Author Topic: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn  (Read 1557 times)

Offline Horned Owl

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[Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« on: January 06, 2016, 03:14:39 PM »
Had a game this New Year, adapting Stargrunt II (of all systems) to the Chronopia setting. We were surprised it actually worked with minimal fuss, though the vehicle rules needed a fair bit of tweaking for large monsters and the like. (That kind of rule bending we made up on the fly while the game was underway. Having an umpire helped, but I suppose, being good-natured and relaxed gamers I suppose we would have gotten along without him.)

The action was a border conflict, with the Blackbloods moving against a Firstborn-held line of outpost towers. In scale it was somewhere between a skirmish game and a bout of Empire:Chronopia. Had we used miniatures instead of counters, the scale would probably have been 15mm. It was quick, intense, and above all, fun!
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 03:23:46 PM »
Iron-shod boots struck sparks on the polished stone floor. Curtains were torn aside, serving girls fled, scattering wine goblets and brass platters heaped with sweetmeats in their panic. The armoured Ogre at the front cut a brisk pace. Here and there, Orc soldiers of the palace guard made half-hearted attempts to form ranks, unsure whether they should hail or detain the delegation, but the Ogre´s purposeful stride, the smoldering rage on his face and the bronze lion´s head on his chest – badge of his rank as an Imperial envoy – gave them pause for a heartbeat too long. They were brushed aside, and the assault warriors and Ogre guards continued past them without a second glance.

Two Ogres double-paced forward and threw open the great bronze doors to the throne room. There was a resounding clash as they hit the wall-rests. The surprised guardsmen inside the door tried to bar the way. Golgan Khan stepped through the archway, grabbed a soldier´s spear and carelessly yanked it aside. The Orc was sent flying and sprawled on the richly carpeted floor. His comrades backed away as more and more of Golgan´s retinue filed in. The Ogres grinned menacingly, hands on the hilts of their falchions.

On the richly carved gold-and-ivory seat, Khadin Rikash, lord of the city of Udayra, shrank back from the approaching Ogre. The Orc serving-girls who had caressed him fled like a covey of partridges, dropping their fans and veils. The goblet fell from the Khadin´s hand, shatttering on the throne´s armrest and soiling his embroidered silk robes with amber wine.

Growling, the Khadin´s two Troll bodyguards stepped forward, and Golgan grinned in anticipation, but Rikash had the good sense to hold them back with a gesture of his hand. He was recovering quickly. Briefly, very briefly, he considered violence. The eager glint in the Ogre guards´ eyes dared him to. He licked his lips. Came to a decision. And rose slightly in a courtly bow: „Greetings, honoured visitors. How may this humble city serve its Emperor?“

Golgan ignored him. His gaze swept the Orc and Goblin sycophants, who hugged the walls uneasily. And it was met evenly by a man in simple checkered robes. The Firstborn had stood his ground when all the other courtiers had shrunk back, standing out amongst the gaily coloured and bejeweled crowd like a steel rod in a golden hoard. This, then, was his enemy. He had broad shoulders, for a Firstborn, and a soldierly bearing. Golgan´s eyes took in the close-cropped iron-gray hair, the ostentatious simplicity of his dress, the blue-gray irises of his cat´s eyes – all Firstborn had eyes like that, unreadable and cold. They did not change their expression as the man bowed slightly to the Imperial ambassador. A low growl started deep in Golgan Khan´s chest.

He still did not so much as glance at the Ogre on the throne, who remained frozen in mid-bow, „This is how deep your treason runs, Rikash“, he said pensively. His voice was deep, melodious and soft, not at all congruent with the rage still burning in his red eyes. „You keep the counsel of a Firstborn, conspire with the slaves, if it serves your own designs. Bold secession from the Empire, that would be a plot that the Emperor – may he live a thousand years – could understand, maybe even admire.“ Rikash tried to speak, but Golgan continued indifferently: „But cowardly secession at the sufferance of the slaves? This is pathetic.“ His gaze was still locked with the Firstborn´s, who stared up at him calmly and unafraid, despite the huge Ogre´s armoured bulk towering over him.

„Ambassador Jorgen, you will leave our presence. At once!“, the Khadin shouted, but Golgan Khan held out an arm.

„I do not think so.“ The Firstborn had not moved anyway. „The One King´s lapdogs, abroad in the Empire of Nizar Bloodbound – may he live long. Turning Orc on Orc, Ogre on Ogre, brother against brother. By the black blood in my veins, it wounds me deeply that one of my race could stoop so low. What did you promise this maggot, Firstborn? The aid of an army? Thirty pieces of silver?“

Jorgen´s voice was dry and strong. „Maybe we did not need to offer anything at all. Khadin Rikash´s position on the Empire´s border is weak enough as it is. He sits on Udayra´s throne at the One King´s mercy, who may deign to send an army and raze this city to the ground at any time He pleases. It is in the Khadin´s own interest to keep a neighbourly neutrality.“ The man made a gesture, and hands on both sides flew to the hilts of falchions.

