Monday 3 January 2022

Battle Report: The Vampyr of the Riding: Turn 4


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4


Turn 4: Undead

As you no doubt know, the common skeleton can muster 4" of regular movement, pushing that to a jaw-dropping 8" on the charge. 

8" was hardly going to hit the Hammerers on the bridge.

But, you may not know, the humble vampire - of which Danni is one - can manage a much more thrilling 6" move, resulting in a breakneck charge of 12" - exactly the sort of thing that could result in the sudden death of of some dwarfs exploring a bridge. 

And so, screeching a cry of "HEROHAMMER!", Danni charged alone into the rear if the Thunderbuckle Household Guard.

We decided that Hesior couldn't issue a challenge this turn because he was in the rank facing away from the Vampire Lord.

The Hateful Eight (Five?) rallied, reforming in front of the bridge and establishing a future hammer for the vampiric anvil that had just arrived. 
Chaos Warriors lie in wait...

The Reapers reposition to close in on the reformed Longbeards

Having already set expectations with Matt for the mediocrity of a Tomb King and the power of the Manticore, we fully expected A Certain Outcome in the combat with the Light Brigade. What neither of us had anticipated (certainly, I had forgotten) was just how rich the stat line of the average Rune Lord happened to be. Given that we had spoken about challenges we had discussed the Warhammer practice of neutralising powerful characters with challenges to preserve rank and prevent casualties (a thing repaired in later versions with overkill, as I recall). As a result of that conversation, I decided that Bofel wouldn't issue a challenge, if nothing else to allow Matt to experience what a fully wired Manticore could do in combat. He decided to split attacks: half on Bofel, the ancient Rune Lord, and half on the unit itself.

What transpired was less inspiring. Between Mihartiskaphut and the Manticore, they managed a single would on the Light Brigade. The rest of the Light Brigade watched in amazement, though, as Bofel beat six shades of shit out of the manticore, because, well, he was just so much stronger than we anticipated! 

And also rolled some sixes. He's not THAT strong, after all. Just stronger than we anticipated.

Fortunately, Mihartiskaphut was resolved to fight to the (re)death, and stubbornly passed his break test.


Danni's charge resulted in a much more predictable outcome: Hammerers formed ranks as they looked to protect Hesior from the Vampire - but to no avail. Their eyes were still wide with shock as their heads sailed from their necks, or their bodies were launched into the river from the bridge: four dwarfss crumpled like paper before the wrath of the Vampire. 

Hesior bade his dwarfs stand aside: he knew this was his fight alone. Inspired, the Hammerers passed their break test and prepared for their lord's retaliation.

Both the Undead and the Dwarfs denied each other any opportunity to cast with well played dispel cards.

Turn 4: Dwarfs

Darkness was closing in as the day waned. The Longbeards refused their flank to the approaching Undead, but the lines were otherwise set.

Final Positions

A view of the field

The Longbeards reposition themselves to face the Reapers, again preferring width to depth

Bugman's Rangers try firing at the Chaos Warriors, but at that range no bolt found a target

Big Jessie, was primed and ready to go. The halflings had cleared her down, re-aligned her and cheered as she launched six pounds of solid iron at the skeletons of the 1st Companie of Averridge. The ball crunched into the middle of the unit, disintegrating one, and only one, skeleton, before digging itself firmly in the ground just in front of the second.

This time, Bofel did issue a challenge because HEROHAMMER!!

Mihartishaphut and the Manticore again were outclassed by Bofel, who chose to panel the Tomb Lord into, well, the manticore, one supposes. Three wounds were lost to Mihartiskaphut then - not enough to (re)kill him, but certainly enough to cause him to ponder his life (death?) choices. The manticore was able to bite through all of Bofel's considerable experience and defence, causing a single wound to the old dwarf. Again, the tomb king refused to flee, and the two units remained locked in combat.

Hesior issued a challenge (HEROHAMMER!!!). Danni perceived the slight confusion on his face before he heard the words he hated most. 

"But, you're not a woman..." started the dwarf lord. Danni was on him in a shot, rage pouring into every blow as he battered Hesior. 

