Sunday, 31 July 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 12 - Leviathan

Somewhere on the eastern edge of the Prowling Forest in Lahar, the Cleavermaws cautiously made their way through the ruins of a small outpost that wasn't marked on any maps. They were on their way to meet with Bodrin Bok and the crew of the Selachii. Kaptain Mogrum knew they were shifty untrustworthy sorts but desperate times call for desperate measures.

~ ⦽ ~

The pirate crews found each other in the overgrown remains of a market square. The captains acknowledged one another with stiff formality. No friendly calls or greeting were exchanged by the crews. The last time they had bet was in the Prime Dominion after the Corsair had betrayed them.

Tensions were high and both sides kept weapons close at hand; swords and pistols loosened in their belts, primed and ready.

Sludga and Ropesend were especially ready for a fight. Maybe too ready.

Lost Uzzog, Crowsnest and Wrekka held back at the top of a small stoney rise, overlooking the market place.

"Well Bok? Have you got the item what we agreed?" said Mogrum finally.

"Aye." said Bok as he unrolled a stained and dog-eared map. He held it up for the Cleavermaws to see, plain as day.

"And what about you?" he continued, "Do you have what we said we'd accept in trade for of it?"

"Well, I do. And I don't." said Mogrum, scratching his beard. "You might be a thinking what you want of the Dead Man's Chest. But it ain't going to get what you think you'll get with it."

Bodrin Bok tensed, and his men put their hands on the hilts of swords and the grips of blackpowder pistols.

"Now then, settle down all of you." said Mogrum calmly. "Just hear me out afore you try and shoot me. The Dead Man's Chest is a powerful Relic but it is bound to me and my crew. Even if I could be a giving of it to you, which I ain't sure I can, it would more an likely eat your souls and add them to it's grim cargo."

"So... what are you proposing in its stead?" said Bok gruffly.

"What I have to offer, you might not like. And I make no bones about it, I might not like it if I was in your place. But what if we took that pretty map you have in of your hand, and we joined forces and found that horrible big beastie what it is supposed to lead to?"

The Selachiis grumbled and shifted about a little. Mogrum persevered.

"Then we took it to the Stormdancer and replaced the dead leviathan, what the Storyteller pulled the head of off. What if we was, together, hailed as the ones what was able to replace the Stormdancer's motive powers... So to speak?"

~ ⦽ ~

Friday, 22 July 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 11 - Starfall

The Cleavermaw sailed slowly over the Ferrus Wastes and once more approached the Bleed. The crew made all the preparations they could - they knew full well what needed to be done now, but bits often fell off at the best of times. But it was always a rough journey through the strange wall of magical energy that both divided and joined Silverside and Lahar.

"The thaumaturgic compass goes proper wild when we gets near it, doesn't it?" said Wrekka as he stood by the helm looking into the glass dome in Uzzog's hand.

Uzzog nodded and was about to answer when Rudder Azag, the helmsman, interrupted.

"It ain't no wonder though - there's a congregation of magic happening inside of it. It must be some kind of cascade effect like that what occurs in an Endless Spell, but on the bigger side." said Rudder Azag. He attention was not on his work and the ship drifted a few points to starboard off course.

Lost Uzzog opened his mouth to comment again, but he closed it a second time when Wrekka jumped in.

"Which that is only half of the story mate, there is more than a cascade here. This ain't a self sustaining effect, there must be a source for all of the energies being displaced here, and it ain't just the Ur-River. Even you know it ain't just the river, so don't be going there again." said Wrekka, warming to the subject.

Rudder Azag wasn't letting that go. He turned his full attention on Wrekka and the wheel span even further to starboard.

"Which I never said it was, I just said it was likely most of it!" he spat, furiously.

"Oh, you did and all!" yelled Wrekka.

They both froze, they clamped their mouths shut tight as they suddenly and simultaneously became aware of the Kaptain's shadow looming over them...

~ ⦽ ~

The dusty wind dried out eyes and mouths and whipped loose clothing around the pirates as they struggled over desert sands that were unpleasantly hot, even through heavy sea-boots. The orruks were getting annoyed with one-another in the heat and a fight was likely to break out at any moment.

In a chat with a shady character they met in a dive-bar in Three Sisters, Mogrum had been told about a "star" that fell in this region and the Cleavermaws were doing their best to look for it but conditions were horrible. They had managed to collect a number of interesting bits of amber crystal, which seemed to be magical at first examination, but they were not sure if they were connected to the fallen star or not.

As the pirates headed back to their ship they met another group of explorers: Skargat's Ironforged Ogors seemed to have collected a load of the crystals too.

