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  • #163709
    Padre
    Participant

    In the north-east, the vile ratto uomo had pushed further southwards, presumably employing the ancient tunnels known as underpasses, which had long been generally thought to have collapsed. Emerging south of Campogrotta, upon the far side of the River Tarano, they had sent a terrible engine towards the city with sufficient guards to ensure it would get close.

    Luckily for the city, although not at all for those who went out to thwart the engine’s advance, it failed to lob its grenado over the walls, but instead blew itself up, instantly killing almost everyone, friend or foe, within two thousand braccia!

    A good number of the Compagnia del Sole and the Karak Borgo dwarfs survived, for several companies had remained within the city during the attack, and more had the night before marched north to Buldio in response to reports of multiple instances of arson, believed to be the ratto uomo’s main attack, later presumed to have been a deliberate distraction.

    A regiment of King Jaldeog’s dwarfs had been among the casualties, which left Lord Narhak with a much-reduced garrison in the city. The Compagnia suffered even more significant losses – several bodies of foot soldiers and companies of light horse, which for a mercenary company was no small matter. One of its captains, the respected Venusto Masin, perished in the blast, but the company’s marshal, Captain Luigi Esposito, strode away as if untouched by the effects of the poison, supporting the only two survivors of the regiment he had led onto the field of battle. Or at least, he was untouched bodily, for the state of his mind was another matter entirely, and compared to his past self, he was ever after like another man entirely.

    The wizard Perrette, despite having approached the engine to cast her fire magic against it, also escaped, along with her Brabanzon riders, for they departed the engine’s vicinity just in time. In hindsight, no-one questioned the Brabanzon’s actions, for whether they were fleeing in panic or retreating in good order and with good reason, they had avoided almost certain death. To suggest they had done wrong was thus a moot point.

    Perette had been wounded during the skirmish, and subsequently kept her own counsel concerning her plans. Only she and her riders knew why they rode from the city so hastily, heading north.

    It was suggested she might intend to return to Ravola now that the ratto uomo’s main strength was removed from thence, or that she would cross the Nuvolonc back to Bretonnia, or that she looked to hide in the forests and wilderness again, with or without the Arrabiatti’s aid, there to nurse her wounds as she had done after Ravola. The most hopeful citizens wondered if she had gone to fetch the Arrabiatti to aid in Campogrotta’s defence, while the more pragmatic knew she had no real reason to do so.

    She left behind confusion within the city. A huge area of dead and deadly ground now lay to its immediate south, and it was very likely that a ratto uomo army was close by somewhere.

    Those who knew something concerning past wars assumed, with good reason, that the ratmen had exited through one of their legendary tunnels hidden somewhere in the rocky, forested hills to the south.

    If the enemy were there, then they would have to find a way around the poisoned land and cross the river elsewhere, with no bridge to carry them over – which was possibly why they had yet to appear at the city. Nothing lived in the newly corrupted land; nor, if it entered, could live, and even the river waters were poisoned as they passed through, so that the trees closest to the river began to wither all the way to its junction to the River Bellagio. It was most fortunate that no large settlement lay any further down river, for such a place would surely have suffered from the corruption in the waters, but the elves of Tettoverde must surely (and quickly) have noticed the poisoning of the northernmost reaches of their ancient, sylvan realm.

    The Compagnia del Sole’s condottiere general, Bruno Mazallini, was less than happy to be the governor of a realm now half-poisoned, with sickness spreading through the city, and panic all around. The dwarven thane, Lord Narhak …

    … recorded in his personal book of grudges that the general and the remaining portion of the Compagnia del Sole intended to quit the realm and flee southwest, leaving it to the rat-men, with the general declaring in council that an army can never win when it goes into battle against a plague!

    Lord Narhak, keenly aware of the danger of remaining in the city when all others were likely to leave or had already left, and that his loyal, dwarven warriors were just as susceptible to the rat-men’s foul poisons as any soldier, marched his small force to the watchtower of Lugo on the Carraia del Ferro.

    There he halted and garrisoned the place, apparently intending thus to guard the gateway to the road to Karak Borgo, and at a suitable distance from the miasmic horror to the city’s south.

    There was little in the way of defences, for the tower was more a toll house than a stronghold, so he ordered his soldiers to make what defences they could, and quickly. What few engines the possessed were placed to face towards Campogrotta, for Lord Narhak reckoned any ratto uomo advance must surely come from that direction.

    He either knew or presumed that the rat-men’s tunnels could not possibly reach his mountain home, for the mining skill of dwarves was renowned and so any such passageways must surely have been discovered and collapsed or otherwise rendered impassable. The Iron Road was the only way to Karak Borgo. So, while his messenger made his way to King Jaldeog, and any reinforcements made their way down the Iron Road to him, he and his rump of a force would have to stand their ground as best they could.

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #163707
    Padre
    Participant

    Discord, Dangers and Disinclination

    An Excerpt from Bonacorso Fidelibus’s Work: The Many Wars of the Early 25th Century

    The First Months of Summer, 2404

    In the far south there was much relief in Alcente when the Sartosan Corsairs’ army moved away from the city, without commencing a siege. Perhaps the mauling they had received at Sersale, or more likely, the haul of loot they had already taken, had convinced them to depart.

    When it became clear, however, that they were not making their way to their ships in the Black Gulf, but instead had begun marching east along the ancient road towards Pavezzano, the citizens’ relief was coloured by concern. Soon, those who liked to boast of their wisdom in the ways of the world, were claiming that they had always known this would happen, for pirates never attack strong foes, like a dragon might challenge another of its kind, but instead seek out the weak, like wolves pick out the feeblest amongst their prey.

    Pavezzano would prove a much easier prey to capture and consume than the stone walled city of Alcente.

    Despite being hindsight, there was undoubtedly truth to this professed wisdom. The Sartosans had struck first at the relatively small city state of Luccini, while the prince and his army were absent. Then, upon learning that the army of the VMC had marched far north to assist in the war against the vampire duchess, they attacked the realm of Alcente (although the westerly winds of the recent spring storms had likely played a part in restricting their options, by making an easy return home to Sartosa unlikely). They had not attacked the much richer realm of Portomaggiore, for although Lord Alessio was also fighting in the far north, he had left a substantial force, in size an army, to protect his realm. Nor had the Sartosans sailed to Remas, similarly protected despite its own continued involvement in the war to the north.

    The Sartosans now discovered that despite their destruction of several companies of Alcentian militia, the stalling at Sersale had allowed time enough for more professional soldiers, including a renowned regiment of mercenary pikemen from the northern parts of the Old World, to be landed at the city of Alcente. If there was one thing the VMC could get plenty of, it was gold. Their investors’ contributions would only dry up if the prospect for future profit began to look less likely.

    The VMC’s ships were still able to serve the port, for although the Sartosan fleet was massed out in the gulf, only skeleton crews remained aboard – sufficient, it was thought, to defend themselves (or at the least, sail away from any threat) but entirely lacking in the fighting strength required to actively blockade the city from the sea. Furthermore, Captain General Valckenburgh was widely reported to be returning from his northern enterprise, with a significant portion of his army, to relieve the city.

    With all this in mind, no doubt, the Sartosan Corsairs had decided now was the time to leave the city’s environs. And if they were to return to their ships, then why not do so from the port of Pavezzano? For it was a place their fleet could easily sail to and which they could loot at their leisure en route to the wharves!

    At Pavona, only a few days after the young Lord Silvano’s departure to assist Campogrotta in the war against the ratto uomo, grave news came to the city of a most inauspicious event. Duke Guiodobaldo had been attacked during one of his hunts in the hills to the north of Montorio. The Verezzan brigand, Pettirosso, had attempted to assassinate him with a poison tipped arrow, seeking vengeance for the death of Lord Lucca.

    Of course, such a slippery fellow had subsequently escaped, along with his band of robbers, into the wooded hills, while those with the duke had, at least in the first instance, been distracted by the need to get their master back to the city. Only once that was done did they pursue revenge, sending search parties out to scour the southern stretches of the Trantine Hills.

    It was feared the duke had been mortally wounded, for his physicians reported that the arrowhead had pierced deep and the poison had entered his blood to bring about a deathly fever, the gangrene setting in at thrice the normal speed.

    Within a day, however, his two most able physicians, from the best universities in Estalia, a realm renowned for its medicinal knowledge …

    … announced that his humours had been re-balanced and the poison countered with a potent combination of healing magics and efficacious medicaments, thus thwarting the duke’s death. This cause great relief in the city, and even celebrations, encouraged by the duke’s officers and courtiers, who paid for wine to flow from the city’s fountains and conduits!

