Great Green Torc, the Brayherds are leading the charge. They face a robust defence from the Stormcasts, but can use the Grand Umbilicus throughout the battle to constantly reinforce their forces with new units.
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)
Liberators x 25 (five units of 5)
The Stormcasts just have to survive this battle, but they cannot replenish any fallen comrades. The Liberators will likely be taking the brunt of the first charges, while the Decimators will be looking to meet up with the lesser Beastmen of the Brayherd.
Blightkings x 10 (two units of 5)
Chaos Warriors x 36 (three units of 12)
Chaos Knights x 5
Plague Drones x 6 (two units of 3)
Down upon the Scabrous Sprawl, Bloab Rotspawned is leading his Rotbringers, ably assisted by Plague Drones. The Blightkings and Plague Drones have been assembled into Bloab’s Swarmbrothers, permitting Bloab to pass wounds onto them and reduce wound rolls of their enemies with the Curse of Atrophy.
Lord-Celestant on Dracoth
Fulminators x 4
Liberators x 10 (two units of 5)
Retributors x 5
Protectors x 5
Prosecutors 9 (three units of 3)
These Stormcasts are a little better organised than their brothers upon the Great Green Torc, but they also have a harder job. The large block of Fulminators are capable of ruining any unit they charge, while the Hallowed Hunt (the Knight-Venator, Celestant-Prime and two of the Prosecutor units) has sworn to end the reign of Bloab Rotspawned and all his minions.
Sons of Behemat
Gargants x 5
The Sons of Behemat are the spoilers upon the Scabrous Sprawl. They will be entering the battle on no one’s side but their own, and will likely prove utterly lethal to anyone who annoys them.
The first Battleplan is Stem the Tide, and it takes place on the Great Green Torc. The Stormcasts merely have to survive for seven rounds, and are so determined to stand their ground that they have a chance of inflicting mortal wounds whenever they die in close combat. Their staunch defence is also unnerving to the Brayherds, who will have their Bravery gradually reduced throughout the battle.
However, the Brayherds can recycle slain units for as long as the Grand Umbilicus stays functional (see the next battle below!). They will be free to simply throw themselves at the Stormcasts, again and again, until their enemies finally break.
During this battle, we will be using the Great Green Torc Time of War sheet. The effects of this vary, depending where on the Great Green Torc you are fighting, but we will be using The Reaping – any models that suffer wounds are inflicted with greater damage, while the Bray-Shamans know the Harvester of Pain spell, which deals mortal wounds to targets. Whoever wins this battle wins the entire fight.
The battle on the Scabrous Sprawl, Fleeting Fealty, is a bit more complicated.
Here, the Stormcasts are trying to destroy the Grand Umbilicus – not an easy job, as it has been reinforced. Once this is accomplished, the Brayherds on the Great Green Torc no longer receive reinforcements, giving the Stormcasts fighting there a decent chance of victory.
This will be disrupted by the Sons of Behemat. The Gargants will wander onto the table once the fighting starts, flanking both armies. At the start of every battle round, both players can try to make a pact with the Gargants, bringing them under their command. Needless to say, killing a Gargant is unlikely to endear them to a player…
Upon the Scabrous Sprawl the Stormcasts lined up to await the command to advance from the Lord-Celestant. Opposite them, the Rotbringers deployed in a more defensive posture, knowing they had to hold the Realmgate at all costs.
High above them, on the Great Green Torc, the Stormcasts were under serious pressure from the endless hordes of the Brayherds even before the battle proper began.
Battle Round One
On the Scabrous Sprawl, the Lord-Celestant wasted no time as he ordered his men to advance, closing range as quickly as possible.
The Knight-Venator drew his Starfated Arrow as he lined up on Bloab Rotspawned, and the missile flew true to its target. However, the Maggoth Lord drew upon the essence of his followers and distributed the massive amount of damage among his Plague Drones and Blightkings, leaving him relatively unscathed.
Then, the Fulminators struck the line.
Eight Chaos Warriors went down immediately to the Fulminators’ glaives and the jaws of their Dracoths, and the bravery of the others failed, causing them to break and flee the battlefield. Bloab Rotspawned led a counterattack that saw one Fulminator pulled off his Dracoth and thrown to the ground.
On the other side of the battlefield, the Lord-Celestant smashed into the Chaos Knights, but their formation held, with only one knight brained by the Celestine Hammer.
Above, on the Great Green Torc, the Brayherd ran recklessly towards their foes.
Lifting a massive boulder high above its head, the Cygor spotted the Lord-Relictor taking cover behind some ferns. The rock sailed through the air with dreadful accuracy, and landed amongst the foliage, crushing the Lord-Relictor utterly.
