Friday, 27 May 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 3 - The Campsite


The Cleavermaw rattled and groaned in protest as it passed through the Bleed, the timbers complained as they were twisted by pressures they were in no condition to withstand. The ship pitched violently up and down several times, sending a few orruks sprawling across the deck. Something fell off and tumbled away through the air.

The colour of the daylight changed subtly, from cold and blueish to a warm golden honey hue. The orruk pirates on board grinned at each other, one or two of them giving knowing looks.

Ropesend Drak said "Yaargh!"

"Was to be expected, as we pass over the threshold." said Wrekka Groz, with a great deal of confidence, as he hauled on a rope to secure a stolen cargo. 

"Aye," said Dogvane Murt "the thaumaturgic spectrum differential is about what I thought we'd get and all."

"It weren't spectrum differential, it were a prismatic-luminary effect." grumbled Crowsnest Dag. 

"Which you is jumbling your phenomena mate!" said Wrekka with a slight air of superiority. 

Crowsnest drew a blade, but Sludga was stood right behind him. The big orruk gave him a tap on the back of his head with a meaty fist to remind him to get on with his work.

"Spectrum differential? Pah!" muttered Crowsnest  under his breath as he went back to his task.

~ ⦽ ~


In the distance a lighthouse was just visible through the haze. The crashing of waves was a distant rumble, but it was clearly not far away.

The Baron and a couple of deck hands ranged ahead of the rest of the crew, they found what looked like a fairly recent campsite amongst ancient ruins. A firepit was still smoking and there were signs of a struggle around it.


As the pirates investigated they suddenly realised they were not alone. They had been too focused on the campsite to notice the warband that attacked it was still in the area!


The Baron raced ahead of the others, he headed straight for the leader - he was an old friend! Crowsnest and Ropesend did their best to keep up, but a pair of kairic acolytes jumped down from the ruins onto them!


Two tzaangors pounced on the Baron.


The Ogroid leader and another acolyte approached.


Crowsnest piled through the doorway, straight onto the Thaumaturge's glave!


The tzaangors felled the Baron and moved on to the rest of the crew.


The others arrived to find the fight raging, both sides were already blooded.


With Wrekka standing guard, Mogrum took cover in the upper story of the building where it looked like an expedition had been ambushed in their sleep. The floor was littered with cooking gear, unpacked bedding rolls, lanterns and bags. 

While the two warbands pulled back and shouted threats and insults at each other outside he opened a couple of the backpacks that lay nearby. There were clothes and food inside most of them, but one was significantly heavier - inside there was a leather-bound book, along with pens and bottles of ink and a number of letters tied into a bundle. Behind his mask he grinned and stashed the bag for investigation later.

~ ⦽ ~


We only managed to play 2 battle rounds before we ran out of time but it was clear to both of us that unless we played for at least 3 more rounds it would end in a draw. Neither of us was in a position that would enable us to take out the three models in our respective Shields, with 50 to 60 wounds in total, in one round.

It was an interesting battleplan but one that allows (and definitely needs!) a lot of time, without the usual 3 or 4 round limit. A bit too much for a lunchtime game!

Deployment: Encircle
Victory: Dominate
Twist: Encircling Direflock (very thematic for Ghur!)

~ ⦽ ~

The campaign starts on 29th June, so now is the perfect time to join!

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 2 - The Tower



The Cleavermaw touched down in Oxidisa, on the coast of the Kaleidoscopic Sea. The blueish light of Silverside reflected off the blue-green crystalline shards and teal rock scattered on the shore. The Kaptain looked at Lost Uzzog, who shrugged. Mogrum sighed and shook his head.

"Roight." he said with more certainty than he felt "Let's have a look around and see if we can find anything interesting. Krashhart, you and Kurbak take your ladz and go that way," he pointed with his magic harpoon "we'll go this way, and we will meet back here tomorrow."

Krashhart shook the Kaptain's hand and slapped him on the upper arm.

"Good luck mate, I'll see you in a bit then!" he said with a genuine and good-natured laugh.

"You too lad." said Mogrum and returned the handshake warmly.

The crew were surprised. They looked at each other, unsure how to process the new warmer relationship. A few shrugged and others frowned. This was was going to take some getting used to after all the arguments of the last few weeks.

Kurbak said goodbye to Uzzog and whispered "Keep an eye on the Kap'n, eh?"

Uzzog whispered back "Aye, and you that new lad. I don't trust him further than I can spit."