    Yet the duke remained bed-ridden …

    … and it was whispered that he was so weak as to be unable even to feed himself. It was clear he could not continue his daily duties as ruler. His most trusted advisors and privy councillors, knowing this to be a dangerous time for the recently ravaged city state, what with the ongoing discord with Verezzo, the new dangers of the ratto uomo and pirates, and the disinclination of the banking families of Tilea to loan the duke any more monies, agreed with their lord and master that his son, Silvano, must immediately be recalled to the city to serve as regent during the period of his father’s ill health.

    Lord Silvano was to have full and unbridled authority, so that his father need not be troubled by any affairs of state, neither great nor petty. Indeed, the young lord would effectively be serving an apprenticeship for that he would attain upon his inheritance. Silvano thus abandoned his noble quest and returned with great alacrity.

    There to be welcomed home by the city’s populace much more keenly than they had so recently bid him farewell, for he was generally considered a hero, having always strived his utmost to fight evil, at no small risk to himself, whether near or far from home, and was known to love both his father and the people of Pavona dearly.

    Indeed, his new rule, in practice total (at least until his father recovered) was welcomed by many a ruler in Tilea, including not least the Arch-Lector of the Holy Morrite Church, Bernadino Ugolini, who knew Lord Silvano well, having served with him in the vampire wars and even once cleared the young nobleman in court of all wrongdoing (during the Pavonan brigade’s mutiny at Viadaza). Most were agreed that Silvano’s regency bode well for Pavona and its neighbours, although many were too cautious to admit this was because it meant Duke Guidobaldo’s tyranny had, at least for now and perhaps forever, ended.

    The young lord’s regency was considered a chance for a renaissance for Pavona, an opportunity to begin again afresh: to thrive in trade, to build new alliances and new bonds and to forge a bright future under the enlightened rule of a valiant, principled, and compassionate ruler.

    It remained to be seen whether Barone Iacopo, regent of Verezzo, would remain implacable in his distrust of Pavona. He himself had served alongside Lord Silvano in the war against the vampires, and so knew full well how different the young man was compared to his father. Yet such was the wickedness of Duke Guidobaldo’s past actions, that the halfling lord, who loved his old master well and yearned deeply for revenge, might find himself unable to forgive Pavona. If he were to continue his hatred, perhaps it would manifest in something as small as choosing not to punish the brigand Pettirosso for his actions? Or perhaps it would manifest in continuing to prepare for war against Pavona?

    Another even more powerful captain, General Valckenburgh of the VMC …

    … also had unfinished business with Duke Guidobaldo, concerning a most vile defamation. But the VMC’s considerable forces were engaged in wars both to the far north and the far south, providing entirely sufficient distraction to tie them up for some time. Besides, the general had himself yielded to young Lord Silvano’s persuasive requests to leave off the siege of Pavona, finding his petitioner to be an honourable enough fellow. All this considered, it could well be that like several other rulers, General Vlackenburgh was amenable to the notion of turning over a new leaf in his affairs with Pavona.

    In the north-west, Lord Alessio Falconi’s mighty alliance army was floundering at the edge of the corrupted marshes that had overspilled to claim the environs of the city of Miragliano. On one night, early on in the attempted blockade, a vampiric fiend crept from the city under cover of darkness intent on assassinating the captain general himself. It seems that the unholy priest Biagino hoped to emulate the success his now truly-dead mistress had had when she sent Lord Adolfo into the camp of the Disciplinati di Morr, so killing both their Praepositus Generalis, Father Carradalio, and his second in command, the Admonitor Vincenzo, subsequently having such a deleterious effect on the Disciplinati that they were utterly, even easily, wiped out in the field of battle.

    Luckily, Lord Alessio’s personal bodyguard regiment, his brave Sea Wolves, discovered the monstrous assassin before it reached Lord Alessio, and (at the cost of several many of their own lives) they cut the monster down. Afterwards, Lord Alessio ordered its foul head cut off and placed atop a pike within sight of the city walls.

    It was doubtful such a sight would in any way stir fear in the foe, but it was at the least an advertisement of the alliance army’s defiance. Several soldiers began taking it in turns to guard the grisly trophy, whilst at the same time adding to the line of observation posts strung about the large army as it prepared for battle.

    Then, as well as knighting one of the wolves who fought the most bravely, Lord Alessio posthumously honoured those who had died by ordering their names recorded upon the city realm’s roll of honour, which kept the memory of all the heroes who had served the state with distinction.

    It was one thing, however, for soldiers to defeat an assassin, another thing entirely to defeat sickness. The army camp’s proximity to a corrupted marsh harbouring a festering mass of undead had concerned Lord Alessio …

    … which was why he had initially attempted to cleanse a route through it in order to attack the city promptly. This proved impossible, due to the dangerously slippery nature of both the foe and the land which harboured them, and so the captain general ordered a redoubling of the efforts to make rafts, battering rams and towers with which to assault the city walls. Then, at the first (inevitable) signs of camp fever and the flux, the general ordered the army moved to the nearest, properly dry land and instructed his soldiers and those of the Reman and VMC forces also under his command to drink only the water brought from the river near the Soncino watchtower by a dedicated contingent of horse and foot soldiers.

    Meanwhile, his newly appointed siege master, Captain Guccio, oversaw the construction of several large rafts, including some to carry siege towers and one to carry a battering ram.

    These were to be propelled through the deeper waters of the marsh now surrounding the city by way of setting poles. Guccio, being a man of great practicality, had ordered the soldiers to practise along a deeply flooded stretch at the eastern edge of the marsh.

    Where the waters were not so deep, the soldiers would have to dismount the rafts and carry them to the next flooded area. That task did not really require practise, just strength, and the army’s Captain General, Lord Alessio, had commanded that the soldiers should not be put to unnecessary exercises before the fight ahead, as he did not want them weakened, injured or made ill by wading the foul waters. The sickness threatening his camp was bad enough, he declared, without risking further losses from the rank and file. Punting, however, he permitted, for the soldiers need not go into the water, nor was it the most taxing of activities.

    It did, however, require learned skill, and practiced coordination between the men involved. If necessary, closest to the city walls, where the moat added considerably to the water’s depth, oars would have to be employed, but Guccio hoped that would just be a short distance. There would be a lot more punting to do, and plenty of opportunities for insufficiently skilled men to fail.

    So it was that the alliance army, so close to the foul enemy and about to embark upon their most difficult assault yet, witnessed the incongruous sight of rafts coursing back and forth along the waters, not entirely unlike gentle-folk at play in gondolas on a moat within a grand city park.

    In the north-east, the vile ratto uomo had pushed further southwards, presumably employing the ancient tunnels known as underpasses, which had long been generally thought to have collapsed. Emerging south of Campogrotta, upon the far side of the River Tarano, they had sent a terrible engine towards the city with sufficient guards to ensure it would get close.

    Luckily for the city, although not at all for those who went out to thwart the engine’s advance, it failed to lob its grenado over the walls, but instead blew itself up, instantly killing almost everyone, friend or foe, within two thousand braccia!

    A good number of the Compagnia del Sole and the Karak Borgo dwarfs survived, for several companies had remained within the city during the attack, and more had the night before marched north to Buldio in response to reports of multiple instances of arson, believed to be the ratto uomo’s main attack, later presumed to have been a deliberate distraction.

    A regiment of King Jaldeog’s dwarfs had been among the casualties, which left Lord Narhak with a much-reduced garrison in the city. The Compagnia suffered even more significant losses – several bodies of foot soldiers and companies of light horse, which for a mercenary company was no small matter. One of its captains, the respected Venusto Masin, perished in the blast, but the company’s marshal, Captain Luigi Esposito, strode away as if untouched by the effects of the poison, supporting the only two survivors of the regiment he had led onto the field of battle. Or at least, he was untouched bodily, for the state of his mind was another matter entirely, and compared to his past self, he was ever after like another man entirely.

    The wizard Perrette, despite having approached the engine to cast her fire magic against it, also escaped, along with her Brabanzon riders, for they departed the engine’s vicinity just in time. In hindsight, no-one questioned the Brabanzon’s actions, for whether they were fleeing in panic or retreating in good order and with good reason, they had avoided almost certain death. To suggest they had done wrong was thus a moot point.

    Perette had been wounded during the skirmish, and subsequently kept her own counsel concerning her plans. Only she and her riders knew why they rode from the city so hastily, heading north.

    It was suggested she might intend to return to Ravola now that the ratto uomo’s main strength was removed from thence, or that she would cross the Nuvolonc back to Bretonnia, or that she looked to hide in the forests and wilderness again, with or without the Arrabiatti’s aid, there to nurse her wounds as she had done after Ravola. The most hopeful citizens wondered if she had gone to fetch the Arrabiatti to aid in Campogrotta’s defence, while the more pragmatic knew she had no real reason to do so.