Ungors were the first to reach the Stormcast line, but they were soon joined by other lead elements of the Brayherd, including Gors and Bullgors. The Liberator shieldwall held firm against the Gors and Ungors, but they were no match for the huge axes of the Bullgors who quickly sent four Stormcasts back to Azyrheim in a welter of bloodletting.
The Lord-Celestant, pained at the loss of his Lord-Relictor so early, warned his Stormcasts to have caution and forbade their advance. Heeding his words, the Retributors pulled back, fearing an attack from the rear.
The Judicators then opened up, hoping to whittle down the Brayherd before it could advance much further.
Boltstorm Crossbows shredded nearby Gors, while Skybolts arced across the sky to land among the Bullgors as Liberators moved forward to cover the Judicators. The hammers of Liberators finally convinced the Gors it was a better idea to flee the battlefield, but the Bullgors dispatched the last of the Stormcasts they faced and prepared to advance once more, despite having lost one of their number.
As Bloab’s Daemonflies swirled around the Fulminators, the Rotbringer sorcerer also threw a Miasma of Pestilence upon them while Chaos Warriors and Blight kings advanced.
The Fulminators, unable to take advantage of their charge any longer, began to suffer under the waves of Rotbringers they faced. Blightkings killed one of their number, while Bloab himself claimed another.
One retinue of Blightkings managed to reach the Stormcast line and had no hesitation at throwing themselves at the Protectors waiting for them.
One Protector went down to their wild swings, but the Retributors of the Stark Hammers counterattacked with their massive weapons, lightning cracks resounding across the battlefield as Blightkings were crushed under their weight.
Then, with a great bellowing that caused every warrior to look to the east, the Sons of Behemat arrived, five huge Gargants led by their tribal king.
Battle Round Two
Bloab Rotspawned developed a sudden sinking feeling as he saw the Gargant King and Lord-Celestant exchange brief nods – had they planned an alliance before the battle started? If so, there seemed to be little way his force of Rotbringers could possibly fight the Gargants and Stormcasts on equal terms…
However, while the Rotbringers held onto the Realmgate, the Brayherd would prove unstoppable and, already, more beastmen were arriving on the Great Green Torc to form a second wave to sweep aside the Stormcast defenders.
The Cygor hefted another boulder at the Stormcasts, this one just narrowly missing the Lord-Celestant. The leading Bullgors were now right in the thick of the Stormcasts, who were desperately trying to bring the brutes down before they ripped the heart out of their army. Another Bullgor fell, but only at the cost of another three Liberators.
By now, the Cygor had also reached the Stormcasts, rushing the Liberators who had already seen off a unit of Gors. However, once again, their Sigmarite shieldwall proved firm, and even the mighty blows of the Cygor bounced off them harmlessly.
Down below, upon the Scabrous Sprawl, a Protector grasped at his helmet as he succumbed to the waves of virulent diseases rolling off the Blightkings
Behind them, Bloab’s Maggoth spewed acidic bile at the last Fulminator, completely drenching both man and beast, quickly dissolving them into a sticky paste. More Blightkings struck the Stormcast line, this time hitting a shieldwall of Liberators. However, the Blightkings were more skilled at fighting Stormcasts than Brayherds, and they quickly sought out gaps between the shields, their weapons dispatching there Liberators in quick succession.
On the opposite flank, Plague Drones buzzed into another retinue of Liberators but this time the shieldwall held, with only one Liberator being crushed by the bulk of a drone.
Prosecutors took advantage of the defensive posture of the Rotbringers, and swept round the right flank, ready to launch an assault upon the Realmgate itself.
The Rotbringers had bigger problems than that, however, as the Gargants began to reach them. The Gargant King made a beeline for the Plague Drones, crushing two of them instantly with a mighty swing of his club, while one of his brothers barreled into the Chaos Knights fighting the Lord-Celestant, flattening man and horse in seconds.
Then, a might crash that shook the ground resounded across the battlefield, and the Lord-Celestant cursed. One of the Gargants, clearly drunk out of its tiny mind, had stumbled as it tried to reach the Rotbringers, and was only now just clumsily picking itself up.
On the Great Green Torc, more Bullgors carved their way into the Stormcast host, axes sweeping clear everything before them. The Lord-Celestant activated his cloak and a hail of mystical hammers battered a Bullgor to death. However, despite being surrounded by Stormcasts, the last Bullgor refused to die.
Battle Round Three
More beastmen poured out of the Realmgate, and the Lord-Celestant began to doubt whether even his Stormcasts could hold the line against them.
Worse, they had now been joined by two Bray-Shamans, who wasted no time in flinging Arcane Bolts into the Liberators who had defeated the first wave of Gors and were now blocking the advance of the Cygor.