~ ⦽ ~

Mogrum and the pirates walked for a few hours and came to a watch tower on a small rocky hill. Mogrum sent a few of them off to check the neighbourhood while he and Uzzog looked around inside. Wrekka Groz was left by the door as lookout, which was not a job he was suited to as it turned out.


After about ten minutes poking around in the darkness of the tower's rooms Mogrum and Uzzog heard Wrekka Groz shouting. There was a band of blue creatures approaching. They hurried outside to see.

"Honest Kap'n, they just popped out of the air! They weren't here a moment ago." cried Wrekka plaintively.


A massive Ogroid Thaumaturge and his band of weird looking followers stood on the rocks below them, shouting a challenge.

"How dare you set foot in my tower, you filthy heathens!" the Ogroid roared.


The Kairic Acolyte stepped forward and flames leapt from his open hands, scorching Wrekka's flesh horribly.


The Tzaangor charged and drove his blade into the poor orruk's belly. His screams alerted the exploring crew members who rushed back to find out what the noise was about.


As they arrived, so too did more Tzaangor and Acolytes.


Kaptain Mogrum and Lost Uzzog sprinted at the edge of the rocky hill and jumped down, landing next to the Ogroid and joining the rest of the Cleavermaws who all charged at the huge blue beast.

But the Ogroid was ready for them and slammed Mogrum against the rocks, knocking the wind out of him and stunning him!


Lost Uzzog raised his staff and slammed it into the ground. A wave of energy pulsed through the pirates. Their assorted tattoos of fish, anchors, octopuses and maelstroms, writhed and animated on their skin for a moment, as Uzzog's spell toughened their flesh. The Wardokk smashed his staff into the Ogroid and the monster reeled back in shock at the force of the blow.


The other pirates were shocked - they had never seen such a blow from the Wardokk! But The Baron wasn't phased at all, he smashed his gauntleted fist into the Ogroid's chin and the giant dropped to the teal rocks like a sack of sand.


The orruks gave him no quarter and the rest of his warband fled.


When Mogrum came round night had fallen and the crew had set up camp inside the tower. A fire was already lit and food was being served. The Kaptain noticed a bundle of papers in the corner, he made a mental note to take a look at them as soon as his head stopped swimming. 

The rest of the pirates were in good spirits and soon horrible shanties were being sung. They were going to have fun here.

~ ⦽ ~


Dramatis Personae

Kaptain Mogrum (a Wurrgog Prophet)
Lost Uzzog (a Wardokk in the story but an Orruk Morboy with Bone Totem on the tabletop)
Mr Sludga (an Orruk Morboy Boss in the story but an Orruk Morboy on the tabletop)
The Baron (an Orruk Morboy Boss in the story but an Orruk Morboy on the tabletop)
Wrekka Groz (an Orruk Morboy)
Ropesend Drak (an Orruk Morboy)
Crowsnest Dag (an Orruk Morboy)
Dogvane Murt (an Orruk Morboy)

This was the first of a few warm-up games Viktor and I plan to play ahead of the Animosity IV campaign.

The plan is to keep them nice and simple:
  • 1000 point warbands
  • Set up different terrain each game (mainly to see what from our collections work with colour gel light filters - as Chamon with blue light, and Ghur with amber light)
  • Draw Deployment, Victory and Twist cards as usual
  • No after-game stuff at all: no casualties, artefacts, glory points, etc.
  • Full warband reset for the next game
It was fun, fast and very brutal - I managed to get a victory mid-way through the second battle round!

~ ⦽ ~

The campaign starts on 29th June, so now is the perfect time to join!

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 1 - The Compass


Lost Uzzog, alone on the quarter-deck, fussed over the thaumaturgic compass. The wardokk navigator adjusted several of the small dials that lined the outer ring of the brass frame. The crystal sphere within the metal case swirled with cyan and white energies. Uzzog shifted one of the brass hoops around in its track, it clicked softly as it spun. The red-gold pointer inside the sphere spun hectically, Uzzog squinted at it and sighed.

~ ⦽ ~

The Cleavermaw swayed gently in the light breeze, her timbers creaked quietly. The crew of orruk sky-pirates busied themselves on deck, beneath the watchful eye of Mr Sludga who sat in the forecastle. There was a relaxed, holiday atmosphere on board and Sludga was happy to let the crew chatter while they worked.