    She left behind confusion within the city. A huge area of dead and deadly ground now lay to its immediate south, and it was very likely that a ratto uomo army was close by somewhere.

    Those who knew something concerning past wars assumed, with good reason, that the ratmen had exited through one of their legendary tunnels hidden somewhere in the rocky, forested hills to the south.

    If the enemy were there, then they would have to find a way around the poisoned land and cross the river elsewhere, with no bridge to carry them over – which was possibly why they had yet to appear at the city. Nothing lived in the newly corrupted land; nor, if it entered, could live, and even the river waters were poisoned as they passed through, so that the trees closest to the river began to wither all the way to its junction to the River Bellagio. It was most fortunate that no large settlement lay any further down river, for such a place would surely have suffered from the corruption in the waters, but the elves of Tettoverde must surely (and quickly) have noticed the poisoning of the northernmost reaches of their ancient, sylvan realm.

    The Compagnia del Sole’s condottiere general, Bruno Mazallini, was less than happy to be the governor of a realm now half-poisoned, with sickness spreading through the city, and panic all around. The dwarven thane, Lord Narhak …

    … recorded in his personal book of grudges that the general and the remaining portion of the Compagnia del Sole intended to quit the realm and flee southwest, leaving it to the rat-men, with the general declaring in council that an army can never win when it goes into battle against a plague!

    Lord Narhak, keenly aware of the danger of remaining in the city when all others were likely to leave or had already left, and that his loyal, dwarven warriors were just as susceptible to the rat-men’s foul poisons as any soldier, marched his small force to the watchtower of Lugo on the Carraia del Ferro.

    There he halted and garrisoned the place, apparently intending thus to guard the gateway to the road to Karak Borgo, and at a suitable distance from the miasmic horror to the city’s south.

    There was little in the way of defences, for the tower was more a toll house than a stronghold, so he ordered his soldiers to make what defences they could, and quickly. What few engines the possessed were placed to face towards Campogrotta, for Lord Narhak reckoned any ratto uomo advance must surely come from that direction.

    He either knew or presumed that the rat-men’s tunnels could not possibly reach his mountain home, for the mining skill of dwarves was renowned and so any such passageways must surely have been discovered and collapsed or otherwise rendered impassable. The Iron Road was the only way to Karak Borgo. So, while his messenger made his way to King Jaldeog, and any reinforcements made their way down the Iron Road to him, he and his rump of a force would have to stand their ground as best they could.

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #163719
    Mike
    Keymaster

    So cool.
    I am jealous of all your stuff, nice to the new undead make and appearance.
    Looking forward to seeing more Dwarf action!

    #164027
    Padre
    Participant

    Swamp zombies done! (Bar bases.) Spray primer/base coat, block painting with acrylic base paints, washed with an Army Builder dip. I love them – so different to my old style, and a lovely (!) change.

    The command, all Black Tree Designs swamp zombies. The standard came out much darker than I wanted but I will know next time …

    Part of the front two ranks, Black Tree Design …

    Other part of the front two ranks, Black Tree Design with lovely long spears (I replaced the bendy originals with brass rods) …

    Rear of one of the guys. Those skulls, that chain – they are far more realistic than I ever achieved in 35 years of enamel ‘cartoon’ style. And I bloomin’ love it …

    3rd rank, GW, de-rooted …

    4th rank, GW, de-rooted …

    4th rank – the one ‘space filler’ I needed to make 35 into a 6×6 footprint! Stake still needs more work, obviously …

    5th and 6th ranks, all GW, de-rooted!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #164028
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Rear of one of the guys. Those skulls, that chain – they are far more realistic than I ever achieved in 35 years of enamel ‘cartoon’ style. And I bloomin’ love it …

    What style will you use going forwards?

    #164029
    Padre
    Participant

    This style, for skaven, peasants, skellies and zombies. My old style for the rest. Note: Above post edited ‘cos I missed a rank out!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #164030
    Padre
    Participant

    Part 26 of Tilea’s Troubles (short, but not particularly sweet) is up. Please see …

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #164059
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Cool beans!!

    Looking forward to seeing what happens next, some excellent shots too:

    #164823
    Padre
    Participant

    Thanks Mike.

    Tilea’s Troubles, Part 27 is done! A 3000 pt 8th ed battle report with a Marienburg Mercenary army (fan list) taking on the Mighty Khurnag’s Waagh! It uses original in-game pictures as well as re-posed ones. See …

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #164824
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Whaaaaaaaaat?

    Is he dead dead?

    #164825
    Padre
    Participant

    Yup. The wargame basis of this campaign makes it like Game of Thrones for sudden deaths!!!!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #164826
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Crikey.

    #165865
    Padre
    Participant

    Video Part 28 is done. See https://youtu.be/BmRf0WpOSv8

    We were supposed to have a BIG battle with myself and four players last Saturday, but illness (and nervousness re: the Pandemic) got in the way. I am getting desperate to play properly again. I might suggest another play by mail to my players over the xmas holidays, but I am not too sure they are keen. They too want a ‘real world’ get together and battle!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #165882
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Nice, what about a small solo skirmish game to keep you going?

    #166197
    Padre
    Participant

    I could, but I got too many videos to make, figures to paint, and I gotta push the campaign on by hook or by crook! I did the following in lieu of the game!

    Here is Tilea’s Troubles, 29: The Battle of the Princes

    It’s a ‘holiday special’, again including the original, in-game pics (from about 7 years ago) with plenty of new additions to improve the visuals. The tyrant Prince Girenzo Medizi takes on Duke Guidobaldo Gondi in a close, hard fought battle.

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #166268
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Some nice paintwork on the barding and the banners!

    Also:

    Nice cannon work, mine normally miss then explode!!

    Awww I was hoping the pike would win out.

    #166801
    Padre
    Participant

    Thanks Mike. Oxbows ftw!

    Part 30 is done. A (short) epilogue to the Battle of the Princes.

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #167592
    Padre
    Participant

    Tilea’s Troubles, Part 31 is up! A battle report in which the city of Trantio is assaulted by Duke Guidobaldo’s Pavonans.

    Some of the 40 (ish) images …

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #167600
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Amazing as always.  Real shame those 2 guns got knocked out so early, but the hole the last on made was impressive.  That duel was a classic.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #167603
    Padre
    Participant

    Thanks Darkest Star. We used the 6th ed siege rules and he got two lucky rolls in a row! The two heroes, meanwhile, had the same Init and so, according to 8th ed rules, struck simultaneously! We were amazed when the two of them died at the same time! Not sure I have seen it before, and I’ve been playing since 1983!!!!!!!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #167604

    Just stumbled on this. I am speechless. Bravo maestro! Bravo!

    "Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?"

    Axel Oxenstierna

    #167639
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Nice as always.
    What spell did he cast to so enhance the troops?

    #167640
    Padre
    Participant

    This copied from the text version, where a LOT more footnotes are included:

    “Pha’s Protection and Speed of Light at play here, as well as [Polcario’s] Helm of Discord and the Terrifying Mask of Eee! Not so good for Prince Girenzo “

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #168539
    Padre
    Participant

    Phew! Just made it before my self imposed limit of 3 weeks between videos lapsed!

    Tilea’s Troubles Part 32 is up! Three stories concerning events in the northern and central parts of Tilea …

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #168589
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Excellent, good development and great staging.

    Thank you.

    #170371
    Padre
    Participant

    Thanks Mike.

    Part 33 of Tilea’s Troubles is live.

    Now I can go back to working on the new battle report (actually its long prequel), the playing of which (etc) got in the way of making this video. I even did a ‘Behind the Scenes’, Modelling and Painting video in between to keep the output going!

    Like I have said before, despite not being able to get my head around it myself, it will be years before the videos catch up to the campaign’s present day!

    See – https://youtu.be/daXl2D0NDdg

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #170388
    Mike
    Keymaster

    So much cool eye candy, some great staged shots.

    A pleasure as always, thanks for sharing.

    #170518
    Padre
    Participant

    Hopefully you’ll like these stages too!

    Note: Please, once again, forgive the out of sequence nature of my posts. But here is the next (brand new) story from the ‘live end’ of my campaign, set several years after the latest video!

    Prequel to the Assault on Miragliano

    A Cornucopia of Corpses

    They had already approached the city walls as close as they dared and had no intention of doing so again. Nofri convinced the other two that there was no real need, for their orders were to scout the sodden land around the city, and did not specify any need to draw particularly close to the walls. Indeed, as he mulled the matter over, he was able to justify their caution further. For example, if they were to approach the walls too closely, then that would likely result in their demise, ensuring they never returned to report what they had found, which he considered to be the most important element of their orders. And, added Benedetto with a wry smile, their animated corpses would only swell the enemy’s ranks, thus greatly annoying their captain.