„Keep your hands where they are, Firstborn. You are courting death here“, the leader of the Ogre guard spat. Golgan snarled at him, a sudden vicious sound, and the Ogre flinched and bowed low.

„Do you know who I am, slave?“ Golgan asked softly. The Firstborn nodded.

„You are Golgan Khan, the Emperor´s hound.“

„Sniffing out treachery against the Blood Throne. I remove threats to Nizar Bloodbound´s reign. The Emperor honours me with His confidence in this regard. You are a threat, slave, and I will remove you.“

„I am here under flag of truce and claim the right of hospitality. If my presence here is distasteful to you, I will leave at once for Firstborn lands. To harm me is to incur the wrath of the One King – and retaliation by his army.“

There was a collective growl from the Blackbloods – both the Khadin´s men and Golgan´s – at the slave-man´s insolence. Rikash rose from his throne. With a florid gesture, he began, „Begone, then, and you shall be granted safe passage to the gates, in accord with –„

Without turning, Golgan Khan backhanded the Khadin´s face so hard that teeth broke under his knuckles. The Trolls leaped forward but checked, snarling, when an Ogre guard put his boot on Rikash´s neck and drew his falchion meaningfully.

None of the Khadin´s other soldiers had moved; an uneasy silence had fallen. Without glancing at them, Golgan knew their divided loyalty, felt their resolve waver. Behind every brow, thoughts raced. The Firstborn were a hated and despised enemy; the thought of one of their own conspiring with them filled every Blackblood with revulsion. He knew he had them where he wanted them. Deposing a lord was ever a dangerous game. Power flowed to those who took the initiative; and Golgan Khan felt the thrill of it in his veins. He could tell he was winning, had been ever since he first set foot in the palace. He just had to keep up the pressure and deliver the coup de grace.

„There will be no right of truce for you, slave. You will die on my falchion, and your head will grace a banner pole at the gates of this city. And as for the One King´s anger, I could not care less, and neither does my Emperor.“ There were nods from both sides at this display of Blackblood pride. The Firstborn did not show surprise or fear. He reached behind his back and drew from the folds of his cloak a long sword with a crenellated edge. The courtiers shrank back even farther as he swung it easily, once, twice, testing its bite against the stale air of the throne room. Confidently, he stepped forward.

Golgan Khan nodded. He slowly unbuckled his breastplate, and threw it carelessly across the room. He flexed the huge muscles in his bared torso menacingly, then spat on the floor – narrowly missing the sprawling Khadin – and drew his falchion. The weapon, unlike his rich state envoy´s finery, was plain and unadorned, the carved ivory hilt worn smooth with use, a killing tool. Everyone, palace guards, courtiers, Ogre soldiers, even the Trolls, leaned forward to watch the duel unfold. Blackbloods thrived on violence, and for a moment, the thrill of the impending fight had all hearts in the room beating as one. The world had turned very simple. Golgan had become the champion of Blackblood honour, Jorgen the embodiment of the hated conniving enemy. They circled with their blade tips touching.

„Do you hear them breathing?“ Golgan said harshly. „They all want to see your blood. Look at them, Firstborn. You delivered them into my hands. Your puppet is cast down, and no one will raise a finger to defend him. I thank you, sincerely, for that service.“ The pale face opposite him was creased with concentration, the lips moved silently. Golgan was not sure if the man had even registered the words.

The Firstborn lunged once, twice, narrowly missing the Ogre as the Khan took a step back. Then the sweep of the falchion forced the man to back up, and a second blow caught his sword and nearly ripped it from his hands. The Firstborn´s breath was getting uneven, and his recovery was far from graceful. Golgan Khan pressed home his advantage of strength and reach, slashing his broad blade savagely through the air in great figure eights. Then he inadvertently stepped on Rikash´s body, evoking an un-Ogreish squeal from the prostrate Khadin, and, feigning to stumble, threw up his falchion into a clumsy high guard position. The Firstborn was taken in. He put all his strength into a desperate lunge that pierced Golgan´s right flank with three feet of steel.

Before the ambassador could draw back the blade, Golgan grabbed his wrist. He grinned widely and pulled the slave-man closer. Black blood poured over his hand and his enemy´s, reminding every Orc, Goblin, Ogre and Troll in the room of their common trait. For a second, their eyes locked, and there was a strange detached expression on the Firstborn´s face that Golgan could not read at all. Then, all the soldiers cheering and pounding their shields as one, his falchion came flashing down at Jorgen´s neck in a whistling arc –



– Golgan´s gaze swept the Orc and Goblin sycophants, who hugged the walls uneasily. There was a rustle of silken robes, and he thought he heard a door slam. He tugged pensively at the ends of the coal-black moustache that hung down to his ornate breastplate, tickling the snarling bronze lion, and turned back to the Khadin.