The Glutton rushed straight at the Cleavermaws. Mogrum, wearing the Mantle of Xant, that he discovered at Thunderstone, stood back and blasted the nearest ogor with green lightning. Black-powder pistols blasted noisily on both sides. Lost Uzzog zapped an ogor with his short-ranged Waaagh! powers.

The stragglers from the Cleavermaw rushed to get into in the fight - they had a lot of ground to cover! One of the ogors went down, but so did Mr Sludga! Another ogor appeared - it was Skargat himself. 

Dogvane clashed cutlasses with Cargo the Maneater. 

Kaptain Mogrum raced over to the second wave of Cleavermaws and herded them into the brawl with bellowed orders. Cargo the Maneater moved to intercept the Kaptain. Wrekka fell to the Tyrant's axes.

The Baron was brought down by the thunderous charge of Skargat. Crowsnest went down, out cold, when a Glutton bashed him on the head. But Ropesend charged in and saved him from the greedy brute before the ogor could finish him off.

After a long fight the orruk pirates managed to grab the lion's share of the crystals and claim victory for the day!

~ ⦽ ~

Deployment: Clash of Blades
Victory: Feasting Pits (from the Thondia rules in WD473)
Twist: Blood in the Air (from the Thondia rules in WD473)

With the extra attacks against any model that was wounded (from the Twist card), and the objectives only appearing when a model was taken out of action (from the Victory card), this was inevitably going to be a very bloody battle!

I did my best to keep the victory conditions in mind throughout the game and made sure I spread out the first few attacks to try and trigger the extra attacks from the Twist as often as possible. I also (once more!) made use of the Bonesplitterz amazing movement ability to keep the action moving in my favour. It was a very satisfyingly challenging game though and the result was definitely up-in-the-air until the last couple of activations. A couple of tiny differences in the dice rolls could have taken the result either way very easily.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 10 - Thunder

Continuous rumbles of thunder rolled back and forth across the the waters of the Kaleidoscopic Sea. The noise echoed off the cliffs ahead of the Leaky Bukkit as the small sky-boat skimmed above the waves. The little skiff was sailing on Kaptain Mogrum's orders, on a bearing from the Black Ark Stormdancer toward the aptly named Thunderstone: a towering pillar of copper-infused rock, visible for miles at night, that loudly crackled and arced with a near constant lightning storm around it. Kurbak and his small crew passed through the Bleed and crossed from Ghur to Chamon. The Leaky Bukkit creaked and complained as it pulled through strange geometries.

They set down on a wide ledge, and anchored the Leaky Bukkit there securely. There were crudely carved steps cut into the cliff face.

Kurbak led the way up the steps.

"The Thunderstone is right famous around these parts ladz." he said between huffing and puffing his way up. "There has been more than a few wizards what tried to harness its power and blowed themselves to smithereens." he chuckled at the thought.

"I imagine they was not careful with the thaumaturgical remunerations?" suggested Mainstay, just behind him.

"Aye, that or they didn't draw the proper hexagramatical wards. Which they is easy to draw wrong you know." said Fender Grak, scratching his goatee thoughtfully.

As they neared the top of the cliff they passed a rotting shipwreck, that caught their attention for a few minutes. The pirates cast a professional eye over the hulk, looking for spares and materials that they might find useful. The Cleavermaw was always in need of repairs so the habit of stripping anything portable was deeply ingrained into all of them.

Kurbak waited impatiently while the crew picked over the wreck. It was clearly ancient and it had deteriorated badly exposed to the elements. There was no rigging or sailcloth and the timbers were useless, and there was definitely no treasure to be found.

They set off again and the conversation turned to the likely causes of the shipwreck, and how it came to be so high up the mountain.

Mainstay helped Kurbak climb up onto a broken wooden bridge near the cliff top. From that vantage point the wardokk was able to see that they were not alone on the island: another crew was there ahead of them.

The Cleavermaws headed toward them. The orruk pirates spread out into three groups, so the newcomers wouldn't get the drop on them. 

As they drew near they recognised the new crew as Black Ark Corsairs - ostensibly allies while they explored the Bleeding Wilds.

The leader of the the Corsairs approached the orruks. She did not seem pleased to see them.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 9 - Stormdancing

The Cleavermaw raced downwind at an uncharacteristic speed. The crew had to work hard to keep everything tied down as the high winds pulled at every knot, every sheet of canvas and every plank in the hull.

Kaptain Mogrum stood on the quarterdeck, with one hand on the rigging and one on his hat. A deckhand stood just behind him, clinging on to the gunwales and holding the Kaptain’s Wurrgog Harpoon for him. The helm was fighting hard and it took two orruks at the wheel to keep the sky-ship on its course. The Kaptain squinted through the eye-holes of his mask into the bright sunlight, trying to keep sight of the Kharadron skyvessel that was about four miles ahead and below them.

