Monday 4 December 2023

The Andtor Odyssey, part 3: The Frigid Zephyr

A chilling wind blew across the realms; a mysterious force known as the Ferocious Squall descended, shrouding the land in an impenetrable fog. The frigid zephyr presented a unique challenge that would test the mettle of even the most seasoned explorers - they must contend with the blinding squalls belched straight from Andtor’s icey lungs. The continent was hostile, and those who failed to adapt would perish.

Only the most cunning and resilient leaders would emerge triumphant. Armies clashed and their fate hung in the balance.

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After taking repeated thaumaturgic compass readings and comparing them to some captured maps, Kaptain Mogrum and Krashhart agreed on their next course. They made a bearing north-east and two ships of the Ironfang Fleet set out on the cruise from their port-stronghold, Da Toof. They intended to capture a convergence of ley lines that ran through the ruins of an ancient temple, on a nearby island.

They expected to meet resistance there, so they discussed what each crew should do at the first sign of enemy action, and decided to bring along Overboard, the shipwreck Rogue Idol.


Assisted by Old Mudgob, Krashhart led the Swordfyshes, in three divisions: port watch (with red bandanas, or red feathers in their broad-brimmed hats), starboard watch (with blue) and the harpooners.


Kaptain Mogrum led the Cleavermaws, accompanied by Lost Uzzog.

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Soon after they made landfall the pirates rushed to take control of three key nexus-points along the most powerful ley line that crossed the island.

Despite the perilously reduced visibility caused by the freezing storm they soon encountered a Soulblight Gravelord and her minions lurching and shambling out of the fog, just as the squall dissipated enough to improve visibility. As they had planned Old Mudgob immediately manifested a Great Green Hand of Gork and transported Kaptain Mogrum deep into enemy territory, behind their line-of-battle.

As he was set-down the Kaptain blasted the Vampiress Lord in the back, with a searing green beam of pure Waaagh! power - instantly incinerated her. Her ashes scattered in the wind.


Buoyed-up by this entertaining outcome, the harpooners advanced aggressively to intercept the Blood Knights, then charged them, to keep them away from the nexus.


The starboard watch wanted to charge the Blood Knights too but, much to their annoyance, they got tangled up in the undergrowth.


Overboard strode forward to meet a Deadwalkers advance, carelessly leaving only a narrow path through the ruins for the port watch to join him in the fight.


The Cleavermaws hurried to take a defensive position behind a large rock, while Uzzog harvested the geomantic magic.


The deadwalkers ineffectually clawed at Overboard, who hardly seemed to notice.


The harpooners took down two Blood Knights...


But when the Blood Knights killed two of the harpooners in reply, they were able to rejuvenate their own casualties who returned from "completely dead" to undead, and the harpooners were steadily ground down. The starboard watch moved up to retain control the nexus.


Overboard and the starboard watch Brutes slaughtered dozens and dozens of zombies and dire wolves. Some of them got back up again though, and for a while it looked like the fight might never end.


The port watch braced themselves for the Blood Knight charge, but they were ready to avenge their fallen crewmates.


Most of the deadwalkers eventually fell under the onslaught of Overboard's attacks.


It had been isolated from the ground battle by the smothering maelstrom, but with the storm abating a zombie dragon landed. A titanic duel ensued, as Overboard the Rogue Idol turned to meet it; he and the zombie dragon tore into each other.


It was a terrifying sight but the pirates cheered as Overboard weathered its attacks and wore it down steadily. When Old Mudgob blasted the dragon with ectoplasmic puke, Overboard smashed it to component bones.


But the starboard watch did not have a chance to celebrate as the Blood Knights galloped in moments later.


The wolf-form vampire lieutenant and a pair of zombie ogors moved to attack Mogrum. The Kaptain blasted one of the ogors to ash as they closed in, and then the vampire at point-blank range.

The weird old pirate nearly killed his second vampire of the day but something went wrong and the magic backfired. He was wracked with pain as the Waaagh! energy grounded through him. But through the green lightning that enveloped him he could see that the wolf-vampire was now too far away from the action to help his minions.


The Cleavermaws found themselves surrounded, with deadwalker zombies and deathrattle skeletons everywhere they turned.


Lost Uzzog released the spirits of Ghurish were-boars from the collection of scrimshawed tusks in his pack and the empowered Cleavermaws joyfully smashed Dead'Unz left and right. They had a fantastic time!


