One Sided Battlereports: The Battle at the Gate of Ghe’Domn
THE BATTLE AT THE GATE OF GHE’DOMN
The forces of the Hold of Ghe’Domn clashed with the 100 Kingdoms barony of Pravia, supported by the Count of Grevensteyn and his troops. We spent some time pinballing ideas back and forth and over the course of some weeks defined some key elements of the battle to come.
- Narrative: This would be no competitive battle; what better way to express this than elaborating that one side has more points than the other and that some key characters from the evolving story would be included.
- Challenging, story based scenario and objectives: very early it was clear for us, that we don’t wanted a Take & Hold, or any other plain Victory Point (VP) based scenario. So we went for a rather unusual approach; the objectives would be able to move around, but not just carried around, but having an existing profile and therefore point value.
- Location and battlefield looks: the battle should be the ignition for a campaign; the spark that escalates everything. So there would be an assault on a Dweghom garrison, but no siege game. Some very thematic scenery pieces would be supporting the visual, combined with huge rocks and hills and even some old, unhealthy trees as for the battle would take place just before the Hold, letting the attacker intercept the defender.
Conquest is strong with its lore; tons of stuff have been added to the website and also been available on each boxed set you purchase! Defining the 100 Kingdoms in our interpretation as a fragmented and political twisted aggressor; hungry for power and being the sole reason for any further conflicts the Sorcerers started to weave a web of lies and deceptions to gather her allies – even by taking several of their most influencing highborn and military officers for her lovers.
With at least three subfactions within the 100 Kingdoms, potential conflict and even further exploits on internal battles have already been set.
On the other hand, the defending force of Dweghom is not known for kindness and even interracial friendliness. Aghm is the value by which each Dweghom is measured. The worth of actions, battles and decisions in short. And they are an ancient race; so mighty relics for spoils of war are always desired objects for any would be conqueror, or even self-appointed ruler. With intrigues on one side, we left the inner conflicts based on pure selfish perceptions of honour and glory to be enough conflict material. And with the valuables at stake in the first scenario, there is a lot of potential already.
We will share the scenario here; some key notes on the army lists and the general approach to the mission presented here. Both sides wanted a game that would fit the narrative – this would set the stage for further battles and stories, so no need to ultimately stomp your opponent into the dust with a competitive approach on list building and extras (Retinues, Masteries and item selection).
The 100 Kingdoms would be made up of 3000 points as described. The Vanguard and Rearguard would modify the reinforcement rules and also force the attacker to assign 5 units to arrive on certain turns. The rest of their army would show up, using the reinforcement rules as normal.
The Dweghom would have to field two separate armies; each following the restrictions and options to build an army as presented in the rule book. The objectives are part of the units itself and would start on the table with some restricted options for their actions (something we made up on the fly) – the Prototyp representing the Leader of a unit of Fire Forged, the Relic been carried by one of the Inferno Automata. The highlight – at least for us, was the Revered Sorcerer. By combining two existing profiles and generating this powerful master of fire, we had the opportunity to find out, how far we wanted to go on this “narrative first” road. Imagine a spellcasting dragon! And it really added to the whole battle – first by been the impressive rules wise monstrosity we would like to see, but also by seeing him nearly finished off by mere Crossbowmen! More on that later.
STRATEGY – DWEGHOM
Ok, this is no educational stuff, coming from someone who has lost more battles, than he could, or dared to remember. BUT after we have assigned the Vanguard and set everything up for turn #1 a plan was developed to maybe put this special battle in the W column.
The objectives are evenly placed in the three lanes forming the battlefield. With our special rules restricting the objective carrying units to one March action per turn, I would try get some use out of the Sorcerers magic abilities and cause some havoc with his spells and of course: using the Fire Forged as a brick wall. With guns. Big guns. While trying to keep the Automata in a position where they would not move to early into the center and closer to the gate – because I wanted my opponent to spread his force as evenly as he could. Yes, we both knew that I could make a dash for it; but being on the table by the end of turn #10 would also be beneficial for the Dweghom, too. No need to send them all blocking each other by trying to reach the exit.
OPENING TURNS – DWEGHOM
The reinforcement rolls allowed the defender to bring nearly all his Light units in. Both units of Flame Berserkers arrived and brought with them the first Hold Ballistae.
The attacker had chosen to bring in a huge block of spear wielding Militia with them – opposing my Fire Forged, and two units of Crossbowmen to confront the Revered Sorcerer and the Automata.