The dwarf was made of stern stuff, blocking what he could and receiving with stoic grunting that which he could not, in the end only taking one wound. Danni's eyes widened as the dwarf returned the courtesy, suffering two wounds in the process.

Both generals hold

One might argue that Danni's concentration was off because even as he battled Hesior on the bridge, he was raking Elrich's mind (HERO!!! HAMMER!!!), snatching from him The Radiance of Ptolos in a final Mental Duel. No other magic took place, with Elrich barely managing to counter anything the vampire tried to achieve.


Those who bore witness to the terrible battle on the bridge attest to the might of dwarf and the vampyr, who smote each other with such force as to crack the very bridge itself and cause waves in the river below.

They say that the deadlock was broken by the Grey Wizard who accompanied the constables and their allies that day: he was moved to rescue Captain Prangle and whichever surviving residents of Averridge there remained. 

Realising the undead had the advantage and that they were enveloping the dwarf position, he called forth a bridge of shadow and compelled the dwarf commander and his personal guard to follow it to safety. The vampyr did not deign to pursue them. instead regrouping his wicked forces and ordering them to continue the march westward on the road to Shoodthorpe. 

The dwarfs, accepting the ancient wisdom of living to fight another day, themselves withdrew north of the field, skirting around the silent undead, who ignored them as they passed.

Captain Prangle was found to be alive and well, having gathered no fewer than thirteen constables from their rout into the safety of a nearby forest. Although the Imperial and Dwarf forces had neither apprehended the vampyr nor stopped the undead advance, their spirits remained high: their small force, being still well provisioned and not overly fatigued, was now behind the undead army; well positioned for a reprisal if they acted with courage and resolution. 

Also, their champions had faced both a vampyr and a manticore in single combat, and both had distinguished themselves admirably.

The matter most paramount on Captain Prangle's mind was to send warning to Shoodthorpe, so that they may have time to prepare. To this end, the wizard conjured a steed of shadow, which carried him west through the night, in order that Shoodthorpe would have the time to prepare for The Vampyr of The Riding...


There we have it. Many thanks for holdng on long enough to read this post - I forgot how much work it ended up being to do this sort of thing and had not yet thought to adjust the load in my life - y'know, just before Christmas. It was fun to put together a report again and I hope to do something similar again soon. 

I'll definitely focus on better lighting and making sure the pictures are clear of clutter. I'll also take actual notes instead of having to use the pictures to recreate the crime scene like a fantasy CSI unit. 

I look forward to using 4th edition again - I also look forward to getting some more imperial figures painted in a hope to continue this narrative... somewhere. 


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4


Friday 24 December 2021

Battle Report: The Vampyr of the Riding: Turn 3


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4


Turn 3: Undead

Let the map be evidence that the poor Plague Bearers managed to slog their across nomansland and to the other side of the river. Of especial importance is the fact that Mihartiskaphut remained still, looking to capitalise on the impact of the terror tests the Manticore would cause in the dwarf turn.

The Undead right flank redresses the line.

The zombies reform whilst Scuttlebotch moves in behind Lord Helke and The Reapers of Fairie Tor

The net closes in around the Longbeards.

But the Hammerers keep the threat of the Chaos Warriors at bay

A view of the lines

So remember that thing about dice with hard-to-read pictures? Here's two more dice. What's the context? The context is that Danni managed to cast Vanhel's Dans Macabre on the Reapers. 

He used that to cause the Reapers to charge the Longbeards. 

We weren't sure if we should roll fear or not (the charge happening as it does in the magic phase), but the impression we came away with was that the spell enabled a move or a charge move (amongst other things) which would have the typical reactions available to it. 

So, I rolled for fear. The target number was 10 or less. I scored an epic double six, the Longbeards pretty much accepted they were too old for this shit, promptly voted with their feet (52% voting leave, 48% remain) and rolled a spectacular nine for their 'tactical' withdrawal.

The Reapers didn't have the range to catch them, so their charge petered out into an uneventful, albeit enthusiastic, shuffle.

It LOOKS like a double one. It's not.

Did you know the collective noun for Lonbeards is a 'confusion'?

4,500 years of dwarven life experience hurtle past the manticore, hoping to secure another 4,500...