They had finally left the corner of Haixiah, at the edge of Hysh, known as the Prime Dominion. Their time there had been profitable during the civil war that had raged for nearly a year, but it became progressively more difficult to ply their trade there when things had settled down. And of course, there was the issue of the Corsair as well, Sludga pondered; she was getting harder to keep out of the way of.

Then they had spent the last few months preying on shipping around the Dawngild Skydock, a Kharadron outpost in one of the Lands of Gold. That also became too risky when the Kharadron got really fed-up with the loss of trade and sent out a gunhauler fleet to look for the Cleavermaw.

So here they were in a backwater of Chamon; Silverside, someone called it.

~ ⦽ ~

Uzzog tried something different. He took the crystal core out of the brass frame completely and hit it a few times with his staff. Gently at first - he didn't want to smash it, just knock some sense into it. Then he gave it a proper whack and the red-gold pointer stopped spinning. Elated, he jammed the crystal sphere back into the brass cage and started adjusting the dials to re-calibrate it.

It started humming. Uzzog held it out at arm's-length, just in case...

~ ⦽ ~

The peaceful atmosphere was shattered then. Loud voices could be heard below decks. That new-comer who called himself Lord Krashhart was rowing with Kaptain Mogrum again.

Sludga thought about the time the big Warchanter first met up with them; some of the crew took to him immediately: he was an enthusiastic and loud sort, who liked to laugh and was always impatiently drumming out a rhythm with his hands or tapping his feet whenever there was nothing happening. But others were wary that he might be the type to challenge the Kaptain for leadership of the crew - he was a mighty big orruk after all. But it wasn’t so - it seemed like he didn’t really care to lead at all, he just wanted to join in with the fighting.

So he had just tagged along with them for a while. He was handy in a boarding-action and wasn’t even bothered about having a share of the loot. After a while even the wary ladz had come round to him well enough.

But the Kaptain was always a bit distant with Krashhart, even though the warchanter always did as he was told and didn’t try to take the lead. And he never disagreed with the Kaptain in front of the crew. But Sludga could see, and Sludga could hear: there had been plenty of times when Krashhart took the Kaptain aside “for a word”. Mogrum almost always came away from those “words” in a black mood, and the crew got the brunt of his temper.

This time there was no doubting what the disagreement was over. The volume of the argument was much greater than it had been before and their words carried through the open hatches between the cabin and the deck:

Krashhart wanted to keep going into the wilds of Silverside. He was sure there was something here, something huge he had heard about, something that a famous beast-hunting Fleetmaster was after. Mogrum wanted to stay clear of Black Arks and all the complications they brought with them. For some reason both of them felt VERY strongly about the ship’s next course of action.

Well, whoever won this argument, the holiday was over. Sludga stood up and glowered at the morboyz on deck, the crew almost all got the hint straight away and started working properly, the casual chatter dried-up. But there was something in the wind. Something weird was about to happen and the crew could all feel it. They exchanged significant glances as they hauled on ropes or shifted barrels.

~ ⦽ ~

When it stopped humming and went back to wildly spinning, Uzzog gave up on the thaumaturgic compass for a while - it must have been broken. He looked out at the horizon and jumped in shock. There was an incomprehensibly massive wall of amber magical energy a few miles ahead of them and it seemed to be growing very rapidly.





~ ⦽ ~

The campaign starts on 29th June, so now is the perfect time to join!

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

The Harrowmark Twisted Oak - part 12, game 10 - The Blood Moon

The Harrowmark's moon and her daughters hung low in the sky, a thin crescent and a scattering of shards following her - all of them glowing a soft and pale silver. 

But another moon encroached on their sky - an ominous red moon casting a ruddy light over the forests. An ill omen at the best of times, but especially portentous now that Kalyustar had almost achieved his goal.

The Rotmoons knew this was it - their last chance. The Cursed Company had found the Twisted Oak first and they were going to enact a ritual to extract the magical energies from it. Without that magic the tree was just mundane timber: useless for repairing the rent hull of their skyship. The pirates had to stop the Soulchemist from completing his foul rite or they would be back to square-one; searching for more magical raw materials and still marooned in Wortbad.

“Aethermatic-disruption inducing, thaumaturgically infused metal has always proven effective in altering the flows and counter-flows of realm-defining energies” said El Doctoro as he handed out large rusted ship's nails to each of the crew. 

Blank expressions met this explanation. Each crew member looked at the nail they had been given as if they were poisoned.

"If we can get as many of these into the Soulchemist's lodestone as possible, as quickly as possible, we may be able to save the Oak and harvest it for our own use!" he said, still rowing hard against the tide of understanding.