    They were but one of several parties of Portomaggioran handgunners sent out from the alliance army by the Captain-General Lord Alessio to ascertain what exactly might be the best approach to the city. As foul flood waters had spilled out from the Blighted Marshes to surround the city, just drawing close was not going to be easy for the army, never mind the act of assault. Miragliano was moated – a moat which had swelled as the water level rose, to become, on the face of it, three times as wide. Of course, it ran deep only along its original course, while the newly extended reaches were much shallower. Nevertheless, it now presented a much greater challenge for the army – not just because of the difficulty of moving through the sinking muds and tangled weeds, but because of the horrors that dwelt (or should that be un-dwelt?) within.

    The city had been ruled by vampires for several years, and their necromantic dominion had turned it and the land around into a kind of hell. The three soldiers had quickly learned this upon their initial, more direct approach, when they had witnessed first a bubbling in the putrid moat waters, and then the emergence of a monstrous, plated creature, something akin to a crab or a scorpion, but as big as a boat.

    It lolled heavily in the waters, splashing and scraping in equal measure, while its elongated, barbed mouth-parts chittered and spurted gobbets of noisome fluid. Red in colour, it undoubtedly hailed from the corrupted waters of the Blighted Marshes, tainted to grow unnaturally large and foully twisted. A nightmare made real, so that just the sight and smell of it sapped strength from the soldier’s legs, to leave them staggering in unsteady fear.

    “Not this way then!” Benedetto had declared loudly, as the three of them turned away to move as swiftly as their weakened limbs would allow over the soft ground.

    Glancing back, they saw the beast had begun to lift itself out of the deeper waters, as another of its kind surfaced behind.

    Once they had put some distance between them and the beasts, sufficient that they could no longer be seen, and had satisfied themselves that the monsters were making no attempt to pursue them, they all agreed that this particular stretch of the city walls could not be considered a suitable approach for the army. The beasts were massive enough that even while submerged and unseen, they could surely tip a raft, even a large one. And if they instead chose to rise up and attack, then they would surely make short work of all the unlucky souls it carried. Zanobi had voiced a concern that the creatures might move anywhere in the moat, and so should be considered to present a threat across its full circumference, but both his companions argued that they could make no such presumption. Neither beast had chased them, which could indicate they were of a somewhat sedentary nature. And even if that were not the case, then what more could they do than report where the beasts were spotted. Surely a confirmed sighting in a particular place counted for something, Nofri had suggested, and only a fool would subsequently choose said place for the armies crossing?

    They picked their way forwards, adopting an arcing route that would keep them out of sight of the moat and the walls.

    “A moat is a moat, and a wall is a wall, from wherever you stand,” said Nofri, feeling a need to further justify their continued caution. “Whatever spot we attack from, there will be the moat and the wall. Our task is surely to find a sound route to the moat’s edge, not to assess the moat itself.”

    “They’d have given us a boat if they wanted us to test the waters,” said Benedetto, to bolster his friend’s argument.

    “True enough,” agreed Zanobi, happily.

    The three of them carried matchlock handguns, with all the necessary accoutrements, although only Zanobi and Nofri had a bandoleer, each of the several wooden boxes containing the necessary measure of powder for a single shot.

    Benedetto preferred to pour directly from his powder horn into the muzzle, judging for himself the necessary amount, and believed he had the knack of getting it just right. Nofri was now glad of Benedetto’s decision, for even without a breastplate, the wooden boxes’ clattering was worryingly loud, especially when creeping around such a dangerous place as this. With a breastplate, the clickety-clack of the boxes against the steel would have seemed deafening.

    It was that clattering, however loud, and the need to keep a match lit at all times, that meant hand-gunners on the move were never likely to gain surprise. Nofri had consoled himself with the thought that many of the undead may well be deaf, and a lit match was not such an advertisement in daylight as it was in the dark, but he had not fully defeated his fears concerning the matter.

    The occasional grey rock protruded from the ground, both large and small, although the pot-marked nature of the stone in these northern parts made them appear as if they too had begun to rot and fester. Other than the rocks, which were occasionally sharp and so not the most reliable stepping-stones, the ground was boggy at best and treacherously mud-sucking at worst. There was still some life in the land, limp greenery in the form of weeds and marsh plants, but despite the summer season every tree was leafless. Perhaps the miasma fermented from the foul marsh waters had poisoned them? It had certainly begun to work its harm on the army, forcing it to remove to a considerable distance from the city for the sake of its health, which in turn necessitated the discovery of a suitable route by which to approach the city whilst maintaining a good, fighting order.

    Nofri took the lead, by a few steps, as he often did, his piece at the ready, match affixed. At regular intervals he would shift the hempen cord, so that the end did not burn down to the serpentine’s metal jaws, either to extinguish itself or burn through and thus cause the match to fall out. Like the others, he knew that while carrying his piece in such a way meant he could heft and shoot almost immediately should it prove necessary, needing only to open the pan as he did so, it did mean there was the constant risk of a spark landing on the pan, where, despite the closed lid, all it would take was a few stray powder-corns to cause a premature firing. So, he ported his piece at an angle, taking care never to allow the muzzle to point at his comrades.

    For some time, Nofri’s only utterances were in the form of, “Have a care,” or “Watch your step here.” As they settled into a steady pace, however, and the fear of monstrous pursuit subsided, he became more conversational.

    “I profess no particular knowledge of the foul art of necromancy,” he began, “Nor have I seen the undead particularly close, what with them retreating so promptly at Norochia and with us doing nought but waste powder firing volleys up at wall-tops at Ebino, but I do find myself wondering what exactly drives them.”

    “Evil, plain and simple,” offered Benedetto.

    “Aye,” agreed Nofri. “I understand it is evil that conjures them into existence, through foul and despicable magics, but I’m asking what makes them do this and not that, attack one and not another? What directs them to do particular things?”

    “The will of vampires or necromancers,” said Benedetto, with a tone implying the answer was obvious. “Otherwise, they would come on in battle like a mob, or like a herd of enraged kine, with no order nor cohesion.”

    “I always thought they might have some memories of drill,” suggested Zanobi. “Despite having died since they learned it – enough at least to maintain their dressings. I don’t think I could ever rid myself of the memory of such an aching misery as early morning drill.”

    Nofri frowned. “There’s more to it than that though. They know to attack the enemy and not each other; and they can stand regardless of provocation and opportunity until the moment is right for a charge.”

    “Again … it’s evil magic that both raises them and drives them forth, directing them,” said Benedetto.

    “So, without a vampire to play them like marionettes, they would flail and founder?” asked Nofri.

    “Who’s to say they are played like marionettes? They might have just enough will left in them, howsoever wracked and tortured it is by what they’ve become, to imbue them with a burning hatred of the living – those who still possess what they have lost. Puppets possess no such will. Think of a necromancer as more like a hunter with a pack of hounds. He raises them vicious but loyal, makes them fit for the hunt, then chooses when and where to let them off the leash. The hounds have a hungry lust for the kill, but they obey their master’s commands. Out alone, the hounds are still dangerous, just less particular about who they attack.”

    “Do necromancers tie them up like hounds?” asked Zanobi.

    “What?” said Benedetto, obviously confused by the strange question.

    “Look, see,” said Zanobi, pointing ahead. “Like that one!”

    The three halted, and Nofri and Benedetto followed Zanobi’s gaze.

    Up ahead stood a zombie, clothed in filthy skirts, it’s face almost entirely hidden by long, greasy, matted hair. Its hands were shackled in iron and chained to a sturdy looking post set into the ground by its side.

    “That’s odd,” said Nofri. “Why chain it up like so?”

    “I haven’t a clue,” said Benedetto. “She can’t act as a guard, as anyone can walk around her. She can’t be a look out for she ain’t going to cry for help. And she surely hasn’t been raised to swell the ranks of the defenders, for if so, why is she here?”

    “Do you think she was chained before or after she died?” asked Nofri.

    “And was it before or after she became undead?” asked Zanobi.

    Nofri’s brow furrowed. “Eh?”

    “That’s not the mystery here,” said Benedetto. “Think on it. The undead are raised to serve necromancers and vampires, yes?”

    “Aye,” the others both agreed.

    “So why did they trouble to raise her then leave her chained?”

    Nofri’s face drained of colour. “Is she a vampire?” he asked, gulping. “For they have their own wills, not beholden to those who sire them?”

    “That’s debatable,” said Benedetto, hinting at a whole new argument.

    “Well if not a vampire, then is she alive?” asked Zanobi. He took a step forward and asked, “Shall I go see?”

    “No, Zanobi, there’s no need. Stay put,” ordered Benedetto. “We can just ask.”

    He cleared his throat, then shouted: “You there? Are you hurt?”

