Monday, 31 December 2012

Geheimnisnacht in the Empire

 Geheimnisnacht 2012

(From an Empire Perspective, retold from a first-hand account.)

A Reposted Fictionalised Battle report, first published in the Kapiti Wargames "News from the Front", based on a 6-player  Mega Game, 7500 points a side "Good" vs "Evil" earlier this year:

The twin moons of Morrslieb hung low in the sky. A low moan rose, as hundreds of undead skeleton warriors and zombies started throwing themselves against the outskirts of the village of Hazelnussdorf; which is somewhere between Gersdorf and Sabritz in Talabecland, towards the East of the Empire.

A Warrior Priest hurried peasants who had not yet heeded his warnings about Geheimnisnacht into buildings in the town centre. “Take cover, take cover!”

State troops from Talabheim had arrived, grim-faced veterans, hardened soldiers, assembled along the east side of the village stream; preparing for the task at hand. Twenty hot-headed young pistolier corps riders clattered down the cobbled street on their horses, whooping in delight about the battle to come, full of bravado. The grim warrior priest shook his head, and chanted a blessing of Sigmar over the disappearing riders; as he hurried down to join the assembled halberdiers and spearmen. This was no laughing matter.

Word had come that Emperor Karl Franz himself was at the head of a column of Reiksguard knights that were making good time from Altdorf to Talabecland, bringing with them a War Altar and the Arch Lector to see help off the Undead menace. A small mixed contingent of Middenheim spearmen and halberdiers had joined the ranks of the Talabec stalwarts. It did not appear that these were official reinforcements from Middenheim, but rather family members that had come to the aid of their kin. Certainly their low numbers did not suggest that their Elector Count was able to send full strength reinforcements, but had rather allowed members of his force with family in Talabecland leave to help defend their province.

With a roar the small stream bisecting the village erupted, the water starting to seethe and boil. Surely evil was a work here!  A group of elven archers arriving from the south barely made it up onto the hill above Hazelnussdorf, joining the mortar crew and repeater volley gun that was already tracking the advance of the undead horde streaming in from the north-west. The balance of the eleven force, mages, riders and swordsmen had to turn towards the north, as the boiling waters blocked their advance. They found themselves immediately face to face with a unit of vampiric blood knights that was bearing down on them.

The master engineer, overseeing the loading of the volley-gun, looked up as a cry of dismay rose from the edge of the forest at the east side of the village. “The Orcs! The Orcs! Grimgor is coming!”
His heart sank as he saw a stream of Orcs and goblins flowing down from the forest to the east. “Trust the greenskin hordes to capitalize on an Undead invasion”, he thought! Now the Talabeclanders had to face an attack on two fronts.

 The engineer prayed that the messenger he had sent to the Slann had made it through. Sigmar knows, they were going to need help! Then he noticed a Mortis Engine and a flurry of winged dank creatures rise into the air from the north-west. The undead were now stirring in earnest, necromancers and vampires animating the newly dead and long dead alike. As a unit of Lizardmen on cold ones burst from the forest grove, he saw a black coach and a corpse cart approach the entrance to the hamlet. “We are doomed”, he thought. “Where are the rest of the Lizardmen with their Slann ?”
" We will need strong magicks here today!"

With almighty Waagh! The Green horde stormed forward. Doom divers, at least 4 of them flew through the sky, and landed among the tightly packed defenders in the narrow streets of the hamlet, cutting down swathes of regular troops as they landed. A rock lobber threw a boulder high in the sky, hitting the group of mustering pistoliers, taking down several of their riders. “Stand firm lads!” the Talabec Officer on his horse said. “The Emperor will be her soon!”

Orc Arrows filled the air, raining down on the hapless pistoliers. Most arrows missing, or bouncing off their light armour, but the occasional arrow causing an impetuous young would-be knight to tumble from the saddle, his lifeblood draining onto the hard-baked Talabec soil. The crazed flagellants surged forward, stopped only by the presence of a rabble of irregular militia. “The end is nigh! Prepare to die!”  Shouted the Doom Prophet, flagellating himself with his whip. “I declare the Orc General to the East a heretic!” Shouted the Witch hunter, further stirring up the crazed flagellants.