„I am told, Rikash, that you keep an advisor from foreign lands“, this nicety was delivered with a sneer. „Let him show his face. Where do you keep him? In your bedchambers?“ There was chuckling from Golgan´s retinue, which he stifled with a stern glance.

„If you refer to Ambassador Jorgen, whom I deny asking for any counsel –„, the Khadin had recovered from his shock and started regaining his composure, „– he excused himself and left only a few heartbeats ago, Your Grace. He is of no consequence, anyway, just a trade representative –“

Golgan Khan shook his head to clear his thoughts, barely listening as the Ogre Khadin obsequiously prattled on. He had hazy memories of black blood, of serrated steel piercing brown skin (his own?), of feeling rage and triumph, but none of it had happened. His breastplate chafed and seemed inexplicably wrong, there was a fierce itch in his right side, and he felt vaguely cheated. He would have liked to confront the Firstborn worm directly, to smash him down and stain the city´s throne room with his thin red blood; and the traitorous Khadin´s as well, for good measure. Somehow, he felt he had lost the initiative, and that was something Golgan Khan was not used to.
 
He straightened his back, driving away those idle musings, and concentrated on the task at hand. There was work to do. He cut Rikash´s babble short with a gesture of his hand and nodded at his Ogre guard, who grimly nodded back and started advancing towards the terrified Khadin. The Troll bodyguards took a few steps forward and bellowed defiance, as the Ogres confidently drew their falchions. Every soldier in the room followed suit as the pent-up tension exploded into violence.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Outside the palace, swift hooves struck the soft turf as they carried the Firstborn ambassador and his retinue though the sultry summer night, far away from the city of Udayra. Chronomancer Jorgen did not look back. By this time in three days, the One King would know of Khadin Rikash´s fate, and change His plans accordingly.

"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 05:09:43 AM »
FIRSTBORN

Chronomancer Jorgen had acted quickly while the garrison of Udayra was still occupied with putting down the rebellious Khadin´s supporters and restoring order. The Firstborn host captured the outlying forts of the city and quickly fortified the area with a line of outpost towers. From this base, the knights made a sally towards the city, but by this time, Golgan Khan had gotten the last rebel elements under control, and the first thrust was blunted. The counterstrike broke the Firstborn formation, and the retreating knights were harried all the way back to their own lines. Now it is up to the towers´ garrisons to try and hold up the Blackblood advance while their comrades are regrouping behind them.

The Firstborn´s first order is to protect the retreating troops and rally them. The knights are carrying wounded which slow them down, so it will be necessary for the horsemen to leave the protection of the towers and engage the enemy in order to buy the troops time to reach the lines. The decision how to use the Earl is difficult; he may sally out to try and rally the fleeing knights early, which would expose him to enemy arrows, or he might hang back behind the safety of the towers´ line.


THIRTEENTH LEGION, SECOND LIGHT CAVALRY COHORT

Warband: 4 Firstborn light horse, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Average (2)
Mounted: Move D12, except in forested or rocky areas; horse and rider are targeted separately; +1 die shift in close combat
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit (including horses) has shields
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat

Warband: 4 Firstborn light horse, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Average (2)
Mounted: Move D12, except in forested or rocky areas; horse and rider are targeted separately; +1 die shift in close combat
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit (including horses) has shields
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat

Warband: 4 Firstborn outriders, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Mounted: Move D12, except in forested or rocky areas; horse and rider are targeted separately; +1 die shift in close combat
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat
Crossbows: firepower 1 / damage D12

Warband: 4 Firstborn outriders, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Mounted: Move D12, except in forested or rocky areas; horse and rider are targeted separately; +1 die shift in close combat
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat
Crossbows: firepower 1 / damage D12

Banner: 2 Firstborn light horse, Thane
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)
Mounted: Move D12, except in forested or rocky areas; horse and rider are targeted separately; +1 die shift in close combat
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit (including horses) has shields
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat

Banner: 2 Firstborn light horse, Earl
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)
Mounted: Move D12, except in forested or rocky areas; horse and rider are targeted separately; +1 die shift in close combat
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit (including horses) has shields
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat

Army standard: unit may Rally friendly units in line of sight; once captured by enemy, all friendly units lose 1 level of confidence, all enemy units gain 1 level of confidence, Standard bearer may not engage in ranged combat and fights at -1 die shift in close combat.