Turn 3: Dwarfs

Turn 3 for the dwarfs led to uncharacteristic aggression, with two key charges taking place. 

Also, remember that terror test the manticore wanted to cause?

The dwarfs passed them.

Also, check out that cannon shot!

Turn 3 was, quite literally, pivotal for the dwarfs. The Household Guard charged the Chaos Warriors, before the Longbeards (who had rallied) and the Thunderbuckle Light Brigade pivoted to get the Manticore into their charge arc.

The Longbeard's new position is much more advantageous.

Everyone has eyes on the hill, though. It's almost as if they'd all seen a battle from a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, where the high ground was particularly advantageous for those looking to retain their limbs...

Fortunately, Big Jessie's crew had managed to get their shit in order, interpreting the mystical sequence of powder, ball and fire correctly and placing a direct hit on the Manticore!

That's what you get if you want to go swanking around the place on an orange manticore!

The ball hit the manticore (as opposed to the mummy), but was only able to deal one wound to the powerful animal.

In other news, three more plague bearers were shot down in cold blood whilst going for an afternoon stroll in the eastern fields. This brings the total number of plague bearers murdered to eight, with the police still investigating. Reports indicate the murders could be linked to an altercation between some dwarfs and undead earlier in the day. Police are calling for any witnesses to step forward.
Actual footage of one of the most rare of dwarven events: the charge.

Hesior and the Household Guard hit the chaos warriors hard. Given their reduced frontage of four and the use of double handed weapons, the fact that three chaos warriors were killed should not be wasted on the reader. The Hateful Eight (well, Five...) were able to kill a dwarf in response, but the rapidity and efficacy of the dwarf charge ultimately overwhelmed the overconfident chaos warriors and they fled. Fortunately for them, they were easily able to outpace the hammerers, who only made it to the middle of the bridge in pursuit. 

Actual footage of the more common dwarven event: the failed pursuit.

Mihartiskaphut, confident the dwarfs cannot outmanouevre him, waits arrogantly in amongst the dwarf line...

Not pictured here, but visible in the next turn, is the successful cast of The Bridge of Shadows on the Thunderbuckle Light Brigade, giving them a full tilt charge at the manticore! Channeling our inner Lord of the Rings again, we are reminded of the time when Aragorn is asked to hurl Gimli at the orcs because he can't cross the distance himself. Founded, then, in that long but unspoken understanding between Men and Dwarfs, Elrich easily understood the enthusiastic gestures Bofel the Wise was making, and supplied the necessary boost, allowing the Light Brigade to get in on some manticore action!

Join us next time for the Turn 4: The Final!


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4


Wednesday 22 December 2021

Battle Report: The Vampyr of the Riding: Turn 2


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4


Turn 2: Undead

Bloodshed continued at pace, with no less than three well placed charges. The rest of the Undead line carried on forward, with the Chaos warriors taking the bridge and the Plague Bearers fording the river.

The Halberdiers encounter... resistance

How it started.

How it's going...

Tuvith and the boys pass their bladder terror test

Danni and Livvissspot join the skeleton advance

The battle between the halberdiers and, well, the entire undead right flank was close. 

Very close. 

In fact, there was only one point of combat resolution in it. 

As all good undead generals know, if a unit loses combat to a fear causing enemy that outnumbers it ... then it routs automatically. Captain Prangle put in an epic performance, (re)killing four undead as he hacked and slashed about him. The halberdiers, inspired, put on similarly inspired performances. 

But not before Scuttlebotch had torn a gaping hole in the flank of the men of Averridge. His kills, together with Lord Helke's, were just enough to unseat the heroic men, who, realising they were outclassed by their disturbing and supernatural foes, broke and fled, heading for the road to Shoodthorpe, only to be caught and cut down by the zombies!

Lord Helke refused to pursue, choosing to hold his position and regroup to reform the Undead line. Scuttlebotch had no such compunction, giving in easily to the urge to hound and slaughter the terrified men.

How it ended...

One of the key differences between the 3rd edition and the 4th is the to-hit chart - in 3rd edition, it is rich with variety and full of subtle shifts, allowing charging, height, weapon selection and the broad variance in weapons skills to make a real difference. In 4th edition, it is as subtle as a brick going through a window. Unless some special rule is in play, the best you'll ever get to hit is 3+, which means you can end up in situations like this:

This is probably a good dice throw. For some other game.