With that, trumpets announced the arrival of the Emperor, Karl Franz, with Ludwig Schwartzhelm; carrying the Griffon Banner; by his side, with 20 Reiksguard Knights, resplendent in their gleaming armour and white shields carrying the cross of Sigmar. A cheer went up from the gathered troops, taking heart on the arrival of their Emperor. The War Altar of Sigmar with the Arch Lector Volkmar on board clattered to a halt behind the massed halberdiers. A few managed a wry smile at this sight. Now they stood a better chance!

However, the poorly disciplined milling mass of militia and crazed flagellants obscured the knight’s path. They had to wait patiently for these (most) irregular infantry to move out of the way. The trumpet sounded the advance. The pistoliers surged forward, as did the militia, halberdiers and spearmen of the empire. The Empire wizards of the Bright College attempted to cast spells, but the Winds of Magic were corrupted by the Geheimnisnacht energies, and the spells did not do much harm to the massed greenskin hordes.

The two volley guns erupted in a cavalcade of fire, raining injury on the Savage Orcs and Orc infantry. One barrel of the gun on the hill misfired, but was luckily cleared by the engineer. The two mortars failed to do much damage. The one near the wood exploded in a spectacular fashion, cracking down the middle and killing its crew outright. The other only hit a glancing shot on the front rank of the savage Orcs, its Str2 hits killing only one savage greenskin.

The Black Orcs screamed defiance, and charged forward. The handgunner detachment moved into position, took aim, and fired, only taking down one Black Orc in their volley. Their  movement had taken the handgunners into the small forest, which triggered a magic effect, unleashing ancient evil from trees on the unsuspecting handgunners, felling 3 of their number instantly. The pistoliers shot a few of the Orc arrow boys in their wild charge.

The Orc generals recognised the threat from the hot-headed youngblood pistoliers, and turned all their artillery on the pistoliers’ charge. Doom diver followed doom diver, rock lobber shot followed rock lobber shot, volleys of arrows tore into the riders, now caught in the open; until only the outrider and one pistolier were left. These were charged by both a wolf chariot and an Orc chariot. The defiant youngbloods shot from the saddle, killing one Orc chariot rider, before being shredded to a bloody pulp beneath the scythed blades, the chariots overcharging before grinding to a halt.

Savage Orcs and Black Orcs surged forward, the latter losing one blackskin to the forests evils, before clashing with the waiting halberds of the empire. The handgunner detachment could not get a bead on the horde in the narrow confines of the cobbled streets before Grimgor scythed his way through the empire ranks, followed by his jubilant horde. The gallant halberdiers hold their ground, encouraged by the warrior priest, who intilled in them hatred of the Black Orcs, but their defiance was short-lived, they were swept away,  killing both the  level 2 wizard and the  warrior priest in their ranks.  The black Orcs overran into a horde of spearmen, 4 ranks deep. These struck hard, but failed to make much impression on the heavily armoured black Orcs, Grimgor again slaying numbers with his superior skill, prowess and weaponry. The line held though, for the time being…

The Savage Orcs reformed and charged down the cobblestoned alleyway, finding them-selves opposed by not only the second detachment of handgunners, but also the unit of elven archers and the 9 barrels of the Volley gun, manned by the Master Engineer and a regular crew. During the shooting phase these took a toll, but this did not hinder the frenzied warriors in their bloodlust. Meanwhile, just across the boiling stream the Blood knights had hacked the elven swordsmen down to a single stubborn rank. The presence of a mage inspired the swordsmen to great heights, and they decisively turned the undead knights to undead crumbling dust.

Meanwhile the lizard riders were putting up a good fight against the hordes of undead. The winds of magic were very unkind, and the Chain of lightning spell failed to ignite time and time again. This may have had something to do with the absence of a Slann from their battle order. Maybe the great one was unable to stir from his deep contemplation to meddle in the affairs of mere men.

The narrow confines of the hamlet’s streets did work to the advantage of the lizard men, as the undead hordes were limited in how many could access the scaly warriors, and they were unable to drown the scaled ones in a tide of undead bodies, as clearly was the plan of the undead vampire generals and their necromancers.