    The zombie’s head snapped up, the ragged and rotten mess that was its lower jaw made visible as its hair fell away, and it issued a disgusting, gurgling groan.

    “It’s a zombie,’ declared Benedetto. “Why is it here, though?”

    “Perhaps whoever magicked it up couldn’t be bothered to go to the trouble of freeing it?” suggested Nofri.

    “Then why go the trouble of raising it in the first place?” asked Benedetto. “Necromantic magic has to extract a price, surely? I can’t imagine one goes about it lightly.”

    Zanobi sniffed, then pointed at the zombie, shaking his finger. “Then maybe it raised itself, only then to discover the somewhat inconvenient fact that it is chained?”

    “It can’t raise itself,” said Benedetto.

    “Can’t it?” argued Nofri. “This place has been corrupted long enough, surely? Maybe the magical taint of necromancy has rooted and grown to curse the whole land?”

    Benedetto pondered this, while the others stared with sick fascination at the zombie. He then said,

    “More likely whoever raised her decided they had plenty enough defenders and she was surplus to requirements, not worth the effort of freeing. But we can’t be sure and you could be right. Whatever the truth, we must tell the captain that here in the marsh, the undead require no necromancers to sustain them; nor to command them, nor perhaps even to conjure them up in the first place. In a realm as old as Miragliano, that could mean one hell of a lot of walking corpses. Worst of all, it could be that Miragliano is so replete with defenders that they have no need of more!”

    “Should we shoot it?” asked Zanobi.

    “No,” said Benedetto. “It’d be a waste of powder. She’s not going anywhere. And I don’t want the shot to alert every foul creature around to our presence.”

    “Best be away, then!” suggested Nofri.

    They now began to veer away from the city, intending to navigate an arc which would cover a rockier stretch of ground to the south-west and bring them back to the army’s current camp. To reach the rocks, they would pass some stone ruins, once a farmstead, which they had been ordered to scout due to a report of activity there in the night. The three of them now moved even more carefully, picking their way slowly and carefully around the boggy pools and stopping frequently to look around, hoping to espy any enemies long before they drew close.

    Their caution proved justified, for as soon as the ruins came into view, they could see movement –several long polearms and spears, even a ragged banner. The idea that it could be some of their own comrades did not even enter their minds, for they could see immediately that the banner took the form of a human hide, daubed crudely with blood.

    “Have a care!” whispered Nofri, needlessly, as the three of them halted. “There are more here, and these aren’t chained.”

    “I don’t see anyone to command them,” said Benedetto, squinting against the grey-glare of the sky. “I was right. This place is swarming with zombies, and not because some vampire is leading them to war, but because the land is thoroughly cursed.”

    Each of them adjusted their match and blew on their coals, in readiness, while straining their eyes to take in the details. Beside the bearer of the grisly standard stood an armoured figure, in mail and plates of some strange and archaic design. Such might be expected on the animated bones of long dead warriors, but not on the still rotting carcasses of zombies. Nofri wondered if the bog waters had preserved the corpse’s flesh over the centuries.

    The closest zombie seemed to be looking at them with malicious intent, but what else would such a creature feel? It clutched a long staff upon which two blades had been clumsily tied, as if to make kitchen tools and a staff into a polearm. Perhaps some ancient dweller of these parts had been forced in desperate circumstances to fabricate the makeshift weapon when faced with wicked foes, only now to become that which he had once fought?

    No wonder he looks so annoyed, thought Nofri.

    The clutch of zombies to the left also carried odd-looking weapons, of equally long proportions. Nofri suspected they had all died together in the same incident, during which encounter they had presumed, for whatever reason, that they would be best armed with very long weapons. Perhaps they had been trying to keep zombies at bay? Or even attempting to round them up? Whatever they had intended, they had presumably failed, and died clutching their unusual weapons. Now, in undeath, they had found those weapons quite literally ‘to hand’.

    “Right,” Benedetto said. “We’ve seen the ruins. We know what’s here. There’s no need to get any closer. I say we skirt around the rocks rather than head straight for them. I don’t fancy finding out if those blades have kept their edge!”

    The other two said nothing, instead just loping off after him as he altered course. They moved less cautiously now, splashing through the muddy waters, stumbling occasionally. They removed their matches from the serpentines to clutch in their left hands, so as not to cause an accidental firing. Even just the noise such a shot would make worried them, never mind the damage they might do to each other, for like Benedetto had said, they did not want to advertise their presence to all within a mile. They could see the southern spur of the rocks they had intended to pass through and made for that.

    Suddenly Benedetto, who had taken the lead momentarily, halted, raised his hand and shouted: “No!”

    Nofri and Zanobi stopped also.

    “Not this way either,” Benedetto added. “This place is swarming with the devils.”

    Up ahead was a pond, upon the far side of which were more zombies. A score or more, reckoned Nofri.

    “Too many,” said Zanobi, breathlessly. “There’s too many!”

    Nofri glanced at his friend. “Fear not, Zanobi. They’re not known for speed, and they’re on the wrong side of that pond.”

    “Aye, but they’re already coming around,” said Benedetto, affixing his match once more.

    The zombies were dividing, some to go one way …

    … the rest to go the other.

    Nofri could see that the enemy’s passage was somewhat obstructed by thorny, scrub-bushes, and that they would have to cross a rocky stream before they reached this spot. Emboldened, and regardless of the fact his two companions had already turned to flee, he stood a while, hoping to see who or what, if anyone, commanded this particular mob.

    His attention was drawn immediately to a tall figure in the centre, who seemed yet to have decided which way to go.

    The heavily armoured, cloaked warrior carried a huge iron mace and what appeared to be a broken sword. His face was hidden behind his horned-helmet’s steel vizor, so that Nofri had little to go on regarding the true nature of the warrior. It could be a zombie, a vampire or even a living man for all he knew. The manner in which it stood, simply waving its mace about its head, might suggest the dim wits of a zombie, but it could well be the pose of a vampire urging his foul servants on to do the dirty work of fighting for him. Perhaps he knew how worthless his armour would prove against handgun bullets at close range?

    “Come on, Nofri!” shouted the others, almost in unison.

    The barked command dislodged Nofri from his ill-timed reverie, and he too turned and ran.

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #170599
    Padre
    Participant

    The Assault on Miragliano
    Part One (Deployment)

    When Captain-General Lord Alessio had received all his scouts’ reports concerning the approaches to the city, it was obvious that no route was safe, but that one, at least, was potentially better than the rest. The taint of necromantic magic had permeated far beyond the city itself, so that (in places) the marsh and moat veritably teemed with animated corpses. Lord Alessio simply chose a way through which avoided what seemed to be the worst of those accursed spots. It wasn’t where the flooded moat was narrowest, nor where the outlying ground was least boggy, but there were gates in the walls there, which was the only absolute necessity.

    His plan was simple: his army would drag the rafts, as quickly as they could, to the moat’s edge, then launch and ride them to the walls. Most rafts would carry ladder armed companies, but the two heaviest had siege towers and the next heaviest carried a ram. Lord Alessio was hoping that sheer weight of numbers would allow his army to overwhelm the enemy, which in truth had been part of his strategic planning from the very start of the campaign against the undead.

    He deployed most of his missile troops on the left, including his own Portomaggioran handgunners and crossbowmen (the latter commanded by Captain Lupo ‘The Wolf’ Lorenzo), as well as the Reman crossbow regiments, both men and dwarfs. The VMC’s handgunner detachments, he allowed to accompany their pike regiment on the far right, along with their independent handgunner regiment. He had lost all but one cannon on the march hither, and had been denied artillery reinforcement by the VMC commander’s strange decision to send only foot troops to support him. He placed this last piece on the far left, to play against the gate as best it could and, should it prove necessary, to fire upon anything monstrous emerging from the foul waters.

    His intention was that such a weight of shot and bolt on the left would disrupt or destroy any enemy attempting to flank his assaulting troops either in the moat or the marsh. Surely very little could withstand the combined firepower of over sixty handguns and crossbows plus a heavy artillery piece?

    The dwarf warriors, captained by the Kislevite commander of the Reman brigade, Soldatovya, were (like every melee regiment) equipped with a raft, and if necessary would be available to engage an enemy on the water …

    … while the skirmishing bravi were ordered to protect the gun from anything approaching from the flank or rear. The VMC apprentice wizard Serafina added a magical element to that flank, and the Reman Morrite priest Bernhardt (also with the dwarven warriors) should bolster the soldiers’ resolve in the face of the undead foe.


    On the right, where his main fighting regiments were placed with the bigger rafts and the siege tower rafts, there was the re-sanctified carroccio. This, the general hoped, would lift the soldiers’ spirits, by channelling the mystical blessings of Morr, while the rather more mundane VMC ogres, led by the infamous Ogbut, were to smash through the gate with their raft-mounted ram.