Blood Knights had trampled through all three mobs of Brutes but it had taken much longer than the knights had expected.

When Lost Uzzog and the Cleavermaws heard the Rogue Idol catastrophically disassembling behind them, they thought the tide must have finally turned against them. But even though they were the last orruks standing they destroyed all of the deathrattlers, and the grave guard who had been summoned to fill the gap left by the zombies they cut down earlier.

They held the ley line nexus and victory belonged to the pirates!

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The points limit for the EWG AoS campaign increased to 1500 for the second round (new campaign rounds start on the last Thursday of each month). I found 1500 points noticeably harder to manage than 1000. Partly because it was only my second game of AoS3, but also due to having to track the numerous buffs and bonuses from different sources. I had a growing awareness that I was forgetting lots of little things along the way (like a +1 to hit here, or a +1 charge move there), even with my counters and cards to remind me. Despite that it was still a very very enjoyable game - lots of hard choices and wildly swingy dice rolls!

This next chapter of this grand campaign unfolds in the heart of a chilling storm... but when Lee rolled the first check he got a 6, so it abated after just one battle round of obscured vision, so it didn't make a great deal of impact on our game.

FEROCIOUS SQUALL
At the start of the battle, the battlefield is affected by a squall. Until the squall dissipates, units more than 12" apart are not visible to each other. In addition, until the squall dissipates, models cannot fly. At the start of each battle round after the first, after determining which player will take the first turn, if the squall has not dissipated, the player taking the second turn rolls a dice and adds the number of the current battle round to the score. On a 7+, the squall dissipates.

By the end of Round 3 I had accrued 34 Waaagh! Points and almost run out of the pirate themed metal coins I use to track them (even with a few extras added to the 24 I bought for the job). I knew I wouldn't be using the 24-Point "Powers of the Waaagh!" ability, so once I had completed the Orruk Warclans Battle Tactic "Wait for it Lads!" I stopped counting.


Both Lee and I consistently completed all of our chosen Battle Tactics, so the final score was decided on objectives and Grand Strategies. I didn't have any Battleline troops left to score my chosen Grand Strat, and I had no idea what Lee's entailed so I couldn't even try to stop it! Luckily for me my early-game dominance of the objectives gave me a strong enough VP lead to win, despite Lee making a valiant effort to claw back.

We ran out of time after 4 battle rounds but we both agreed to call it at that point. With the victory points at 17:14 I had scored a major victory. We also discussed what might have been if we'd had time to play the fifth round: if things had gone entirely to plan the Soulblight Gravelords could have gained a draw on VP (which would mean a Minor Victory due to Grand Strats, since we were also drawn on Battle Tactics). But if they were unlucky they might not even get a VP draw.

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The Ironfang Fleet

1500 points

Allegiance: Big Waaagh!
- Mortal Realm: Ghur
- Grand Strategy: Waaagh!
- Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders - The Quarter Deck

Lord Krashhart (120)
Orruk Warchanter
- General
- Command Trait: Heroic Stature
- Artefact: Amulet of Destiny (Universal Artefact)

Old Mudgob (90)
Orruk Weirdnob Shaman - ANDTORIAN LOCUS
- Lore of the Weird: Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork

Kaptain Mogrum (170)
Wurrgog Prophet - ANDTORIAN LOCUS
- Lore of the Savage Beast: Gorkamorka's War Cry

Lost Uzzog (80)
Wardokk - ANDTORIAN LOCUS
- Lore of the Savage Beast: Power of the Were-boar

Battleline - The Crew

The Swordfyshes (harpooners) (140)
5 x Orruk Brutes
- Jagged Gore-hackas
- 1x Gore Choppas

The Swordfyshes (port watch) (140)
5 x Orruk Brutes
- Pair of Brute Choppas
- 1x Gore Choppas

The Swordfyshes (starboard watch) (140)
5 x Orruk Brutes
- Pair of Brute Choppas
- 1x Gore Choppas

Units

Da Baron and the Cleavermaws (140)
10 x Savage Orruk Morboys

Behemoths

Overboard (430)
Rogue Idol

Total: 1470 / 1500
Reinforced Units: 0 / 2
Allies: 0 / 200
Wounds: 105
Drops: 9

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Sunday 3 December 2023

The Andtor Odyssey, part 2: Path to Glory


Kaptain Mogrum and the navigator-wardokk Lost Uzzog stooped in the cramped cabin of the Cleavermaw. They had been pouring over charts and maps for hours and the candles on the desk were almost burned down to stubs. They were collating all the information they could gather about the ley lines that arced across the Krakensea. 