Vargoyles and vargulfs had to shelter from the hail of arrows unleashed with deadly accuracy by the elves, and got slaughtered to the man (beast) by the defenders. However, slowly but surely the undead took possession of the village. The mortis engine exploded in a terrifying spray of undead body parts, the howling of undead souls draining away into the netherworlds deafening the defenders for a few minutes. Then it was gone…

The Orc Great Shaman cast Hand of Gork on the Goblin archers, setting them down in the enchanted forest, flanking the empire troops. This placement caused a small number of casualties from the forest’s effect, much to the amusement of the survivors. They then proceeded to shower the empire ranks with their poisoned arrows at short range, after releasing 3 fanatics which dealt incredible damage to the packed ranks of Empire defenders before being destroyed.

Not unusually, some of the greenskin artillery misfired, firing a doom diver right off the board, and also rendering some artillery pieces useless for several turns. The one goblin shaman cast with irresistible force, causing a miscast that dealt damage to every spell caster on the dark side. This particular shaman was the most popular wizard on the day (Not). Animosity did not seem play a great role in this battle, but is a constant fact in any greenskin army.

The remaining warrior priest in the ranks of the militia ordered them to charge the wolf chariot, wiping out goblin riders and wolves alike in their pent up hatred, overcharging into the Orc chariot. This proved a more difficult nut to crack, and they remained locked in combat to the end of the day. A unit of Trolls waded into the fray, gleefully killing some the poorly trained militiamen, but held back by the faith of the warrior priest, regenerating all wounds suffered bar one.

The flagellants charged forward, and into the fray, sacrificing 3 of their own as martyrs, but failing to cause many casualties. This finally made a way for Franz and the Reiksguard to gallop through into the open, and eventually making contact with the rank of Orc Big ‘Uns that were waiting. Franz and Ludwig killed several Orcs, but arrow and artillery fire caused the demise of several noble knights before they made contact with the Big ‘Uns, leaving the mob of Orcs locked in combat with the Reiksguard Knights when dawn broke.
Eventually daylight came.

The Undead and Orcs had pushed the empire defenders and their gallant allies to the outskirts of the town. The whole of the halberdier unit had been destroyed, with only a few of their handgunner detachment surviving the battle. The spearmen were clinging on for dear life, with their handgunner detachment and swordmen detachment annihilated. Undead had taken possession of a great many homes and buildings, ruthlessly slaying the terrified and helpless villagers, and feasting on their corpses.

Karl Franz and the Arch Lector decided to leave the contaminated village to the creatures of the night and their greenskin allies. The Witch hunter pronounced the village as unclean. The remaining empire troops withdrew to fight another day, after being ritually cleansed by the Arch Lector.

They left a great many the corpses of their comrades to the mercy of the undead. They slowly withdrew from the battlefield, knowing full well that they may have to face their fallen comrades when the twin moons of Morrslieb are full and the next Geheimnisnacht occurs…

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Santa's Error: The Delightful Chickens

Santa's Error: The Delightful Chickens

Theodore Bruckner on Hippogryf
Forge World (tm) 

So Santa got me one of the items on my list from Forgeworld. 
The Blooming postage was almost as much as the model, which didn't come cheap !
But wait there is more... 
The overzealous Santa developed a finger-stutter, and lo and behold: 
TWO Theodores arrive!

How lucky can you get! Now I can Build two versions, and the Two Supersized chickens can join my regular sized Empire Monstrous dreary chicken cavalry!
I think these Hippogryfs are better models than the WH ones.

Kudos to ASB bank too, and a raspberry to Forge World's Cyber Security.

We got a phone call from ASB bank, querying a transaction that followed on ours, putting in another order for about 200 Euros with Forgeworld, originating from Ireland, clearly Forgeworld's online system has been hacked: just a word of warning if you buy something online from them...

Monday, 24 December 2012

Dark Elf Corsairs and Team Tounaments

Dark Elf Corsairs and Team Tournaments

Our Warhammer Fantasy Gaming Group in the Kapiti Wargames Club 
have decided to enter the Team Event in February, been game testing our armies. 
I've elected to go with a Dark Elf Army. Skaven, Greenskins and Chaos Daemons make up the balance.
Silly season has got in the way (some of us have to work :( )
 I've not had any chance to test my Army as yet, but at least I have a list.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Stop me before I Paint again...

Stop me before I paint again...