    Alessio’s largest Portomaggioran regiment, the spears, took position in the very centre of the line.

    Such was their weight of numbers that he was happy to have them commanded only by their own champion. They would flank the ram, so that if anything were to attack from the waters, they might prevent it interfering with it. Then, of course, should the ram prove capable of smashing through the gates, they would join the ogres to swarm through immediately, crossing from their raft.

    General Lord Alessio himself was with his Sea Wolf guard regiment, atop the siege tower from where he could scrutinise the entire line. Beside him strode the colossus, taller even than the tower top, and entirely capable (the wizard Lord Hakim had reassured him) of fording the moat waters.

    To the general’s right, the crew of the carroccio had been ordered to get as close as was safe to the water’s edge, so that the holy aura of the relics contained within its chest would remain near enough to the fighting men that they felt its inspiring vigour.

    The enemy had distributed its strength across the full length of the walls facing the assaulting alliance army.

    Ghouls and zombies swarmed on most of the walls, in some cases so numerous that they could not all fit upon the parapet, while the flanking walls contained even more disturbing defenders, nightmarishly ethereal in form. The vampire priest of Nagash, Biagino, was hidden away inside one of the towers, as were his two necromantic lieutenants. He presumably saw no need to subject himself to the attentions of enemy shooting, although unlike at Ebino, he had not commanded his regimented warriors to remain hidden behind the walls. Perhaps the defeat he suffered there meant he now thought the tactic worthless. If it failed to help him previously, why employ it again? Or perhaps he believed the enemy might become dismayed by the numbers on the walls? Being an alliance force suggested the possibility that particular parts might refuse to fight as hard as the rest.

    Fell bats awaited behind the far-right wall, beneath the Cairn Wraiths atop the parapet, chittering and flapping their wings in anticipation. The wraiths, in contrast, moved silently,

    On the far-left wall, ghostly manifestations swirled eerily about each other …

    … presenting the living soldiers across the water with an uncanny glimpse of just how tortured an afterlife could await those unlucky souls who fell under the dominion of vampires.

    An uncanny light shone about them as they danced and wove around each other vigorously, but it was a brightness of such strange origins that it cast no reflection in the waters below.

    Game Note: This is the field in terms of game play. As per our usual siege/assault rules, the outcome is determined at the end of turn 9 (if the fighting is still ongoing), based on the number of sections each side controls.

    Sections 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 consist of both a tower and the adjacent wall. Section 4 is the gate tower itself. Sections 7, 8 and 9 consist of three equally large portions of the city’s interior.

    … Part two to follow asap …

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #170665
    Padre
    Participant

    The Assault on Miragliano
    Part Two (The Assault Begins)

    As swirling spirits danced mystical around the crenelations, as if to lure the enemy towards them …

    … elsewhere along the walls, the defenders stood peering and leering over the parapet, their own lurching motions much clumsier. The zombies were almost silent, apart from their effortful gurgling as their ragged throats dragged air to and fro from their rotting lights.

    The ghouls were louder, issuing forth curses and other corrupt words as they thought impatiently of the mountain of flesh they would feast upon when the battle was done.

    Biagino sensed the failure of one of his lieutenants to employ necromantic magic, and so before the other could wastefully sap the winds of magic further, he cast Invocation of Nehek to summon up more than a score of zombies, so bolstering the regiments defending the walls on either side of his tower.

    Satisfied, and having willed not one of his servants to take so much as a step, he watched as the enemy began to draw closer. Not all moved, certainly not those with bows or guns, but the dwarfs pushed their raft closer, as did the large regiments propelling the ram and siege tower rafts.

    Several other large regiments stood their ground, for want of opportunity to advance, what with so many others in the way. The grey-clad Marienburger pikemen of the VMC brigade simply watched from behind.

    Of the umpteen conjurations attempted by the alliance army’s magic users, only Wizard Lord Hakim’s spell, Shem’s Burning Gaze, was successful in harming the foe, causing a good quarter of the spirit host to dissipate from this realm whence they came. The handgunners were as yet unable to find a target, and of the crossbowmen, only Lupo and his Portomaggiorans found their mark, felling a handful of the zombies (unaware that the loss was but a fraction of what had been raised only moments before).

    When the Remans behind, shooting over the Portomaggioran’s heads, failed to add a single zombie’s demise to the tally, they began to wonder what magical blessing was guiding the bolts launched by Lupo’s men.

    (Game Note: Campaign Mercenary Combat Skill: ‘Superior Markmanship’ – The unit the character is with ignores cover.)

    Biagino had noticed the small yet surprising number of casualties also, and with a mental gesture, commanded the cairn-wraiths to dismount the wall and await the foe unseen, just in case the enemy’s bolts were indeed blessed with some magical power.

    Once he was satisfied they had done so, he looked from the window and descried that a swarm of bats had swooped from the marshes to the rear of the enemy’s line.

    They were close to the artillery piece, which pleased him, so he focused his malignantly magical will upon them to make sure that their first action would be to attack the crew.

    Their arrival reminded him of the zombies who inhabited the marshland. He knew this would be exactly the right moment for them also to arrive at the enemy’s rear, before the rafts had been launched to carry the soldiers out of reach. Closing his eyes, he muttered the words of an incantation to call on them, but as the magical current flowed aimless away he sensed immediately that there were none within reach.

    Game Note:

    [b]House rules for the Marsh Zombies[/b]

    This zombie horde lurks in the marsh, already re-animated by the necromantic energies spilling from the city. The vampire player may pick any spot on the table on the far side of the moat and attempt a ‘Raise Dead’ spell, needing a wizard who can do the spell. The spot does not have to be within 18” of the wizard, because the zombies are already wandering the marsh somewhere, just ‘itching’ to be prompted into action. Also, the player doesn’t roll 2D6+3 but gets the whole regiment of 36. The vampire player can only try this twice, after which it is clear the horde is not nearby, and so any further ‘Raise Dead’ spells work as normal, in which case the figures are used to represent whatever is raised (if anything).

    36 Zombies – M4 WS1 BS0 S3 T3 W1 I1 A1 Ld2 // Musician; Standard Bearer; All zombie rules, but also unit does NOT suffer any Marshland Dangerous Terrain effects! They’ve gotten used to the terrain.

    Nevertheless, he peered through the window (of the dank tower chamber he was hiding in) to spot any sign of them.

    Nothing. He cursed angrily, then dismissed his frustration and (along with one of his lieutenants) simply summoned yet more zombies to swell the rank and file of his wall defenders. He was damned if he would yield this city easily.

    With little to shoot at upon the walls, and nothing yet to appear in the moat, the Reman crossbow regiments (dwarf and human) and the Lord Alessio’s handgunners, turned to face the swarming bats. More crucially, perhaps, so did the Reman ‘bravi’ swordsmen, ensuring that the bats could not reach the gun except by taking on them!

    Further along the line, Ogbut’s ogres reached the moat, heaved their raft onto it and mounted it in readiness for the crossing.

    Game Note:

    Raft rules (second draft after player consultation)

    The rafts are carried by units to the moat’s edge, which should be about 5-6” away from the allied army deployment line. Upon reaching the moat’s edge, the raft is set down ready for embarkation, and the unit auto moves onto the raft (if the player wishes). Units cannot march whilst lugging the rafts. The three heavy rafts must be accompanied by large units, who move at -1 mvmt penalty whilst dragging them to the moat’s edge (like rams in 3rd ed WFB).

    Once at the moat’s edge the rafts are placed on the water (thus extending 4”, 6” or 8” into the moat, depending on the raft) and the unit moves onto the raft at the end of the turn they reached the moat.

    Once on the moat, the rafts (large or small) are moved by the soldiers on board paddling and punting as best they can. The big rafts roll 2D3” initial movement, due to the delay in the unit boarding. The smallest rafts roll 3D3”. All rafts can opt to move up to D6” less (rolling another dice) if they wish to slow down or stop. Big rafts that moved in the previous turn, moves 2D6”, the small rafts 2D6+2”.

    The thoroughly flooded moat area should be on average 17” across … so considering the largest raft, when placed, will already extend 8” across by being placed, it will thus have only 9” to move. The other large ones extend 6”out, so 11” to move. They thus should take 2 or 3 turns crossing the moat. If a raft arrives at a wall with any move distance to spare then the unit counts as having charged the wall – and a ladder/tower/battering ram assault immediately commences.

    The rafts can turn as per the old 3rd ed WFB chariot rules, the large ones (most of them) using an arc equal to their movement distance, the smaller ones using an arc of half their move distance. Arcs are closed if they contact the wall.

    On reaching the wall, the men aboard will fasten them up and they become platforms from which to launch ladder assaults. The ram, siege towers and ladders all use the old 6th ed Siege Rules.