"We need to stop Kalyustar stealing the magical energies from the wood, or it is useless! We can't make repairs to the Rotmoon with non-magical wood, you see?

"So... hammer-in the nails to break the rock, to get the wood?" said the Kapitan.

El Doctoro sighed and rubbed his temples. "Yes."

+++
The Twisted Oak has been found. The ritual to shackle its power is underway and Lunaghast turns an ominous red. Untold power and riches can be gained, if the interlopers are kept at bay.

Terrain: The Twisted Oak in the centre of the southern half of the board.
Deployment: Defiant Stand. The winner of ‘Pierce the Veil’ uses the blue deployment points.
Victory: The Ritual. The winner of the ‘Pierce the Veil’ is the defender.
Twist: The Goremoon Rises.
Reward: the winner of this battle wins the campaign and receives an Escalation Artefact of Power (Tome of Champions 2020, page 103).



+++


The Soulchemist had set up an altar near the Oak - his books and candles laid out upon it. The Rotmoons surrounded the position and closed in from three sides.


Kapitan da Leeva, Bortagno and El Doctoro from the north.


Dragante, Bold Rikk and Percy Percy from the east.


Kalyustar began his ritual.


He started to syphon off the magical energy from the Twisted Oak.


Kapitan da Leeva and El Doctoro did their best to get to the lodestone that had been driven into the roots of the Oak - they hoped to damage it enough to slow or halt the ritual.


The Deathrattle skeletons threw themselves at the orruk pirates to prevent them from interfering.


The orruks did their best to sidestep them and get to the lodestone.


The Rotmoons made their way through the trees.


The fallen Deathrattle reformed under the fell effects of Kalyustar's necromancy.


The rite was working - the Twisted Oak's power was coalescing into Kalyustar's control.


Percy Percy was brought down by a skeleton champion.


Bold Rikk roared with rage and tried to get his revenge.


The fighting intensified and the Rotmoons struggled to close-in on the lodestone.


El Doctoro and Kalyustar exchanged sorcerous blasts.


But the ritual continued, at a greater pace than before! El Doctoro could almost see the power slipping from the tree, through the lodestone and into Kalyustar's grasp.

+++

The Lunaghast climbed slow into the sky overhead, it's leering red glow foretelling the doom of one below...

+++


The Kapitan roared orders - the crew rushed to gather around the lodestone.


Dragante was attacked from behind and he span round to face his assailant - he and the skeleton hacked at each other. 


The Rotmoons crowded round the lodestone, each trying to hammer their rusted ships' nail in faster than their crewmates! El Doctoro used his weird-powers to heal the crew around him - fortifying them against the harder fight to come.


Bortagno, far away from the lodestone, concentrated on the job he knew best. Then, when he had space to breath he took a moment to gather his strength again. As soon as he recovered he charged forward toward the Oak.


Kalyustar was becoming increasingly enraged that his ritual was being disrupted. Awkwardo took the brunt of his fury.


The Cursed Company's skeleton champions started to pick-off the pirate orruk stragglers.


The ritual continued, but the rate of the magical flow out of the Oak slowed down significantly. The gathered orruks around the poisoned stone were enough to interfere with the connection.


The Cursed Company closed in on the orruks at the lodestone. The needed to drive off enough of them to allow the magic of the Oak to flow unimpeded.


Bortagno finally made it to the Twisted Oak.


Kalyustar struggled against the rising tide of orruk Waaagh! energy, disrupting the ritual.


But it was too late. The energies draining from the tree destabilised - the ritual was stopped just in time and the magic of the tree coalesced back into the ground.

The orruks drove-off the Cursed Company. When Kalyustar, stunned by the sorcerous backlash of the collapsing ritual, fled into the dark forests.

Kapitan da Leeva ordered the pirate crew to sharpen their axes.

+++

So, the Twisted Oak campaign draws to a close (and just in time! Animosity IV is right around the corner). We started this campaign way back in January 2020, but inn March 2020 it had to go on a two-year Corona Virus hiatus! We had no idea at that time how long it would be paused.

But then in March 2022 we were able to restart it (with a mechanical restructure based on all the great Warcry content that had been published during lockdown). And here we are, in May 2022, finally at the end of this particular tale.

There will be more action from both these warbands, and more Warcry campaigns set in the Harrowmark. But before that we look to travel to Chamon and Ghur for the summer, for the aforementioned Animosity Campaign.