Individual: Repulsar marksman
Armour: Heavy (D10)
Quality: Elite (D12)
Leadership: Average (2)
One-handed weapon: +1 die shift in close combat
Longbow: firepower D8 / damage D10 (sniper weapon)

Individual: Repulsar marksman
Armour: Heavy (D10)
Quality: Elite (D12)
Leadership: Average (2)
One-handed weapon: +1 die shift in close combat
Longbow: firepower D8 / damage D10 (sniper weapon)


REMNANTS OF THIRTEENTH LEGION, STORM COHORTS (DISORGANISED)

Warband: 4 Firstborn macemen knights, 1 greatmaceman, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit has shields (swordsmen, leader)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat (macemen, leader)
Two-handed weapons: +2 die shift in close combat (greatmacemen)
(carrying 2 wounded)
BROKEN - TIRED

Warband: 4 Firstborn macemen knights, 1 greatmaceman, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit has shields (swordsmen, leader)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat (macemen, leader)
Two-handed weapons: +2 die shift in close combat (greatmacemen)
(carrying 1 wounded)
BROKEN - TIRED

Warband: 5 Firstborn swordsmen knights, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit has shields (swordsmen, leader)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat
(carrying 2 wounded)
BROKEN - TIRED

Warband: 4 Firstborn crossbowmen, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat
Crossbows: firepower 1 / damage D12
(carrying 1 wounded)
BROKEN - TIRED

Warband: 5 Firstborn crossbowmen, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat
Crossbows: firepower 1 / damage D12
(carrying 2 wounded)
SHAKEN - TIRED

Warband: 6 Firstborn swordsmen knights, 1 greatswordsman, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit has shields (swordsmen, leader)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat (swordsmen, leader)
Two-handed weapons: +2 die shift in close combat (greatswordsmen)
SHAKEN - TIRED

Standard: -1 to all Threat levels; once captured by enemy, lose 1 level of confidence, capturing unit gains 1 level of confidence, Standard bearer may not engage in ranged combat and fights at -1 die shift in close combat.

Banner: 2 Firstborn light horse, 1 Thane
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)
Mounted: Move D12, except in forested or rocky areas; horse and rider are targeted separately; +1 die shift in close combat
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit (including horses) has shields
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat
SHAKEN - TIRED


THIRTEENTH LEGION, GARRISON COHORT

5 Outpost towers
Size 5 building / open-topped
Armour: D12x5*
Catapult: D8 / damage D12x4

each with:

3 catapult crew
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)

7 Firstborn crossbowmen, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Crossbows: firepower 1 / damage D12



 
REGIMENTAL LEVEL
The Firstborn Earl is in overall command. He directly commands the two Thanes and the Towers (each Tower is a separate command).

COMPANY LEVEL
One Thane is in command of the mounted forces (the outriders and light horse), while the other is in charge of the retreating knights and crossbowmen.

INDEPENDENT
The two Repulsar marksmen are independent of any command; they may not be given orders or rallied.


"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 05:12:23 AM »
BLACKBLOODS
GARRISON OF UDAYRA


ASP COMPANY

Warband: 9 Goblin spearmen, 1 leader
Armour: None (D4)
Quality: Green (D6)
Leadership: Average (2)
Spears: +2 die shifts in the first round of close combat
Agile: move D8

Warband: 9 Goblin spearmen, 1 leader
Armour: None (D4)
Quality: Green (D6)
Leadership: Average (2)
Spears: +2 die shifts in the first round of close combat
Agile: move D8

Warband: 9 Goblin archers, 1 leader
Armour: None (D4)
Quality: Green (D6)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shortbows: firepower 2 / damage D6
Agile: move D8

Banner: 4 Goblin spearmen, Havildar (leader), Sirdar (sergeant)
Armour: None (D4)
Quality: Green (D6)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)
Spears: +2 die shifts in the first round of close combat (spearmen)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat (havildar and sirdar)

Standard: -1 to all Threat levels; once captured by enemy, lose 1 level of confidence, capturing unit gains 1 level of confidence, Standard bearer may not engage in ranged combat and fights at -1 die shift in close combat.


COBRA COMPANY

Warband: 5 Orc swordsmen, 2 Orc greatswordsmen, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit has shields (swordsmen, leader)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat (swordsmen, leader)
Two-handed weapons: +2 die shift in close combat (greatswordsmen)

Standard: -1 to all Threat levels; once captured by enemy, lose 1 level of confidence, capturing unit gains 1 level of confidence, Standard bearer may not engage in ranged combat and fights at -1 die shift in close combat.


Warband: 5 Orc swordsmen, 2 Orc greatswordsmen, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" as long as half the unit has shields (swordsmen, leader)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat (swordsmen, leader)
Two-handed weapons: +2 die shift in close combat (greatswordsmen)

Standard: -1 to all Threat levels; once captured by enemy, lose 1 level of confidence, capturing unit gains 1 level of confidence, Standard bearer may not engage in ranged combat and fights at -1 die shift in close combat.

Warband: 7 Orc archers, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Composite bows: firepower 2 / damage D10

Warband: 7 Orc archers, 1 leader
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)
Composite bows: firepower 2 / damage D10

Banner: 4 Orc spearmen, 1 havildar (leader), 1 sirdar (sergeant)
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position" (all members)
Spears: +2 die shifts in the first round of close combat (spearmen)
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat (Leader)

Army standard: unit may Rally friendly units in line of sight; once captured by enemy, all friendly units lose 1 level of confidence, all enemy units gain 1 level of confidence, Standard bearer may not engage in ranged combat and fights at -1 die shift in close combat.