    The assault game will be 9 turns long. If the attackers take 2 turns to arrive at the water’s edge, then 2-4 turns to cross the moat, they could be attacking the defences sometime from turns 4 to 6, thus with 3 to 5 turns of combat.

    Magic users and missile troops can support as best they can, from the moat’s edge, or rafts. Probably the moat’s edge for missiles. Or they just join the assault. The city defences will be in defined sections as per the usual rules.

    This moat is not like Ebino’s, as this one has silted up a bit, and also flooded to cover a large area (thus it’s new width). Thus the Colossus can wade through both the marsh and the moat. It would take dangerous terrain tests only if it marched, charged, fled or pursued. (I wish the model had a detachable torso cos it would look cool wading waist deep! I know Damian, who has a spare, actually considered sawing the spare in half and painting it.)

    (Luckily, I managed to edit the subsequent photo of the colossus to show it starting to wade into the murky waters.)

    The magical construct known as the Colossus, guided as ever by its creator the Wizard Lord Hakim, now also began to wade, somewhat tentatively for such a massive creation, into the waters.

    (Magic 12:6)

    Serafina’s fireball killed but one single bat amongst the swarm, having veered to one side so that it barely singed the rest. The Morrite cleric, Bendali, who had entirely failed to notice the bats’ arrival, employed his Amulet of Coal to send his own fireball to burst into the parapet and wash flames over, killing no less than ten zombies.

    His happiness was only slightly marred by the fact that the Amulet shattered in the process. Annoyed that he had not thought to do so first, he now cast Morr’s Touch upon the surviving zombies, weakening them.

    The Colossus cast Shem’s Burning Gaze on the ghouls, but Biagino was quick enough to dispel it. Lord Hakim tried again where his servant had failed, and this time killed two of the enemy. The rest of the ghouls seemed not to care a jot, nor even to notice their comrades’ demise.

    Lupo’s crossbowmen, despite their blessed weapons and the enemy’s magically induced weakness, now slew less of the zombies than previously, much to their confusion. The gun crew had yet to fire, having been waiting for the monsters they were told lurked in the moat. Now, however, they decided the bats were a priority, and turned their piece to fire. They were over-hasty, however, and sent the shot into the dirt!

    Turns 3 onwards to follow ASAP.

    Appendix

    [b]Biagino’s Last Stand Army (1651 pts) [/b]

    Biagino (Vampire Lord; General; Level 2 Wizard)
    Book of Arkhan (Vanhel’s Danse Macabre); Talisman of Preservation; Aura of Dark Majesty

    Necromancer (Level 2 Wizard; Master of the Dead)
    Dispel Scroll; Ruby Ring of Ruin

    Necromancer (Level 1 Wizard)
    Talisman of Endurance

    Cairn Wraith (1#, 60 pts)
    1 Cairn Wraith, 60 pts (Great Weapon; Chill Grasp; Ethereal; Immune to Psychology; Terror; Unbreakable; Undead; Unstable; Always Strikes Last)

    2 Cairn Wraith characters

    30 Crypt Ghouls with Crypt Ghast

    4 Cairn Wraiths as a unit

    4 Spirit Hosts

    40 Zombies (Musician; Standard Bearer)
    Split into two bodies of 20 to defend walls (as allowed in campaign rules)

    6 Fell Bats

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #171570
    Padre
    Participant

    The Assault on Miragliano
    Part Three (The Assault Continues)

    The swarming bats in the rear of the allies’ line now swooped in an arc to attack the smaller of the two handgun companies, not the bravi before the gun.

    Zanobi, Benedetto and Nofri were in the front rank as the swarm came at them, and the sudden proximity of such fearful foes made their legs weaken, their stomachs churn. Those in the company whose pieces were made ready gave fire, but to no particularly noticeable effect.

    When the bats hit them, they became engulfed in a tangle of fur and leathery wings, then pierced all over by claws and teeth. All three were killed, as well as another of their comrades. Those handgunners who survived this initial onslaught failed entirely in their attempts to flee. Indeed, the swarm’s progress was barely slowed by the bloody contact, and as the last of the handgunners splashed lifeless into the soggy ground, the bats crashed into other company. It was all so quick that the second company never even fired a single shot! Barely half managed to draw their blades, the rest making do with the butt of their handguns as the swarm hit them.

    Frustrated that he could see so little through the leaded-glass window of the tower chamber, Biagino burst through the door and plunged into the mass of zombies swarming upon the parapet, there to hide amongst them.

    Having attempted twice to call the zombies of the swamp, without sensing their presence at all, he now knew that wherever they were, it was too far for them to be brought to the field of battle. He sensed his lieutenant’s magical conjuring and guessed it was another attempt to lure one of the leviathans inhabiting the moat. But nothing came of it, and so he too stared into the water as he wrestled with the winds of magic to make them conform to his own will. He too failed, as the enemy had several wizards, one of whom employed a counter spell to unwind and wash away the winds before they could sufficiently coalesce in the material realm.

    (Game Note: First attempt to raise the Leviathon dispel scrolled; second stopped with a 6D dispel roll of 24.)

    Game Note:

    Rotting Leviathans (from the old ‘Luthor Harkon’ White Dwarf army)

    These dwell in the expanded moat, being the preserved remains of ‘crab-like Prometheans’ which rose to the surface during the time of the corruption of Miragliano, carried in by the flood waters.

    In their own magic phase, the vampire player may choose a spot in the moat, then roll a scatter die & 2D6 for the distance. (If the spot goes off-table, then the beast can appear in the vampire player’s next turn, as an ‘Ambusher’ (p.79) /‘Reinforcement’ (p.27), arriving within 6” of the point at which the line crossed the table edge, if it gets its 3+ roll.) If the spot is on the table, the player then rolls 1D6 & on a roll of 6, a Leviathan appears. Before rolling the D6, however, they can bolster this attempt by successfully casting Invocation of Nehek on 12+ or 18+ depending on if the beast is raised between 6 and 12 or between 12 and 18 inches away, measuring from the caster to the point in the moat. On a successful casting, the beast appears on a D6 roll of 4, 5 or 6. If the spell fails, the attempt to lure the beast up has hindered the rising, so the player cannot even roll the D6 for a 6 chance. They can try again next and subsequent turns, on 5,6 chance or 3+ using Invocation. (A successful dispelling will thus stop their appearance, or a failed D6 roll.)

    If the player is successful, they may attempt summon the other creature in another turn, or even in the same turn if they have another wizard who can cast Invocation of Nehek. Once both leviathans have been raised, however, there are no more others nearby to raise. Note that calling one from beyond the table edge might be the better tactic, but still with a potentially indefinite delay!

    Rotting Leviathan – Stats, attributes and special rules as per the old White Dwarf list.

    The apprentice wizard Serafina was unnerved by all the deaths so close to her and ran back towards the high ground in the rear, struggling all along to cross the difficult ground.

    (Game Note: Anything more than a normal move in the marsh meant taking a dangerous terrain test.)

    As the colossus and the ram-raft drew closer to the city walls …

    … the dismounted knights mounted the siege tower.

    They were commanded by Lord Marcus Portelli, who had been wounded in at Ebino. Despite requiring help to climb the ladder, he nevertheless projected a fearlessness which inspired his men, and he looked the very essence of a warrior as he took his place at the front, leaning upon his huge, iron-barbed mace.

    While Father Bernhardt prayed for Morr to protect the dwarf warriors, only one wizardly spell successfully pierced the mystical defences mustered by the vampire and his lieutenants. Five ghouls tumbled from the wall as a banishment took grip on them, yet still, the rest showed no sign of caring, nor even noticing.

    Lupo’s crossbowmen slew five more zombies …

    … but like the ghouls, the remainder just peered through the crenelations, entirely ignorant of their fellow defenders’ second demise.

    Biagino noticed, however, and in a fit of anger he ordered the fell bats and the cairn-wraiths to burst from the defences onto moat, from where they could charge at the foe.

    The wraiths moved ethereally through the very stones, to glide eerily and terrifyingly over the water towards the raft carrying the Reman dwarfs, Father Bernhardt and Captain Soldatovya …

    … while the monstrous bats flew speedily across the full width of the moat towards the handgunners already engaged with their smaller kin.

    Inside the city, the diminished host of spirits drifted towards the gate tower, while the similarly reduced company of ghouls moved to take the spot on the far-left wall the spirits had recently departed. One or two amongst them seem somewhat put out at being commanded so to move, having previously been greedily eyeing the approaching foe.

    When they discovered enemies were also approaching this new wall, they satisfied themselves that they had not been denied their share of flesh-meat!