Terrible thing, this obsession with models and painting. My kids got me this poster to hang in the Man Cave last year:
 Photos of the current layout, with the new shelves for storage and display, the cupboards with models in their storage boxes. I didn't get a shot of the piles of shame under the counter (Models yet to be built)

The entire work space incorporating the libations station on the left

Empire Troops en masse and modelling and painting equipment

The painting corner

Storage shelves

Paints, bases and bitz

The WW2 and Train storage area

WHFB Storage Cupboard:
Top shelf: Odd shaped and sized models (Chaos Daemons , Dark Elves , VCs and Greenskins)
2nd Shelf: Luc's Lizard Men and Ogres, my Dwarfs
Third Shelf: Luc's Tau, Undead (Vampire Counts) and Dark Elves
Bottom shelf: Empire Artillery, Greenskin Cavalry, assorted war machines, War Altars etc

WW2 figuers (part built/painted) and Modelling Literature overflow , Terrain and Realm of Chaos.
Mordheim bits also live here, including a conversion of Preacher Joseph (54mm) as an Empire Ogre Mercenary. The empty space at top right is where the 40K Vehicles used to live. They are about to be listed on Trade me (E-bay equivalent here in NZ)

Ok, so the sorting and arrangement is over. Let's get back to some serious modelling. Getting to grips with Kurt Helborg (R) and Ludwig Schratzhelm (L), arch rival special characters of the Empire

Monday, 26 November 2012

A Man Cave Re-organised: A Shelf-ish Peace

A Man Cave Re-organised
(or A Shelf-ish Peace comes to the Empire)

Finally moved the entire Empire Army off the Pool/Gaming Table, assembled the waiting bookcases, and rearranged the shelves. Took me most of Friday night and Sunday. The building/painting surfaces, storage for paints, glue and bits all rearranged. Empire Army in its entirity (well almost) up on the shelves. Shipped off the Australian and Indian 20mm figures to their own shelf, and the almost finished German King Tiger, the 3rd Flak Quad Vierling and halfway converted Puma joined them shortly after. (Okay... I won't mention WW2 or 20mm again)

Unofficial Cult of Ulric Supplement, would like to give this a go with my Knights of the White Wolf at some point, like-wise with the Unofficial Kislev

Friday night saw me using Shelleys Pre-mixed Gap Filler to fill the bases before magnetising all, yes all, of my Empire Cavalry, and all my Nordland Flaggellants. My special characters all had their character flaws filled, and their bases magnetised. The Elector Count Luc, my son, nicely summerised it when he came into the cave late Sunday afternoon: "Great! Now we have 360 degrees of Warhammer!"

Nordland handgunners and swordsmen still need their bases filled, and then I can start building those Demigryph cavalry, Ludwig Schwartzhelm and Kurt Helborg. Luther Huss is built, ready to be primed. I promised myself that I would not start on them before everything else was done. So they still reside in the pile of shame with the Talabheim Greatswords. I have just about finished my Karl Franz on Deathclaw conversion, from the High Elf Griffin, rather than buying current Karl of a puffed pigeon griffon.

So organised now:
1. One cupboard full of mostly completed armies (My Dark Elves, Dwarfs, Greenskins, Vampires, The Elector Count Luc's Tau, Ogres and Lizardmen)
2.Another containing my Chaos army and Chaos Daemons, Mordheim bits and the soon-to-be-sold remnants of our Space Marine and CSM Armour,
3. 4-piece shelf with the empire, and dragons and giants and other things to large to fit the cupboard shelves, and my modeling tools, pains and painting station.
4. A (finally or temporarily) clear bar/bench top surface, with space under it filled with bitz boxes, and 2 shelves of shame: One for the unbuilt WHFB models, and another for Unbuilt 20mm WW2 (Oops...said it again)
5. Low cupboard containing all the WW2 20mm armies, armour and also terrain, as well as all the HO/OO railway bits
6. Shelf containing all the Gaming literature and rule books
7. 3-4 containers full of terrain, a castle for sieges etc

Monday, 19 November 2012

Talabec Trotters: Mounted Multiple Shot Rotters

Talabec Trotters, Multiple Shot Rotters

Mounted forces play an important role in the Empire Armies. Mounted light cavalry, armed with repeater handguns can be a formidable force to recon with. Mobile and hard-hitting they can be a real force to be reckoned with. The grizzled veteran Outriders are the most experienced and longest living of the tempestuous riders of Talabheim and Talabec.