Warband: 4 Trolls, 1 leader
Armour: Heavy (D10) (size 2 creature counts as "powered armour")
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)
Stolid: +1 die shift to Confidence tests
Agile: move D8
Several weapons: +3 die shifts in close combat


4 Myrmadon War Towers
Size 4 vehicle / monster (open-topped)
Quality: Green (D6)
Leadership: Poor (3)
Reverse psychology
Armour: D12x4*
Plodding: movement D6
Grapeshot cannon:  D10 / damage D12x2*
Ramming spike: +1 die shift in the first round of close assault

each with:

3 Goblin mahouts
Armour: None (D4)
Quality: Green (D6)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)

1 Alchemist gunner
Armour: Light (D6)
Quality: Regular (D8)
Leadership: Average (2)

7 Orc assault warriors, 1 leader
Armour: Medium (D8)
Quality: Elite (D12)
Leadership: Average (2)
Shields: +1 die shift to range die; may go "in position"
Spears: +2 die shifts in the first round of close combat
Composite bows: firepower 2 / damage D10


One War Tower also holds:

Banner: Ogre Khan and lieutenant
Armour: Heavy (D10) (size 2 creature counts as "powered armour")
Quality: Veteran (D10)
Leadership: Exceptional (1)
Several weapons: +3 die shifts in close combat
One-handed weapons: +1 die shift in close combat



My army disposition gave me two companies, each with two missile warbands, two close combat warbands and a command group. True to form, the goblins would act as a skirmishing screen, pinning down enemy units for the Orcs to engage. Once battle was joined, I would use the spearmen to harry the flanks of enemy warbands or pursue fleeing troops.

I would hold back the Myrmadons behind the large rocks, ready to strike against the towers once the field was clear. They were manned with elite troops which I would need to capture the towers and could not afford to lose; though the Myrmadons were impervious to pretty much anything the Firstborn could throw their way, the same did not hold true for the warriors in the open howdahs. 

The order of command was as follows:

REGIMENTAL LEVEL:
The Ogre Khan is in overall command; he directly commands the Orc and Goblin havildars and the Myrmadons (each Myrmadon is a separate command)

COMPANY LEVEL:
The Goblin havildar is in command of all Goblin foot units (the Asp Company).
The Orc havildar is in command of all Orc foot units (the Cobra Company). The Trolls are also attached to the Orc company and take orders directly from the Orc havildar. As trusted veterans, the Orc havildar´s retinue was also honoured with holding the regimental standard and serving as a rallying point.


"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 05:13:41 AM »

____________________________________
TURN ONE

Down the middle of the field, the remnants of the broken Storm Cohorts retreated, with the Cobra regiment in hot pursuit. Bringing up the rear were the least stricken troops - one warband of crossbowmen and one of swordsmen, while the harried Thane and his two horsemen were herding the rest towards the safety of the tower line. Trying to get some order into his fleeing troops, the Thane issued curt orders, hurrying up one of the crossbow warbands.

Squinting against the sun, the foremost crossbowmen could make out a small band of horsemen cresting the dunes towards them, with the 13th legion´s proud banner streaming behind them: the Earl and his retinue coming to rally them. The sight failed to hearten them. They plodded on stoically.

The rearguard turned, with the swordsmen grimly taking up position in front of the crossbows, kneeling and presenting their shields. Fatigue and fear was etched on every face; they knew they had to stand to buy their comrades time. A volley of crossbow quarrels was sent across the sand, clanging off the Orcs´ round bronze shields, but the Cobra regiment did not even lose stride. The pursuing Orc archers loosed their arrows on the run, forcing the knights to keep their heads down behind their shields.

Ducking low, the Trolls ran across the field, keeping to the cover of rocks and shrub. Dust covered their oiled bodies like a second skin, and their powerful legs strained as they made a powerful sprint towards the rearguard´s flank. Crossbowmen pointed and shouted in dismay as the four-armed monstrosities came right towards their line, diving into a field of broken boulders before the Firstborn could reload their crossbows and target them.


On the Blackbloods´ left flank, the Asp regiment could make out a cloud of sand thrown up by swift hooves: the Outriders and light horse were heading their way. Quickly, the Goblins took up positions to guard the Cobras´ flank, with the two warbands of archers in the middle and the spearmen forming squares on their right and left. A quick command by the Goblin havildar sent a volley of arrows towards the light horse, forcing one of their units to duck in the saddle and veer off.

Half hidden from view by the large sun-bleached rock formation, far out of range of the Orc or Goblin darts, the Repulsar marksmen nocked arrows and drew their bows. Down went the Asp havildar with a long feathered shaft in his eye, followed by the leader of one of the archer warbands, throwing the warbands into disarray. Only the sight of the tall Orc havildar shouting at them to stand firm and the silken army standard standing proudly on the hill quieted them.