    Biagino could now clearly see the approaching dwarfs and the enemies crossing further along the moat. If the deadly cairn-wraiths made short work of dispatching the dwarfs, then it was likely they could move on to one or even more the other rafts before the enemy reached the walls. So it was he attempted to conjure a curse to weaken the foe, only to fumble it when momentarily distracted. While several more spells were either foiled or simply failed, including a further attempt to lure the moat-dwelling leviathans, ever more zombies were successfully raised to swell the horde now defending two stretches of the wall.

    The swarming bats quickly sapped the second body of handgunners’ will to fight, killing all who fled away as they became mired in the stinking mud. This meant the fell bats could swoop down on a clear run towards the cannon crew. Yet despite this success, the massive bulk of the enemy lay further along the moat, and so far, there had been no hindrance at all to its passage. The large regiment of Portomaggioran spearmen, who had so bravely assaulted the gate at Ebino after it had been blown to pieces by siege-master Guccio’s petard, recently reinforced with the survivors of several no longer field-worthy companies and regiments, had already boarded a large raft to commence their own crossing.

    Desperate to avoid a moat-top combat with the nightmarish wraiths, Captain Soldatovya ordered his mercenary dwarfs to propel the raft as speedily as possible, even if it endangered the lives of some of those aboard.

    He was praying they would pass by before the ghastly creatures could sweep around at them.

    With a sinking heart, the Kislevite captain recognised their progress was just too slow. Clutching his blade tight, he turned to look at the foe, wracking his brains at how he might survive the inevitable encounter, when suddenly four of the foul spirits disappeared, as a storm of bolts came whistling through the air from Lupo’s crossbowmen. This confused him, for such mundane missiles would not normally be expected to harm ethereal beings.

    Serafina had halted her flight and was the first wizard to notice the wraiths. She failed, however, in her subsequent attempt to manifest fireballs to hurl at them. That failure, however, was perceived by her master, the wizard lord Johannes Deeter, who was close to the carroccio. When he looked through the leafless trees to see what Serafina had been attempting to harm, he too saw the wraiths. Being well versed in the art of fire magic, he immediately conjured a ‘Rhuinous’ blessing upon Lupo’s crossbowmen, so that their bolts would carry just enough magic to sting the foe, despite their ghostly nature. And sting they did, enough to slay more than half.

    An enchanted round-shot was also blasted at the wraiths, but it missed and instead crunched into the wall beyond, while the rest of the allies’ crossbowmen brought down merely a handful of bats and zombies. Even the gunners on the carroccio blasted their swivels at the wall, but again, with little effect. The Ogres, however, had already reached the gate, and had begun swinging the ram to crash repeatedly into the iron-bound, anciently-hard oak. They did not yet know that they were going to be there a long time, for the gate was strong.

    The last two wraiths now did exactly what Soldatovya feared and tore into the exposed flank of the dwarfs on the raft.

    The raft tipped precariously to one side, as Soldatovya, clad head to toe in armour, knew there was little he could now do but pray for his own soul.

    The Kislevite veteran, the portly priest Bendali and each and every dwarf upon the raft would be dead or dying within moments, most taking only as long as it took for the air to run out in their lungs as they fell like stones into the stagnant but deep moat water.

    The fell bats swooped gracefully to smash into the artillerist Captain Hans Weidmuller and his cannon crew.

    The crew died quickly, while Hans put up a little more of a fight. Bleeding from his wounds, he turned to flee, pursued by the unthinking creatures, and died from their attentions. His demise was unwitnessed by any in the allied army.

    See next post

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #171571
    Padre
    Participant

    While the swirling spirits occupied the gate tower, the bat swarm hove back into view and flew towards the rear of the dwarf crossbowmen.

    Biagino concentrated wholly upon his magical efforts and summoned up nigh upon a score more zombies to further swell those on and behind the walls.

    He even returned a cairn-wraith into the mortal realm. Beyond these successes, however, nothing he nor his lieutenants tried proved effective, so that still no leviathon could be hailed to attack the multitude of enemies now teeming precariously upon the moat.

    As the allies all drew ever closer to the walls, some rafts moving quicker than others.

    Serafina, having found an inner peace despite the terrors of the marsh, sent a streaming blast of fireballs into the wraiths, and burned away all trace of them from the waking world.

    This left only the bats, large and small, outside the walls, caught up with harassing the crossbowmen at the far left of the allied line. There was nothing now to even slow the massed rank and file in their journey to the walls.

    As the living wizards cast magical blessings on the large regiments, Lupo directed his crossbowmen to slay more and more of the zombies …

    … while Lord Marcus drew even closer to the wall …

    … and the VMC pike regiment crowded on their raft behind waiting their time to climb the siege tower’s ladders and mount the walls.

    The captain-general, Lord Alessio, had already reached the far-left wall, and immediately set about assaulting the ghouls defending it.

    Despite being fully armoured, he leapt from the platform-top of the siege tower to crash into the foul creatures massed on the parapet, the magical glare of his shield dazzling and paining the ghouls’ eyes. His men followed quickly and obediently, and the slaughter was great, with three of the Sea Wolves falling, but many, many more ghouls. If they had not already suffered injuries to magical attacks, the foul flesh eaters might have delayed the Portomaggioran soldiers a little longer, but they simply did not have the numbers, and Lord Alessio quickly took full possession of the wall.

    Despite the moat, despite the marsh, the living were already in the city.

    As the bat swarms swooped between the crossbow regiments …

    … the fell bats also careened around at the rear looking for another company to attack.

    Biagino cursed and cursed again as neither he nor his lieutenants could summon the leviathans, nor could they manifest any other magic to thwart the enemy. He heard the enemy’s cheers and knew they must have taken at least one wall, and despite having raised a veritable host of zombies to defend two other stretches …

    … he knew full well that they could only ever buy him time, not victory.

    The foe was too numerous, and the force left to him entirely insufficient to the task of holding the city. Suddenly he felt an etheric heat and strained to look down into the yard. The colossus was obviously able to see over the walls and had burned away almost all the spirits with a magical gaze, leaving but a handful hidden beneath the stone arch.

    Out beyond the moat, the bats had concentrated their last assault on the dwarven crossbows …

    … but found them to be a much harder challenge than the handgunners and cannon crew. Meanwhile, Lord Alessio had already led his men from the first wall through the tower and onto the next, before the dismounted knights could mount it from their own siege tower. There Alessio and his men lay furiously into the first large body of zombies, finding the work a tiring but simple act of butchery.

    Lord Marcus could only watch as his master hacked and slashed through the stinking mass of rotten flesh, and the Portomaggioran army-standard moved across the wall right in front of him.

    It was clear the city was lost.

    Every one of Biagino’s cards had been played. The bumper crop he had expected from the corpse-filled, foetid marsh and moat, had proved entirely disappointing.

    He had been chased from the very heart of Tilea all the way to Miragliano, and now he knew that if he was to (un)live any longer, he must flee yet again, right now, before the enemy could reach him.

    And flee he did.

    He knew not whether he would go to the marsh or the mountains, but he did not have time to ponder the matter.

    The last of the vampires’ possessions, the once great city of Miragliano, had finally fallen. And so the great war against the Undead had ended.

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #171572
    Padre
    Participant

    Going back in time – Tilea’s Troubles, Part 34 is up on YouTube : https://youtu.be/ICmxp3FNzNE

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #171573
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Yay, suffer not the dead to live.
    I think I may need to get myself another swarm of bats for my wifes Dark Elves.

    All very cool, especially liking the game notes.
    Handy.

    Now onto the video!

    #172452
    Padre
    Participant

    A new Tilea’s Troubles ‘behind the scenes special’ video is up, which shows the construction of three scratchbuilt war-engines.

    BTW, if you do watch it, and you do like it, then please do ‘like’ it, if you see what I mean?

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #172479
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I had those grenadier handgunners!!

    That was an excellent video, very interesting and nice to learn more about you.

    😀

     

     

    #172737
    Padre
    Participant

    Thanks for the comment Mike. Gratefully received.

    Part 35 of Tilea’s Troubles is up!

    Two Compagnia del Sole mercenaries, Baccio and Ottaviano, are in a predicament, albeit one which involves chatting in an alehouse. So, not that bad then!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #172777
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Very good as normal, not sure how I feel about Elves being involved…

    #172778
    Padre
    Participant

    You will find out much more about the elves in a future video. They are, like very many things in this campaign, quite low fantasy. And there ain’t many of them at all.

    That said, there is an entire wood elf army of them somewhere in Tettoverde forest!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

    #173291
    Padre
    Participant

    ‘A Need For Nightmares’, being Part 36 of Tilea’s Troubles, is now up. Nightmares in both the sleeping and the waking worlds!

    My Tilean Campaign can be found at https://bigsmallworlds.com/

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