Fights erupted throughout the jungle, with the Stormcasts forced onto the backfoot. However, the Lord-Celestant was gratified to see the rampaging Bullgor finally brought down.
With the Gargants at their side, the Stormcasts were almost unstoppable. Despite having sustained heavy losses early on, they now led the charge to the Realmgate, believing nothing could halt their assault now.
As they swept towards the Realmgate, Prosecutors hurled javelins into the last Plague Drone tying up the Liberators and Gargant King, freeing almost the entire force to march onwards. In response, and feeling a little nervous, Bloab Rotspawned ordered the surviving Chaos Warriors to ring the Realmgate and make oaths that not one Stormcast or Gargant would pass their line on pain of the most vile punishment the Maggoth Lord could devise.
Realising he was now very much in the front line of his army, Bloab hurled an Arcane Bolt at a Retributor, before his Maggoth vomited a long stream of acidic bile at the Knight-Azyros. This took the Stormcast completely by surprise and he flew right into the stream, the acid burning threw his wings and armour as he crashed to the ground.
Meanwhile, a unit of Chaos Warriors advanced to ward off the Prosecutors threatening to flank them.
As one, they rushed the Prosecutors, catching and killing two before the Stormcasts could muster a response.
On the Great Green Torc, the weight of the Brayherd was causing the Stormcast line to bend and buckle. The Boltstorm-armed Judicators turned and fled from combat to reform just a short distance behind, beginning the formation of a new line. Decimators rushed to take their place, and their axes finally hewed through the thick tree-like legs of the Cygor, bringing it crashing to the ground amidst the foliage.
Battle Round Four
The fight on the Scabrous Sprawl was now descending into complete chaos, much to the consternation of Bloab Rotspawned. While his Rotbringers had achieved small victories and still held the Realmgate, the Stormcasts and Gargants were now getting far too close for comfort. His one consolation was that the Stormncasts had suffered heavy casualties themselves and were now completely reliant upon the Gargants for victory.
The battle was brought into sharp focus for Bloab as he realised that he was being assaulted by the last Protector, a small retinue of Liberators and, worst of all, the Gargant King.
Desperately he flailed with his scythe, trying to keep his attackers at bay managed to decapitate the Protector. However, there was no defence against the mighty club of the Gargant King and his Maggoth was knocked sideways by the force of the king’s blow. Bloab used his powers to transfer most of the damage onto a nearby Plague Drone that immediately popped liked a diseased balloon, but both the sorcerer and his Maggoth were badly injured by the attack.
The Lord-Celestant led one of the Gargants in a charge against some of the Chaos Warriors shielding the Realmgate, but the Rotbringers were waiting for this attack. They opened up their ranks as the Dracoth pounded in, then closed immediately, Though the Lord-Celestant bravely fought on, slaying two of the Chaos Warriors, the rest quickly overpowered him.
Hurting badly, Bloab Rotspawned decided he had had enough. Urging his Maggoth on, he turned tail away from the angry Gargant King and fled to the Realmgate, seeking protection among his beleaguered Chaos Warriors.
He noted with satisfaction that the flanking Prosecutors had almost been dispatched by the Chaos Warriors facing them, leaving the Maggoth Lord with a new path of retreat if he needed it – and he guessed he would.
As a Bray-Shaman hurled an Arcane Bolt at a Decimator, more reinforcements arrived for the Brayherd on the Great Green Torc.
Battle Round Five
A massive, swirling melee sprang up around the last Liberators as Gors and Ungors flowed around them like a river. Attacked from all sides, the Liberators could not hold out long, and they went down, one by one, to the spears and blades of the Brayherd.
Close by, a devastating charge by a unit of Bestigors also swept through the last of the Decimators.
Now, there was nothing between the Brayherd and the Stormcasts very last line of defence.
Worse was to come for the Stormcasts, this time down below on the Scabrous Sprawl. The Gargant King looked around for his friend, the Lord-Celestant, and found him missing. Dimly, slowly, the Gargant King considered this. Either his friend had been killed, probably by other Stormcasts that were jealous of him, or he had run away. Whatever the reason, the shiny Stormcasts clearly had to be punished.
Bloab Rotspawned smiled as it began to dawn on him that the Gargants were listening to the bellows of their king and preparing to attack the Stormcasts – just in time! With the Gargants now on the side of the Rotbringers, the Realmgate was safe!
Then, the heavens opened, and a brilliant bolt of lightning smacked into the ground near the Realmgate with a force that caused Bloab’s Maggoth to stumble. As the flash cleared, the Maggoth Lord could see a dreadful shape emerge.
The Celestant-Prime had arrived.