...where the Manticore spectacularly missed the easiest meal of its day. Of course, we're all about narrative here, so imagine, if you will, that scene from The Hobbit, where the dwarfs have escaped the elves and are bobbing down the river in that crazy scene where the orcs chase them down the river and there is shooting and bouncing and chopping and splashing and elves and dwarfs and greenskins and waterfalls. As you know, no dwarfs were harmed in the production of that scene. 

Now, imagine the same thing, but without elves, the river, waterfalls, orcs, goblins or barrels. Then, throw in a forest and a manticore with a mummy on top, and, well, you can begin to make sense of what happened. 

Through spectacular courage, redoubtable fortitude and phenomenal good luck, the dwarfs draw with the Mihartiskaphut and his manticore.

Turn 2: Dwarfs

The Longbeards were first to see the rout of the Averridge Constabulary as they crested hill and took the high ground. The Household Guard moved up to keep the dwarf line integral, whilst the right flank continued to fire at the Plague Bearers, who were at this point quite literally up the creek without a paddle, proverbial or real.

With only one human left on the board, the advance truly is a dwarven advance

Bugman's Rangers tear the plague bearers apart with their crossbows!

Matt had produced some pretty shocking saving throws for these chaps

In this time of open-mindedness, justice and equality, it pains me to stereotype halflings. I've already mentioned The Hobbit, so I accept they are full of heroic verve and spirit, and vanquish all manner of foe with their quick wit and wicked good fortune. 

But, that accounts for only four of them. The others of that species seem, dare I say... less? Not up to the job? Clearly, the hobbits in The Hobbit had not seen a cannot before, and, it seems, neither had the crew of Big Jessie:

Don't you hate it when people hae fancy dice and you can't tell if its a one or a six?

That is a six, by the way. 

So nothing exploded. 

No one died. 

It was more embarrassing than that. Presumably someone forgot to put a ball in, for instance. Or they'd only put in a pipe's worth of powder. Or they were brewing a pot of tea and forgot to shoot it.

Now that the manticore had warmed up...

Mihartiskaphut was able to galvanise the manticore into action, causing the thing to obliterate all four of Tuvith's dwarfs in a splatterfest that covered the trees. Tuvith fought valiantly, but panicked as he realised even his years of experience could not protect him.

Mihartiskaphut finds himself in a target rich environment

Sadly, the manticore pounced on him as he fled, its instincts guiding it to a point just behind the centre of the dwarf line.

Fortunately, both the Longbeards and the Hammerers have long since developed the ability to ignore anything younger than them, so they hardly noticed the manticore...

The dwarf line.

Astute readers will have by now formed the question: "but what about the magic phase?"

We did have them, yes. 

Both were dismally ineffective.

Anyway, join us next time to see if the dwarfs can recover from the loss of the Averridge Constabulary!


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4


Monday 13 December 2021

Battle Report: The Vampyr of the Riding: Turn 1


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4


Turn one! 

And what a turn it turned out to be. Around here, we classically talk about the 3rd edition, waxing lyrical about opening manoeuvres and intelligence tests for spell casting, as we patiently watch players plan their reserve phases and organise their units into the appropriate formations. 

Compared to the gentle, gentlemanly art of 3rd edition, 4th edition is like taking a spinning class having downed nine redbulls and the spinning class is on a rollercoaster which itself is on a hovercraft ramping off a waterfall.

Into a whirlpool. 

It's fast

Anyway, Matt had elected to play the undead, leaving me command of the noble avengers of Averridge. We rolled some dice - the net result was that Matt was to take the first turn.

Turn 1: Undead

The undead began with a fairly sedentary advance, wholly anticipated and with exactly no surprise moves.

A map! To tell you where things are!

Indeed, the most interesting move on the behalf od the undead was the election of the Plague Bearers NOT to march, but to keep parity with the rest of the line. We'll analyse that decision in later turns.

The least surprising move - the enormous terrifying monster taking cover from the cannon.


Please pardon the lighting. It only occurred to me to chronicle the game shortly before we actually started, so I hadn't done any work to solve the lighting issue required. Also, Matt and I like to talk. 

