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
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Turn 2
Turn 3
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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


Saturday 4 December 2021

Battle Report: The Vampyr of The Riding: Deployment


Narrative & Army Lists
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Turn 4


I started curating the images I had taken for the report, when I thought "how about I make one of those handy map things with the arrows and whatnot that they used to put in White Dwarf battle reports?"

So I did. 

What I had not appreciated, however, was how much easier it is to levitate an x-wing out of a swamp using only my mind and two fingers than it is to make the assets necessary to make a battle report work. 


I stayed the course. 

And, whilst I realise there are some minor scale issues with the map, the fact is, the thing will work to support the descriptions of what actually happened. I also had occasion to look at the early reports, and - I hate to break the magic for you - they're actually not all that great. They really are 'purely functional +1'. 

That's not a criticism, by the way. Having attempted this in 2021 with, y'know, modern software, I can only imagine how much more frustrating it must have been in 1993.

Anyway, enough bleating. 

We begin with a legend:

The glorious, glorious map:

And pictures. Because this isn't a White Dwarf. 

And I'm not limited for print space. 

I am limited in memory and cogent thinking however, so please accept my sincere apologies for leaving the army books and the tape measures and so on in the shot. Also, no Bob Ross inspired watercolour backgrounds. You'll have to make do with our playroom, the view out the window and various crotch level shots.

The left side of the Dwarf/Imperial line.

And the right hand side.

The left side of the Undead/Chaos line.

Surprise! The right hand side.

Skeletons and Zombies under the watchful eyes of Mihartiskaphut on his manticore!

The forces of Nurgle.

...who find themselves in target-rich environment.

The line of the defenders. Note the halberdiers weren't able to stand on the hill, so you'll have to use some of your overpowered imagination to picture them all there, having Timotei moments with their hair.

Shhh! An editorial error! You'll note that the forces of chaos have ALREADY MOVED in this DEPLOYMENT IMAGE. Remember that imagination we used with the halberdiers? Great. Use that to put the chaos chaps were they were in the previous pictures. All better.

Tuvith and his dwarf rangers hiding in the forest.

Scuttlebotch and Mihartiskaphut anchoring the end of the Undead line.

It IS a large target!

Elrich Lang and the Thunderbuckle Household Guard preparing to march on the bridge. Imagine those blurry chaos chaps a little bit further back and closer to each other, like you did in the previous picture. Chaos! Can't trust those sods one jot!

Fortunately, now that I have the assets to describe the story, we should get underway with the actual battle shortly! 

See you next time!


Narrative & Army Lists
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