Pausing only to direct the path of a comet to the Chaos Warriors nearby, the Celestant-Prime, suspended upon wings of light, soared to the Realmgate. Ghal Maraz was raised just once, then brought down with all the power of the God-King behind it.
The Realmgate immediately cracked, and then collapsed into ruin, arcane energies spilling from its stones in all directions.
In the nick of time, the Stormcasts had destroyed the Realmgate and prevented the constant waves of beastmen reaching the Great Green Torc. But had they succeeded in time? Could the other Stormcast army hold out long enough to make it count?
Battle Round Six
On the Great Green Torc, a retinue of Retributors made a lonely, desperate charge into the heart of the advancing Brayherd, aiming straight for the Bestigors. Their hammers fell with inevitable weight, wiping the Bestigors out in a series of thunderous flashes. It was a gamble intended to delay the Brayherd for just a moment, but now the Retributors were surrounded by beastmen.
Then, a terrible roar resounded from the jungle behind the Stormcasts – their worst fear had now been realised, for a Bray-Shaman had summoned a beast of Chaos to the battlefield, and even now it was racing through the foliage towards the retinue of Retributors tasked with holding the rearguard.
A Great Chaos Spined Beast bounded towards the Retributors, leaving them little time to turn and face it with their hammers. Though they managed to land several punishing blows upon its constantly mutating form, one Retributor fell to its ravening jaws while another was impaled by its spikes. To his shame, a third Retributor ran into the jungle, never to be heard from again.
By now, beastmen of every description were pouring through the gaps left in the Stormcast force, and the final assault could only be seconds away. Another Cygor entered the fray, hurling a boulder that crushed the life out of a nearby Retributor.
The Boltstorm-armed Judicators formed a hasty line in front of their Lord-Celestant as the the Brayherd approached but they were quickly overwhelmed by Gors and Bullgors.
Battle Round Seven
As Retributors finally killed the Great Chaos Spined Beast, tghe Lord-Celestant ordered the Judicators protecting him to leave. With heavy hearts, they retreated, leaving their commander to face the combined weight of both Gors and Bullgors. The Lord-Celestant fought valiantly, holding the Brayherd back almost single-handedly, but his armour could not resist the blows of the Bullgors’ axes for long, and soon the Brayherd emerged from the foliage, their weapons dripping with blood.
With their commander now lost, the Stormcast line wavered, and the Brayherd sensed weakness. With terrible bellows, they faced forward, Bullgor following Ungor as they charged the last of the Stormcasts.
Bullgors soon finished off the Boltstorm-armed Judicators, and the jungle trembled as the two last pockets of Stormcast resistance – the Skybolt-armed Judicators and last of the Retributors – fought the oncoming waves of the Brayherd.
Another Retributor quickly fell in the bitter fighting, but the Stormcasts battled on, concentrating only on the beastman in front of them before moving to the next. Gors and Ungors fell to their Sigmarite weapons, and even the Bullgors were forced to take a step back.
Then, the nerve of the Brayherd failed. They had taken too many losses and, despite throwing their full weight forward, Stormcasts were still fighting. Gradually, they began to drift back into the jungle, hoping to find easier prey.
It had been a terrible and costly fight. But the Stormcasts stood victorious.
It does not get much more epic than that!
The fight swung back and forward on both battlefields and, in the end, only three Stormcasts stood in the way of victory for Chaos – if the Brayherd had been able to advance just a little further, had made their axes hit just a little harder, they would have won both battles!
But, that was not the way it happened on the day.
The Stormcasts did managed to break the Realmgate, this is true, but by the time they managed it, the Brayherd had already assemble enough forces to crush the Stormcasts (or not, as it turned out) on the torc, and the fighting had moved too far away from the Realmgate for reinforcements to make any difference.
It also has to be said that the Gargants made a big difference! The Rotbringers had done enough damage to the Stormcasts to hold them back, and it was the arrival (and loyalty!) of the Gargants that broke the Rotbringer line. By the same token, the Gargants changed allegiance at exactly the wrong time. The Stormcasts would have lasted, at best, a single turn against the combined force of Rotbringer and Gargant and, if it had not been for the (very) timely arrival of the Celestant-Prime, that would have been a big loss to Sigmar.
However, victory for both battlefields was to be decided by what happened on the torc, and the Stormcasts managed to hold on just long enough to grab it.
Combined, these battles took perhaps three/three and a half hours to play through, and it was great watching one fight affect the other. I fully recommend you trying this sort of battle out – and if you have to set up tables in different rooms, well, that will probably make it even more fun, especially if players do not communicate much as to how their own fights are going!
The Story Continues…
Another strange alliance develops in the next battle, as the Spiderfang Grots enter the fight. But whose side will they be on?