A lot.

So, we deployed just before lunch, ate lunch, talked for about three hours and only then played turn one, at which point the lighting was... poor.

The alternative would have been a lot of cables, which as you know are trip hazards and we all know how perilous  tripping over rare, spiky wargaming miniatures can be. 

Not because of the miniatures or one's delicate skin either - I'm talking about the owner if the figures.

The forces of Chaos advance slowly.

The 4th edition magic phase is a fascinating thing, never to be repeated in any edition. Essentially, it is a mini-game, with each player being able to cast spell, regardless of whose turn it actually is. Predictably, the Danni cast Van Hel's Dans Macabre, to motivate the zombies and skeletons. 

Predictably, the Elrich cast The Bridge of Shadows, to motivate the halberdiers into meeting the zombies head on. 

Of course, given the magic phase was at the end of the turn, no actual fighting took place.

Elrich Lang conjures the Bridge of Shadows, catapulting the Constabulary straight into the advancing zombies!

The scale of the zombies' immediate problem...

The Undead left. On the left. All of them were left. On the left. None were not left. We left the left ones on the left.
The Dwarf view of the Undead right. Well actually, it was the Undead left, but we've already been through that above and we're not going there again. As far as these dwarves were concerned, it was the right. Right?

Turn 1: Dwarfs

The dwarfs... largely stay put.

The dwarf opening moves were hardly stunning in their creativity either. There were fifteen crossbows and a cannon and the Thunderbuckle clan were keen to see those assets sweat. As much as the dwarfs wanted to admire the courage of the Men of Averridge, there was more headshaking, grumbling and proverb-saying about their immenent demise than anything else. The dwarfs could do a lot of things, it was true, but crossing the field in a hurry to support the halberdiers was not one of them.

First blood pus to Bugman's Rangers! Two plague bearers are gunned down in cold pus!

Tuvith and his scouts actually managed to hit the manticore, being, as it is, a large target. Of course, it is also a tough target, so the boys did nothing other than to attract it's ire.

Mihartiskaphut and his manticore probably had no idea Tuvith and his scouts were in this little forest. But then they shot at him. This is now what the manticore is seeing. No mummies or manticores were harmed in the taking of this photograph.

The combat phase was brief and delicitously bloody. Captain Prangle and the Constabulary hacked, slashed, chopped, mashed, crushed, kicked, punched, gouged and in once instance even poked at the zombies, (re)killing several. Enough to compel them to break and flee!

Of course, the young Captain was no fool. Rather than overrun the Undead line, he commanded his men to hold, in order that they might better prosecute their sudden advantage against the skeletons.

Elrich, knowing only one especially useful spell, used it again to enable the Men of Avveridge to charge forth and engage the skeletons!

Elrich, seeing the splendid wonder The Bridge of Shadows had wrought for the Men of Averridge, used it again to accelerate Captain Prangle's plan, Across the new bridge they ran, enthused to the point of fearlessness. Let the (re)killing commence!

...but Danni, who hates to see things go to waste, quickly reanimates the zombies the halberdiers destroyed - summoning them to reappear just behind their new position.

Too late did Elrich realise that courage alone was not enough for the halberdiers. Danni smiled as she commanded the zombies that had previously been slain to rise again and outflank the out-of-position halberdiers. 

Keen to press her superiority in, well, everything, home, Danni reached into Elrich's mind, easily pushing aside his memories of riding with Miss Amelia (and then riding Miss Amelia), his curious fascination with tea pots and an awkward interview with a witch hunter who confused Elrich's unfortunately large bunion with a mark of chaos, to snatch at the magical centre of his brain, scrambling the memory of The Crown of Taidron.

Insult to injury! Not only has Danni outflanked the 1st Company, but she proceeds to duel mentally with Elrich, wrenching a spell from his mind!

Will Captain Prangle and the Constabulary fight off the advancing zombie horde? Will the despicable vampyr shred yet more memories inside Elrich's mind? Will the dwarfs even move?

Tune in next time for Turn 2 of The Vampyr of the Riding!


Narrative & Army Lists
Turn 1
Turn 2
Turn 3
Turn 4