The orruk sky-pirate crew grinned at each other in glee whenever they found a spare moment - they were all exhilarated by the pace of their flight and they also had to hold on tight to their hats. They all kept half an eye on the chase: The Kharadron ship was now about three miles ahead of them and running its endrins at full speed, but their vessel was heavier than the Cleavermaw and did not have the benefit of sails. The wind pushed them along too, but their endrins did most of the work. If they had both been running against the wind the Kharadron ship would have the advantage, but they were not - they must have a destination they were in a hurry to reach that lay on the same heading as the winds blew, otherwise they could easily escape.

Mogrum subconsciously noted a change in the air pressure and ordered the ship to descend. The orruks jumped into action as they all enjoyed the lurch in the pit of their stomachs caused by this manoeuvre.

The Cleavermaw plummeted and the sails went slack for a minute that seemed to go on forever. Clouds rushed past. The sails filled again with a crack of canvas and the ship picked up even more speed as the air was moving even faster at the lower altitude. But the ship was being buffeted hard, the air was turbulent and the hull complained with loud creaks and groans. The orruks’ grins were wiped off their toothy mouths - they were replaced by serious, even worried looks.

But they were still gaining on the Kharadron ship. Two miles. One mile.

The orruk pirates could make out the individual crew on the Arkanaut’s deck now. There were only a few of them, and they seemed to be watching the Cleavermaw closely too.

The ochre-coloured sands below them were punctuated by umber rock-spines that stood hundreds of feet high. Their shadows stretched across the desert dunes between them in the amber evening light. The Kharadron vessel was heading for the mountains in the distance, just visible through the hazy dust-filled air.

"Kaptain?" said Uzzog as he squinted through his brass spyglass, "I think she might be the Tarragon, one of the Ironclads off of that Able Albern Baking Company."

"Ah, is it now?"

Mogrum grinned as he gave the order to prepare the boarding party, the pirates grabbed their weapons, and as the Cleavermaws bore-down on their prey the Kharadron guns spoke…

~ ⦽ ~

After a year of just sitting on a shelf gathering dust I finally finished building the Cleavermaw; an orruk pirate sky-ship after the style of John Blanche's flying ship paintings.

I added a yard-arm and rigging, a ship's wheel and the structure it is attached to, and a number of smaller components; like the thingy on the roof of the Kharadron Frigate and the spinny-whatsit on the bottom.

Friday, 8 July 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 8 - The Dawnfall Ark

The light skyboat Leaky Bukkit glided above the surface of the blue-green coloured Copperwater, slowing down as the crew took-in the little sail, until it almost stopped then gently bumped into the shore.

Kurbak Sloop, one of the lower-deck Wardokks of the Cleavermaw, clambered out of the boat and made his way up the beach. The rest of the boat team followed him over the gunwales, they looked around at the mountains that surrounded the lake as they hauled on the ropes securing the launch.

"Right, let's be having you horrible lot spread-out and start looking round. The Kapitan said there is like to be some snake worshipping cult types here abouts. So keep a weather eye open!" said Kurbak.

The low murmured conversations between the crew continued in a mostly good natured way. The journey through the Bleed to Silverside had been relatively uneventful so far but they were all keen to get on with the job so they could find a fight, and go back to the drinking dens of Choggrish.

Then they all jumped at a loud noise inland. An ululating roaring, in a mix of high pitched and deep voices, rolled across the water and echoed off the cliffs.

"What the blasted hells was that?" shouted Kurbak.

Dorglut Flog pointed and made a strange gurgling sound.

From the tree-line band of reptilian warriors bore down on them with surprising speed!

~ ⦽ ~

As soon as the Cleavermaws of the Second Starboard Watch, came ashore on the banks of Copperwater they were set-upon by a band of Seraphon called the Dawnfall Ark.

Rudder Azag charged enthusiastically but he wasn't able to land a blow. The Saurus Warrior was slower but they hit Azag hard.

Harbour Skag and Mainstay Bite were surrounded. The Oldblood made short work of Skag.

Kurbak Sloop went head-to-head with Whispering-Visions in a very one-sided duel of magical powers.

Luck was not on the orruk pirates' side that day. They got their wish for a fight and a quick finish for their mission, but it wasn't quite what they had hoped for.

~ ⦽ ~

I finished 6 Seraphon models today and played fast-and-dirty solo Warcry game... that ended unexpectedly quickly - one round!