After their first successful action in Andtor, four ships from the Ironfang Fleet had anchored in Dead Kraken Cove, an abandoned harbour on an island in the Krakensea, north of the Greedmouth Realmgate. There, in the ruins of the ancient port, they set up a stronghold they called Da Toof.


They didn't know how long they would stay but for now it was a good enough hideout for what they had planned. They were already laden with loot from their initial raids. But more importantly they also had a good reserve of geomantic magic; stolen from the Flesh-Eaters they had encountered in a horrible charnel lair built, intentionally or accidentally, on a nexus of ley lines.

They had followed the lines of geomantic power from there to Dead Kraken Cove. With two Arcane Waypoints nearby: Shipwreck Reef, which partially enclosed the bay, and Freebooter Rock in the deep waters beyond; they would have additional geomantic resources close at hand.

And overlooking the bay was Blacktide Keep - an old artillery emplacement which the pirates planned to rebuild, in their own crude fashion.

Kaptain Borgoth had a feeling the scattered islands along the edge of the Krakensea would prove to be a fruitful hunting ground, especially in the unstable times of growing conflict in the region with no clear power to defend them.

There were plenty of hidden inlets, coves and bays to lurk in while watching for heavily laden supply ships and fat merchantmen passing by. The many uncharted reefs, razor-sharp submerged rocks and treacherous shallows would make it difficult sailing for newcomers to the waters. They planned to take full advantage of that.

They just needed to stay out of the way of the assorted forces that were suddenly very interested in the area.


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The East Warrington Gaming AoS campaign is being played using Matched Play rules. But that doesn't stop me using the games for my army's Path to Glory tale, since that's designed to work completely independently of any opponent to create the story of your army's adventures.

I'm using a starting points value of 2,000 - just so I am not totally hamstrung in the later campaign games if my Aftermath rolls are appalling! I won't be rolling for injuries or using Veteran Abilities, as they aren't used in the Aftermath of a Matched Play game. But I will be tracking Glory Points, territories, the state of my army's stronghold, etc. and writing the story around them.

Monday 27 November 2023

The Ironfang Pirate Fleet - The Plunderblades and the Portwreckas, part 5

Docker Goff and The Plunderblades

Under the command of Kaptain Borgoth, Megaboss, the Plunderblades are a rowdy bunch of inexperienced sailors. But they are handy in a fight, so the Kaptain has tasked Docker Goff with getting them at least "capable" when it comes to the skills needed aboard a sky-ship.

For now they always seem to get in each-other's way, pull on the wrong ropes, or misunderstand their orders in new and unexpected ways.



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You might remember Docker Goff and Mr Flea as they have both been covered here before.

Docker Goff
Goff was a rather mercenary pirate who worked on several different ships over the years. Strangely, none of the Kaptains he briefly followed seemed all that bothered by this at all and he came and went as he pleased.

He was superstitious and always weary of ill omens, which he saw everywhere. Whenever he met new shipmates he wanted to exchange news about other crews and places they'd been - he always assumed his listeners knew them even when they clearly didn't.

After his time serving aboard the Swordfysh, he was one of the most experienced members of the crew aboard the sky-ship Plunderblade. As such the Kaptain made it clear that it was his job to get the others up to scratch.


Mr Flea the drummer 
Also served on the Swordfysh and Goff trusted him. He never got round to updating the flag painted on his drum.


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Morhog Nok
Never looked where he was going and always assumed everything was someone else's fault.





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Mizzen Grom
Loved the idea of swinging on a rope in a boarding-action. Had never actually done it.





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Urdo Thwart
Loud, talkative and didn't ever listen.





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Dakko Strake
Believed he was reliable and competent, even though there was little evidence of either.





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Skarlud
A frenzied loon.





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Drabbler
A dirty fighter who enjoyed forcing opponents into making mistakes.





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Gundeck
Extremely aggressive and short tempered.





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Hogline
Probably the most capable sailor of the bunch, but very argumentative.





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I'm going to try Kaptain Borgoth and The Plunderblades in Warcry at some point. I doubt they will be a very good warband competitively but I think they might be fun!

Orruk Megaboss (Hero, Leader) [225]
Ardboy Boss with Ardboy Choppas (Hero) [135]
8 Orruk Ardboys with Ardboy Choppas (80 points each) [640]
Total [1000]