A few poor rolls on the attacker side did not bring in many troops by the next couple of turns, while the Dweghom had their full armies by turn #4 on the table. The brave Militia charged the Fireforged to negate the powerful range attacks and were able to lock the Dweghom into place for a couple of turns. With a whole arsenal of spells and up to 8 dice to cast these, the Revered Sorcerer wracked havoc and got showered with crossbow bolts in return. Even at maximum range (and obscured) the took a huge toll of wounds on him. Destroying the Militia in a majestic demonstration of his powers, he decided, that he had somewhere else business to attend and began to head towards the gate. Maybe too late?
Keeping the Automata back and out of any harm’s way, the Revered Sorcerer used his single available March action each turn (restricted by the special rules) and tried to support any units with his devastating fire magic. Moving up center, the 100 Kingdoms have been able to engage my Hold Ballistae, before they could unload another volley, or even get out of harm’s way, but blocking any further charges for my own melee focused Hold Warriors accompanied by the keeper of the Hold, the Ardent Kerawegh.
But desperate times call for desperate actions, withdrawing the Ballistae and losing all of them due to a failed Resolve test! Shattered they left the battlefield, and the Hold Warriors could charge into the Men at Arms that had killed their Holdbrothers.
Household Knights showed up on the flank and center, eager to join the fray. But with the zones of woods between them and their targets, their charges were not that disastrous. But their armor was a tough nut to crack and the weapons and the furious attacks of the Berserkers showed little to no effect, till they got defeated and shattered.
The 100 Kingdoms would not be fooled. Even if the objective and their respective units could stay on the battlefield to win the battle for the Dweghom, it became obvious that the earlier advantage has been lost with the full force of the humans deployed. The Fireforged would build the rearguard, being closest to the gate and trying to fend off any pursuers. The Revered Sorcerer still made his way up to the gate and the Automata passed the middle line of the table. The last reinforcement of the Dweghom would enter the battlefield through the gate and keep the escape route open as long as possible.
The Household Knights and their attached Noble Knight moved further up and engaged the last unit of Hold Ballistae on the right flank. The second unit of Knights broke through the center and was ready to intercept the Automata, while the Sorcerers and her bodyguards (Men-at-Arms) pushed through the woods in the right flank/ center. They would be in striking distance to the objective soon!
The Noble Lord commanding the majority of the troops, hidden in his unit of Household Guards, watched with bemusement, as the famous Steel Legion entered the fray. There would be no need to get their own hands dirty with these killing machines on the battlefield (and there would no much space to get anywhere, too).
The Fireforged were able to withstand any attacks and could just cause some casualties on the approaching Steel Legion but were able to reduce the nearby Household Knights to a single man!
The Ardent and his Hold Warriors got flanked by the Sorcerer’s bodyguard and the Steel Legion up front. The keeper of hold was killed in the following bloodbath and left the center and the Automata undefended. These took the opportunity to charge into the combatants only to be reduced to a single demon machine (the objective). Reforming but not able to get out of range, the Sorcerer’s gave the order to charge and could lay her own hands on the prize (what a glorious fitting in game event)!
The Revered Sorcerer was able to drag his wounded body off the battlefield, cursing the race of humans and their traitorous nature, leaving only the Fireforged behind. This unit has only taken a few casualties so far and they prepared themselves for a slow and steady withdrawal, guns blazing!
With all other units either out of range or already locked in combat it seems that the last objective would be able to get away. But in a heroic act, the last remaining, wounded Knight charged the backpedaling unit, causing no wounds, but kept them in place. Confident of their high Resolve, the Dweghom commander ordered another withdrawal – failing the test and losing nearly the complete unit (11 hits to 12 wounds)! The remaining objective – the Prototype was then charged again and destroyed with the cheers of his surrounding comrades. The battle was over.
END RESULT: 100 Kingdoms 2 vs Dweghom 1
It was very refreshing to play a game with such a focus on the narrative; and the story that unfolded in the game itself – memorable moments like the reckless charge of the young knight to keep the Fireforged from retreating off the battlefield, or the moment the Sorcerers (being the reason this whole conflict would start in the first place) could grab the Artefact carried by the Automata.
And as we had wished for, this first battle would be the starting point for further exploits, narrative and gaming wise. A huge “Thank you!” to my opponent Christos, being an absolute gentleman gamer & the whole reason we would go back to a point my hobby love started with – narrative first and battles that let these stories come to life.