~ ⦽ ~

Dramatis Personae

The Cleavermaws, Second Starboard Watch (830 points)

  • Kurbak Sloop, a Wardokk and advisor
    Savage Orruk Morboyz:
  • Mainstay Bite
  • Fender Grak
  • Dorglut Flog
  • Deadlight Zag
  • Rudder Azag
  • Harbour Skag

The Dawnfall Ark (705 points)

  • Whispering-Visions, Skink Starpriest with a Starbolt and Star-stone Staff
  • Jaws-of-Heaven, Saurus Oldblood - celestite club and stardrake shield
  • Blazing-Star, Skink with meteoric javelin, celestite dagger and star-buckler
  • Nest-of-Sparrows,- Skink with moonstone club and star-buckler
  • Bitten-by-Gods, Saurus Warrior with celestite club and stardrake shield
  • Distant-Song, Saurus Guard with heavy celestite polearm

Friday, 1 July 2022

Animosity IV - The Bleeding Wilds, part 7 - The Lighthouse

"I hates swamps. Why do we has to walk around down here, can't we just sail over it low and just look over the sides?" complained Wrekka to Ropesend.

"Yaaargh!" said Ropesend.

The Cleavermaws made their way through the stinking horrible mires of Dungmoot, complaining bitterly the entire time, they did their best to explore as much as they could, and Lost Uzzog, their navigator-wardokk, took notes and drew a rough map. But many of them fell in the muddy waters and they were all in a very bad mood by the end of the day. Mogrum decided to head toward the lighthouse on the coast next, to stop the moaning at the very least.

When they arrived at the smaller buildings clustered around the base of the lighthouse rock, the Cleavermaws broke into one of them and started looting. The crew emptied draws and chests, up-ended vases and boxes and scattered the contents of the furniture in the small tower all over the floor. They found a few interesting trinkets, but when they discovered an ornate compass they were elated!

"I bet that is the worm-compass what the Aelf was after. He'll pay a pretty penny for that, mark my words." said Dogvane jubilantly.

"It ain't a worm-compass, its a wyrm-compass" said Crowsnest disdainfully.

"What? That's exacted which I said didn't I?" said Dogvane, annoyed at the implication.

Mogrum sighed and told them to give it to the Baron for safe keeping until they got back to the ship and, only muttering a few objections, they did as they were told.

The Kaptain and a the Baron climbed the stairs up to the battlements to have a look around. A thunder storm rumbled over the Amber Sea, and it looked like it was heading their way.

The Baron started, he elbowed Mogrum and urgently pointed at something coming rapidly up the hill toward the stronghold: It was Skargat's Ironforged Ogors!

~ ⦽ ~

The Cleavermaws hurried outside so they didn't get tangled up in a siege. They didn't like sieging.

The Ogor Tyrant rushed at them with shocking speed and body-slammed into the front row of orruk pirates.

Lost Uzzog replied by smacking the monstrous brute with his Bonebeast staff. Green sparks blazed around the impacts but Skargat just seemed to shrug-off the blows.

Sludga, Crowsnest and Dogvane headed after the Baron, to keep a watch on the compass, but they lost sight of him in the panic of the Ogor assault.

Wrekka, Ropesend and the Baron were concealed among the trees.

One of the Ironforged barrelled into Wrekka but the three of them ganged-up and quickly brought the oaf down.

Mogrum followed Sludga and the Baron withdrew still further. The wind was picking up and it was hard to see through the swirling ochre dust. But he knew what the Ogors were after and did his best to protect it.

Skargat the Tyrant bullied his way through the crowded pirates to get to the Baron.

Leaving Uzzog dazed and winded in the ocherous dirt.

Will a bellowed war cry the great Ogor chief charged through the trees and slashed at the Baron with his colossal axe. The moustachioed explorer ducked under the jagged blade and leapt back, out of the way.

Cargo the pirate Maneater fired his oversized blackpowder gun at the Baron, but the shot went wide in the howling storm.

The Baron laughed and stepped in, under the Tyrant's guard, and planted a hefty iron-fisted punch on the monster's chin.

~ ⦽ ~

Deployment: Dance of Death
Victory: Steal the Prize
Twist: Blizzard

I realised pretty quickly that it was going to be really hard work to fight the Ogors on their own terms. They have SO MANY WOUNDS that taking one down was going to require the combined effort of many orruks. So I tried to play to the Bonesplitterz strength and used their potentially huge movement to play cat and mouse. I did my best to avoid fighting more than one Ogor at a time, and tried to keep the Baron out of harm's way as much as possible after he arrived on the table at the start of turn two.

It worked pretty well, especially when Viktor rolled a handful of ones for the attacks at the far end of the last-gasp Tyrant charge!

A win for the Cleavermaws and the Stormdance Reavers!

~ ⦽ ~

The campaign started on 29th June, and runs for five weeks, so now is the perfect time to join!

Turn 1 map of The Bleed: