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…


  1. So sad I missed out on this. Looks like it was a lot of fun.

  2. Glad you're in the club now! We have to do more of these!

  3. Perhaps I could lend a dwarven detachment 'Fully armed and filthy', to the next big game?... if you don't mind 'vintage' figures from the 80's...?