Dismayed at the damage caused by the Repulsars, and fearing for his remaining commanders, the Ogre Khan made up his mind. Two of the Myrmadons standing placidly behind the rocks were goaded into action. Golgan Khan had wished to hold them in reserve to strike at the towers, but faced with the deadly effective arrows from the marksmen, he had no choice. No other weapon had the range to take out the Repulsars.

In the swaying war towers, the Alchemists blew on their burning matches and touched them to their guns. The mighty bellow of the cannon drowned out the two armies´ war cries. Out of huge clouds of smoke, tongues of flame licked and grapeshot sped across the field. The rock formation was peppered with shrapnel, forcing the knights to duck and take cover. Golgan Khan gestured impatiently, and the cannon spoke again and again. The rocks were shattered, sand was churned up in huge clouds, and finally, one of the marksmen was hit and blown apart into red mist.

The move to target the Repulsars had brought the two huge beasts into view of the towers, and on the topmost platforms, the catapults were cranked into position. Counterweights swiveled as the long arms sent large rocks into graceful arcs. One hit a Mrymadon´s flank, crippling its hindquarters. Assault warriors were crushed as part of the howdah came apart, or fell to their deaths on the brittle rocks below.

"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2016, 05:14:30 AM »

____________________________________
TURN TWO

Before running toward the cover of a large rock formation at a lumbering gallop, the Myrmadons sent two more volleys of grapeshot against the towers, forcing the defenders on the parapets to abandon the catapults and take cover, but failing to make a dent in the granite walls.

The middle of the field saw frantic action as the Cobra archers sent more volleys into the rearguard, wounding two crossbowmen and killing the leader. That proved too much for them: dropping their wounded, they were routed and tried to flee, but with the red-fletched hail scything into their position, they had no option but to to throw themselves prone and pray. The Firstborn swordsmen likewise were pinned down by the arrows, and even though the Thane exhorted them to stand firm, their will to fight seemed gone. The rearguard was in tatters and ripe for an overrun.

Spurred on by their havildar, the Cobra regiment´s swordsmen marched briskly forward, ever closer to the Firstborn, presenting a long line of red-painted shields. Already they could see the whites in the eyes of their hated enemies. The sight of the Earl and the Legion´s colours galvanised one of the fleeing crossbowmen´s units, who turned and raised their weapons. Deadly bolts thudded into shields and felled one of the Orcs´ standards, but a swordsman caught the pole as it fell from the bearer´s nerveless hands and raised it again.

Then the Trolls emerged from their hiding, falling on the crossbowmen with great leaping strides. The Firstborn lines wavered, and the retreat became a rout. The crossbowmen lost their nerve, falling back before the bellowing creatures. Their retreat carried them into the macemen, who just threw down their arms and scattered. The second macemen warband was overtaken and cut down. In what seemed like an instand, the field was strewn with wounded and dead Firstborn, as the Trolls herded the few cowed survivors into a ragged line of prisoners.

The surviving Repulsar tried to stand but was still pinned down in a pile of debris. Opposite him, the Goblins had regained some sort of order, but were now faced with the attack of swift horsemen. The light horse flanked the Asp, taking cover in a copse of palm trees, and at the Thane´s command, the Outriders gallopped up and sent a withering rain of bolts into the Goblins. Boulders rained down from the towers´ catapults, killing more. Visibly shaken, the spearmen closed their ranks around their wounded. The Goblin advance was checked by the relentless hail, unable to move, and would soon face a fierce attack from the Firstborn horsemen.

Braving the catapults, the two remaining Myrmadons dashed forward, one carrying the Ogre Khan. From their howdahs, the assault warriors loosed their arrows at the Thane who was frantically trying to keep his routing troops together. Red shafts pierced him and his aide and sent the remaining horseman panicking down the line. A flurry of signals from the Khan´s tower was answered with a nod by the Orc havildar. Brazen signal horns merged with a great shout from the swordsmen. Both warbands surged forward and drew their falchions. The Firstborn rearguard gave, but were caught by the pursuing Orcs. Falchions rang on shields and ripped through flesh as the knights and crossbowmen were overwhelmed. The Firstborn centre had ceased to exist.

The exultant cries of victory died on the Orcs´ lips when, with a great crash, the Myrmadon next to Golgan Khan´s mount toppled against the ridge, its skull smashed by a catapult´s rock. The tower was split open, and with the sound of overripe melons, warriors were dashed against the rock. A single Goblin mahout and a small band of three assault warriors fought clear of the wreckage, dazed and visibly shaken.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2016, 05:16:12 AM »
____________________________________
TURN THREE

The light horse broke from the woods. Drawing their swords, they spurred their horses into a trot, then into a full gallop, straight at the Goblins´ line. One of the warbands shied away from the spears, but the other crashed into the Goblin archers, who, rather than hold the line, fell back and let themselves be chased down almost to the army standard´s position before surrendering and pleading for mercy.

