Sunday, 3 June 2012

Chaos Warbands – Khorne strikes back.


Our warbands are not this cool yet.

A chaos warband game had been on the cards for some time. Weeks in the planning a friend from High School, who remains obsessed with little men, had volunteered to game with us. He’d rolled up two warbands both of which seemed far too randomly powerful. I think he had a giant in one warband and a vampire in the other. Warbands is nothing if not random and the furthest thing from fair possible. That’s a feature though and not a bug.

Warbands, like early versions of Warhammer, works best with a GM adjudicating and throwing curves balls at the players to spice the game up. Early Warhammer scenarios felt a lot like role-playing games, which was no doubt intentional. With three of us someone could serve as a GM. This would be awesome. Sadly our friend was a no show. No idea why but what can you do? We could still get a game in we but would have to come up with the story ourselves. Optimus Prime made the point that the more random you put into the scenario the more you ‘simulate’ a GM. He’s right. Ogres arrive, demons are summoned and the scenario spiced up all at the whim of the dice.

So robbed of a GM, Optimus Prime and I sat down with the Realm of Chaos books, turned to the narrative generator chapter and rolled a d100. The result was a fight in a chaos shrine set in a cavern, which simply wouldn’t do. Optimus had headed to the shed and pulled out his old cardboard buildings, it was clear we would need a scenario involving a village. The next scenario was a fight in a fort that one of the warbands had infiltrated disguised as nuns. This sounded fun but was too silly for Optimus so we gave up rolling and just read through the entries looking for interesting missions. It wouldn’t be long before we found a suitable plot and formed a game around it.
Lum the mad, summoner of demons and caster of random spells.
Lum the mad was a powerful sorcerer whose mind had long since fled. Banished from the Empire he now roamed the wastes wreaking havoc. Warblegut and Doomgrab Ripflesh had been charged by their respective demonic patrons with ending Lum’s life. The rogue sorcerer had erected a series of magical barriers at twenty, ten and five inch radii. He then stood in the middle of an abandoned village and began a ritual to summon demons. It is always good to have ‘ticking clock’ in a scenario whether it’s a regiment of Knights Panther, a tribe of ogres or an imminent demonic incursion. Lum’s defences could only be lowered by the spilling of blood. Each death would lower a barrier meaning it would take three deaths before one of the champions could strike at the sorcerer.
Both warbands on the outskirts of town.
Warblegut surrounds himself with beastmen.
We randomly determined where our warbands would start the battle. Fortunately we started close to each other. Warblegut now sought safety amongst the herd of beastmen. His solo career ended thanks to too many brushes with death. His hobgoblins and beastmen limped across the battlefield due to various leg injuries. They rounded the houses and edged around the board towards their rivals, eager to spill blood.
Doomgrab Ripflesh prepares an ambush for his slow moving rivals.
Doomgrab had the advantage of maneuverability and used it to charge the beastmen herd. Perhaps he feared Warblegut’s crossbow or the historically inaccurate archery of the hobgoblins? Either way he issued a challenge to his rival, gambling on landing a hit with his sucker tentacles and finishing his foe nice and early. The dice gods were cruel to Doomgrab and he missed. With his retaliatory stroke Warblegut sliced the tentacled freak in two. Blood for the blood god! Toad-spike the orc had also charged into the fray along side his master and thanks to the momentum of his charge held his ground.
Doomgrab gambles and loses while his sorcerer buddy Slashbite watches on.
Toad-spike the orc is surrounded and dragged down.
Slashbite Venomfist unleashed a torrent of stones at the herd but did little damage as beastmen in 3e have a mighty two wounds. The hobgoblins charged for the first time and promptly failed their cool test. This is a good thing! They flew into a frenzy and started hacking at the orc who was pushed back and then torn down as the units he was holding off swarmed him thanks to the wrap around rule.
Did someone call for some Bloodletters?
With two creatures slain Lum’s magic defences were looking shaky. Unfortunately the two warbands had given him enough time to complete his summoning. Bloodletters appeared at the far end of the village and while they were demons of Khorne Warblegut knew they would show him no mercer. Backing up to the edge of the board, ready for a quick exit, Warblegut’s band drew their missile weapons and prepared to pepper their foes with bolts and arrows. Warblegut lined up Lum with his crossbow and planted a bolt in the fool’s belly. The hobgoblins let fly with an ineffective volley of arrows at the Bloodletter that stalked them.
Slashbite tries to blast Lum with magic.
Slashbite began to cast assault of stone at Lum but failed to summon enough magic power to do so. We had decided that Lum the mad would cast a random spell each turn from all available spell lists. Often this produced a pointless spell but sometimes it would produce something cool. First up was leg breaking, we figured that given that Warblegut had hurt him he would be the target. It seemed poetic really given that the champion of Khorne had already suffered a crippling leg injury. The chaos dwarf resisted the magic with a successful will save sparing his other leg from snapping.
Wind of death takes its toll.
Slashbite hides in a cottage.
Slashbite needed a place to hold up and meditate as he had run out of magic points. He chose a building and ducked inside just as the Bloodletters were closing in. There was a chance the Bloodletters would go after easier targets (my hobgoblins) so we diced for it. The dice decided that the demons would continue to hound the mage now hold up in the cottage. Lum let loose a wind of death spell that causes a strength 3 hit on every living thing on the board including the caster. I died a little inside as I thought ‘here we go Warblegut is going to die again!’ Luck was with the champion but not with the rest of his band who suffered terribly. The hobgoblins panicked from the spell inflicted casualties and Warblegut’s band of beastmen joined them and fled from the board.

Slashbite flees to the tower but is trapped and hacked down.
Slashbite hung in there for a while escaping the cottage and fleeing to the villages tower. He had meditated enough to cast one more assault of stone spell at Lum but failed to hurt him. Lum had managed to roll up vanish which allowed him to teleport into the tower on the back of a demonic steed. Once there he threw the barred door open and the demons swarmed in. Slashbite was slain soon after.

Warblegut had killed a wizard, which netted him 5 victory points. He had accumulated enough victory points to be rewarded by Khorne and received the gift of regeneration. One of his beastmen followers received the gift of a giant head, which does nothing except make you look stupid. He had also earned a bit of extra loot that I used to grab a horse for my crippled leader. This may turn out to be a terrible idea as it’s safer for him to hide amongst the herd rather than stand out on the back of a horse. We’ll see next game. Doomgrab, Slashbite and Toad-spike the orc all survived their casualty rolls unscathed. I lost a hobgoblin and a beastman ended up with crappy toughness going forward. The gradual crippling of Warblegut’s warband continues.

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