Armed with devastating multiple-shot handguns these guys can unleash a hail of armour-piercing lead on any enemy, and gallop away from retribution, only to reform and approach again...

Emo Knights? Knights and Priest of Morr

The Knights of Morr and their Warrior Priest

The Knights of Morr are the Dark Underbelly of the Empire. 

The preoccupation of the Wizards and Priests of Morr with Death and its trappings are clear from the Iconography they choose. Generally shunned by the populace, who give them a wide berth these knights will fight evil with evil. Some say they are already Undead themselves...

Work in progress, the Knights of Morr riding out in search of the enemies of the Empire as the sun sets and the creatures of the night start stirring...

The last rays of the setting sun glint off the dark armour and funerary purple livery of the Knights of Morr

 The Grand Master of Morr and his Warrior Priest, together with the command group. As befitting a Warrior Priest of Morr, the WP does not carry a Hammer of Sigmar, but rather the Scythe of Morr

Friday, 16 November 2012

Warrior Priests and Spiritual Fortitude

Spiritual Fortitude: Warrior Priests and Witch Hunters

The good citizens of the Taal Valley are besieged by dark forces, incursions of Chaos, and all manner of temptation to turn to the Dark side.

Map of the Empire, showing Talabecland, with Talabheim on the banks of the River Taal, and how Ostland and Stirland Act as buffers to the East

Luckily they have the Warrior Priests and Witch hunters to fortify them against this onslaught, find and eliminate these heretics, converts of Darkness and unbelievers.

Two of my Warrior Priests

Vampire and Witch Hunters, and a stern Master Engineer with a brace of Pistols

Talabheim Heroes and Lords with Luther Huss (unpainted) and Valten (Part Painted)
Second row: Reiksguard, Captain of the Reiksguard and Elector count of Reikland acting as the Emperor's Bodyguard

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Empire Conflagellation

Empire Conflagellation

(or lets all flagellate together now...)

I got my whole Empire Army (barring artillery) out last night, and arranged them on my gaming table.
Did I hear a cry of "solo wargaming !"; Scott ? You may call it solo gaming, I may Armies on parade....
Lets admit it, we all do it, our own little secret...

Without any buff and fluff, shields and upgrades I can probably field 10 000+ points. 
The Army contains many Mordheim Skirmish Models. (Skirmish games being another love of I have.) 

I have based them on square bases, not always ideal for skirmish games, but this means they can be used as part of standard WHFB armies too, so the Sisters of Sigmar can join the Army either as alternative Warrior Priests (Nuns) or part of a flagellant band. The Mordheim Empire Witch Hunters can fulfill a similar role.

How about a unit just containing Warrior Priests or Witch Hunters?

Who said self flagellating religious fanatics need to be only male? 

This picture is off the net, but my paint scheme is similar (Blue) for my Nordland Sisters of Sigmar

Generic pictures: Will post some of my own tomorrow, geting the wide angle lens out...
Pictured above is one of my favourites, the infamous Nun Chuck with her ubiquitous nunchaku shaped flail. A nice visual pun!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The border provinces: Talabecland and Talabheim

My Empire armies are based on the Town of Talabheim and it's bordering countryside, Talabecland.
Their impressive red and white livery is what I originally started with when I started collecting Empire.

Knights of the White Wolf and a Warrior Priest of Ulrik are at the disposal of the Count, as is adequate numbers of Nulnish artillery. Proximity to the Drakwald has caused many Wizards to aggregate in and around Talabheim to bolster the spiritual defense of these embattled areas.

Knights of the White Wolf, filled with the spirit of Ulrik, gallop into the fray

The banner still needs painting

Alternative Karl Franz, from the now defunct Confrontation range

His shield is in for repairs after taking a very heavy beating from Gorbad Ironclaw

Heraldry of Talabheim

Part of the lead and plastic pile of shame: Un-built Demigryph cavalry, Greatswords, and special characters. 

Grand Master of the Reiksguard and Elector Count of Reikland

A few of the wizards in my collection

I also run a Nordland army, based around the coastal city of Marienburg. The Maritime flavour is reflected in the iconography and city colours; blue and yellow. The latter colour not reflecting the valour of these oft beseiged troops. Attached to this, in light blue is a band of Kislevite archers and the Ice Queen, hopefully one day expanding into and entire army. More photos to follow