A huge gap had been opened up in the Asp company´s centre. The Thane had his hornblower signal for general pursuit, but caught up in their own fight, the light horse failed to heed. The only thing that saved the Firstborn cavalry from a vicious counterattack was the fact that the Goblin line was still too stunned to move by the barrage they had received.

Behind the light horse, the Outriders slowly closed on the centre, aiming their powerful crossbows at the victorious Trolls. One Troll stumbled with a leather-fletched bolt embedded deeply in his flank, but the other bolts fell among the prisoners and killed two Firstborn knights. The Blackbloods roared defiance before being forced to duck as the towers´ crossbowmen sent a second shower of bolts their way. The swordsmen were decimated, losing almost half their number and most of their morale.

The Orc archers loosed at the Repulsar´s position. The range was long, but they managed to drive the marksman back into hiding, just as he had worked himself free of the rubble.

As the towers´ catapults had fallen silent, Golgan Khan sent two of his remaining three Myrmadons dashing towards the towers. The wounded Myrmadon limped forward, and the tower´s top swiveled to bring its huge cannon to bear. Another huge explosion belched from the muzzle, and the tower came crashing down – the shot had cracked its foundation with a lucky hit! A mighty cheer went up from the Blackbloods´ host.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2016, 05:16:42 AM »

____________________________________
TURN FOUR

The light horse rounded up the Goblin captives and beheaded them, drawing slightly back out of range of a possible counterthrust by the Orc havildar´s warband. The other horsemen found their nerve and spurred their horses against the Goblin spearmen and the Asp´s havildar, who gave and were overrun. The Thane gallopped forward to keep up with his men while the remaining Goblin archers were still trying to come to their senses.

Then the Orc archers turned and loosed at the light horse, downing two of them and forcing the rest to duck behind their shields. Another command from the havildar, and the second volley finally caught the Repulsar marksman. Two arrows were turned by his fine armour, but the third struck his neck, and he lost consciousness.

The Earl took command of the Outriders, but they were just able to pin the Trolls down with a new volley. Now the victorious swordsmen were gaining on the Earl´s position. In desperation, the towers´ defenders loosed their crossbows at the swordsmen, halting their advance with a shower of bolts that beat out a terrible peal on the Orcs´ shields and killed two swordsmen. Another tower arced a rock at the Myrmadons which took the tip off a tower but failed to do any damage.

Arrows from the Myrmadons´ assault warriors cleared the nearest towers´ parapets of defenders and forced the remainder to duck. The first towers were ripe to assault, but in the confusion Golgan Khan´s signals were ignored, and the opportunity to follow-up was wasted. The limping Myrmadon´s grapeshot cannon spoke again and turned the Earl and his retinue into a bloody pulp. The Firstborn army banner wavered and fell, ripped by shrapnel in a dozen places. A wounded horse rolled on the ground, frantically kicking its legs, while another, riderless, ran wildly between the lines, its eyes rolling.

____________________________________
TURN FIVE

The Outriders gallopped up and grabbed the army standard before the Orcs could recover and capture the position. The other Outrider warband loosed at the Trolls and killed one of them. Pinned down, the Trolls could do nothing but weather the hail of bolts. The swordsmen, caught between the outriders and the towers, kneeled and assumed a defensive formation, presenting their shields.

The last spearman warband in the Asp regiment finally shook off its daze and marched threateningly towards the light horse, who now were pinned between the Orc archers and the spears of the Goblins. The Cobra havildar was stern as he ordered his archers to shoot and shoot again. Arrows fell thick as rain, and more horsemen were wounded as they tried to get their horses under control. When the relentless barrage finally let up, only the Thane and his men were still standing. Stunned, he retreated his warband into the palm trees, hoping to evade pursuit.

Before the defenders could recover, the first Myrmadon reached a tower. The foundations shook as the huge metal spike gouged a huge piece off the tower. The catapult crew and some of the crossbowmen were killed or wounded as the roof collapsed. The remainder tried to put up a fight, but assault warriors swarmed across the boarding ramps. The few remaining defenders died on their spears or were taken prisoner.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2016, 05:17:24 AM »

____________________________________
TURN SIX

The remaining three towers threw everything they had against the Myrmadons, but Golgan Khan had cunningly placed his remaining forces out of sight of most of the garrisons. His own Myrmadon was raked by crossbow bolts (being too close for an effective shot with the catapult), and lost a mahout and an assault warrior. A stone broke the leg of the trailing Myrmadon, immobilising it, but not before its cannon wounded another Outrider with a storm of grapeshot.

Golgan Khan´s Myrmadon barrelled into the next tower, its tusks and spike crashing into the granite wall like a thunderbolt. The tower shook and groaned, then slowly, almost gracefully, it toppled. Most of the defenders, as stunned as the assault troops, perished or were wounded in the fall; only a few battered crossbowmen survived.

The Cobra regiment regrouped. The Goblins were done; one look into their eyes convinced the Orc havildar that the fight had gone out of them. He sent them to collect the wounded and get them towards the rear. The swordsmen had their hands full shaking off the effects of the arrows and get moving again, but the havildar sent one unit of archers to chase off the Thane and the other marching forward to join in the decimation of the Outriders and the towers´ defenders.

Faced with the decision between cutting their prisoners loose and being tied down with guarding them, the Trolls slit the Firstborns´ throats and got ready to charge, but were checked by another volley from the Outriders. A bolt clanged off the leader´s shoulder guard. The other band of Outriders, clutching the legion´s banner, turned their horses and gallopped off towards their own lines while their comrades grimly covered their retreat.

____________________________________
TURN SEVEN

Golgan Khan slowed his own attack to let the other Myrmadon past. Under his command, the other Myrmadon made a huge sprint and charged the next tower. Down came the boarding ramps, and assault warriors surged into a hail of bolts. Their front rank was mown down, and the rest retreated.

The archers and Outriders exchanged arrows and bolts, with warriors falling on both sides. Then the swordsmen charged the Outriders´ position, and the shaken Firstborn lost their nerve and gave ground. Their swift horses outran the jeering Orcs´ pursuit. But their stand had bought their comrades time to save the banner – with a final burst of speed they disappeared into the hills.

The Orcs´ own standard fluttered victoriously in the breeze. The Thane was now cooped up in the stand of palm trees – the archers covered every exit, and he would have to run a gauntlet of arrows all the way back to his own lines if he tried to break out. The grinning Orc havildar had his warband shoulder spears and march toward the center, where he would be able to organise his regiment into something resembling order.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2016, 05:17:43 AM »
____________________________________
TURN EIGHT

Renewing their assault, the Myrmadon´s warriors finally broke the defenders´ position and took the tower. The other Firstborn outpost was raked with arrows from the Cobra archers, preventing the defenders from sticking their heads out. The swordsmen warbands started collecting wounded and prisoners. The field was strewn with bodies, some still twitching. Quick thrusts with the Orcs´ long daggers disposed of any Firstborn still alive.

The Thane was still contained in the shadow of the palm trees. The rest of the Outriders fled the field, and the final tower surrendered.

"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

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Re: [Battle Report] Towers of Udayra - Blackbloods vs. Firstborn
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2016, 05:19:34 AM »
What shall I say? Heroism, steel, black blood, red blood. Lots of red blood.

The (modified) StarGrunt II rules yielded an entirely different feel than Chronopia´s own ruleset. Close combat is more a factor of morale than actual fighting prowess, with my Goblins pretty much just too scared of the Firstborn to charge them or put up a fight when charged. The tired and demoralised fleeing Firstborn could not hold either; they broke at the slightest pressure.

Good thing I had my elite (and aptly named) Assault Warriors for storming the towers; any other troops would probably have shied away from going into the breach. Then again, that´s why one has to have spearhead troops.

The second major difference is that Missiles do not do much damage but pin down units and prevent them from moving or attacking. This forces one to deploy one´s archers much more carefully; the use of "combined arms" and smooth interaction of archery and close asault is the key to winning the game.

On the whole, it felt rather realistic.


In Marius´ place, I would have used my Outriders and light horse to reinforce the centre and buy the fleeing troops time to recover. That way, he could have rallied them into fighting order with his Earl´s standard and then have them counterattack, supported by the towers. That would also have kept the Goblins from most of the battle. As it was, it took them a few turns to break the Goblins, and that was all the time I needed to finish off the fleeing Cohort with minimal losses.

I believe Marius, being used to Chronopia´s morale rules, expected his rearguard to put up more of a fight.

The marksmen had me stunned. When they snuffed the havildar and one of the leaders in the first turn, I knew I had to take them out quickly, or I would suffer a plague of shot officers throughout the game. Snipers in StarGrunt II are bad, bad news. Their superior range meant I had only my cannon to fire back at them, which is like clumsily swatting flies with a menhir. Cannon are not made to target dispersed infantry, and so it took four shots to actually get one Repulsar.

When the first Myrmadon stuck out its snout and was immediately wounded by the towers, I almost quit it there and then. I never thought I would get the Myrmadons through that hail intact to reach the towers. But in true Blackblood fashion, I persevered, and the fire grew less the more I advanced. By that time, the towers had more than enough to do with my infantry, and that was what made my victory possible. Even so, it was pretty close.

In the end, I believe it was my use of the command rule (where higher ranking officers may activate units a second or third time with a Leadership roll) that won me the game. Usually, the command rule favours the defender (a moving commander cannot give orders), but by placing my commanders wisely I was able to pull off a lot with transferring actions.

A pity the Outriders were able to flee with the Legion´s colours – I would have liked to capture the banner to lay it at my Emperor´s feet.

"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."