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8th Ed, Holy War

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
Feb 12, 2008
Note: I am so glad your forum frames my text and pictures the way it does - you have it tuned perfectly. Other forums chop the pictures up or have the text running off the screen or have the text so small and the lines so long as to be unreadable to the human eye!
Thank you! Getting the forum software working right at times can be annoying, so good to know xD

I just wanted to pop in and say I've only just noticed this thread, but it looks amazing! I've bookmarked it now (yup CN has this feature) to read through in my lunchtimes at work :thumbsup:
Nov 10, 2007
The Battle For Campogrotta

Prequel: Brass on the Iron Road

It had been half an hour since the army came to a halt. The days of marching were long, but not too tiring, as the road coursed (in the main) downhill, and although ancient, being dwarf-built it was in good repair. Yet none of this meant a quick pace. You might presume that the dwarves were to blame, and you would be right. But it was not their short legs that caused the delay. It was the engines of war they were hauling. More accurately, it was one engine in particular - the massive ‘Cannon Imperial’ named Granite Breaker.

Being summer it was still light even this late in the day, and just like the last nine evenings the entire army was now stretched out along the road side for the best part of a mile, preparing to camp for the night. Apart from the mounted Brabanzon mercenaries, the order of the companies never changed. Some nights the riders lit their fires at the head of the army, other nights elsewhere, presumably camping on some convenient height nearby from which they could keep an eye out for torch lights and such like. But every other body kept its allotted place in the line. The dwarven flying engine, which could hardly be called a ‘company’, also rested in a different place each night - wherever its pilot thought safely solid enough to re-acquaint it with the ground. The road would be the obvious choice, but then the sleeping engine would block the way should an alarm be sounded.

Most of the army’s baggage was at the rear of the column. The heavily-laden wagons had spent each hour of travel discovering, with rattling clunks, every bit of damage done by Granite Breaker’s passage. Now they were very quiet, lined up in an orderly fashion typical of dwarfs. The horses and oxen had been unlimbered and led away to rest somewhere amongst the trees.

It was by the wagons that Glammerscale Hamgorn the dwarven wizard had met his equally unlikely counterpart from the company of Brabanzon mercenaries marching with the army of Karak Borgo, the red-haired, ‘fallen’ damsel Perrette L’Amy. Immediately upon laying eyes on him she had smiled, as if they were old friends, and approached him confidently. She wore a long dress of red wool, full sleeved but unadorned with lace or embroidery, hoist up a little to reveal an inner petticoat of purple. Her long, bright hair was loose and wild, and she had in her hand a part-extended fan, which she clutched to her side. Glammerscale assumed it must be some fashionable affectation amongst Bretonnian ladies, although from what he had heard she was no lady.


“A fellow magician!” she said. “It’s good to know I’m not the only one here. I’d heard of you, Master Glammerscale, but couldn’t decide whether to believe what I’d been told.”

“I am indeed a rarity,” he said. “Perhaps now that there are two of us my kin will finally accept me for what I am?”

Perrette’s smile grew wider. “I hope they have not been cruel. I too am something of an outcast, although my problem is that my current companions are often a little too willing to accept me.”

Glammerscale pondered this for a moment. Perrette had not travelled to Tilea with Baron Garoy, but in the company of the Brabanzon mercenaries. He had heard them talk of her two evening’s ago. They did not call her witch or wizard, instead sorceress. Nor did they call her a lady, and as their drinking went on they used much more base terms. The young paladin Baron Garov refused to mention her at all. From the way he winced, it appeared he was even reluctant to hear her name merely mentioned.

“The way of magic is not an easy path,” Glammerscale said diplomatically.

Perrette’s smile seemed more genuine. “And some of us find ways to make it even more difficult for ourselves.”

“No, my lady,” he said. “I would not say we sought the difficulties. They came through no fault of our own. I was born a dwarf, and you were born a peasant.”

“Ah, but was I born such, Master Glammerscale? Or did I ruin my reputation and besmirch my noble blood through dishonour and misdeeds?”

“I meant no insult by what I said,” stuttered Glammerscale. “I merely presumed that …well …”

“Worry not, good master dwarf. Had I been born a lady I would happily have cast aside such a tedious life, such an imprisonment. So, whether you are right or wrong, it does not offend me.”


Glammerscale noted she had not actually said whether she was a noblewoman or peasant born. Perhaps such mystery could only improve her reputation as a spell-weaver? To know too much about a person can make them appear mundane, and that does not do for a practitioner of the magical arts.

“What think you of this army?” Perrette asked. “Is it sufficient to the task ahead?”

“It is no easy thing,” said Glammerscale, “to oust an army of brutes from a well-fortified city. Still, I believe we have the tools required.”

“Are we two of those tools?” asked Perrette, a twinkle in her eye.

It was Glammerscale’s turn to smile. “I would say, my lady, that were we allowed, we could add a better edge to those tools. The walls of Campogrotta will need some considerable chipping to breach. Anyone who can distract the foe whilst the work is done will be welcome.”

“You say ‘Were we allowed’, master dwarf. Why so? Are we not invited to this dance?”

“You might well need your dancing shoes, but I am afraid it is unlikely I shall attend. King Jaldeog has other things in mind for me, and all his thanes are in agreement.”

Perrette frowned. “I did not know this. Whither are you bound?”

“I shall not be far away. I am to be sent to watch for any relief that might approach. It seems my eyes, despite my need for these glasses, are considered more valuable than any magic I might conjure.”


Glammerscale doubted his explanation had convinced the damsel, as anyone who knew anything about dwarfs knew of their distrust of wizards. He would be ordered off with the scouts, yes, but the real reason was superstition. The thanes and their warriors did not want him bringing bad luck to the army on the day of battle. As Thane Narhak had put it, his presence upon the field of battle would be disruptive to the cause.

Perrette watched him for a moment. Then her smile returned. “There is no dishonour in that, for the art of war requires such watchfulness.”

“I did not think those you travelled with cared much for honour,” said Glammerscale.

“The Brabanzon! Oh, they care not a jot for it,” she said with a chuckle. “They came with one thing in mind. Well, lots of things in truth, and most of them shiny in some way or another. And such is their desire for plunder that they will fight as well as any knight seeking renown.”

“What does Baron Garoy make of them?”

“He acts as if he is lord over them, though all know he is not. I saw him only half an hour ago inspecting the brigand archers in the van.”


“Lord or not, does he not command them in the field?” asked Glammerscale. “That was the agreement.”

“Oh, they play their part well enough. The archers I saw had already put up their huts and lit their fires before he arrived, yet still they formed into a body before him.


He made a comment or two to the sergeants there, to which they mumbled some sort of answer. I’m sure each and every Brabanzon once served some knight or another. They understand what is expected of them.


“By their agreed contract they are to obey his orders in battle, and by Bretonnian custom they are required to bow to him. But they are mercenaries, and as such consider their contract more binding than custom.”

“He is not their paymaster,” said Glammerscale.

“He is not,” agreed Perrette. “He who pays is the true authority. Until the payment is completed.”

“Or perhaps another party offers better payment?”

Perrette laughed. “Normally so, but here and now, in these mountains, who else is there to pay them?”

“Well, they do expect more, by way of plunder. They told me so themselves.”

“Aye,” said the damsel. “And as I said, that expectation will ensure they fight. Not as well as dwarfs, I’m sure.”

Glammerscale decided he liked this woman. He enjoyed her honesty, and the fact that when she did flatter she made it so obviously a game.

“And what do you think of the baron?” he asked.

“Would you have me slander a knight?”

“The truth would serve me better now, whether good or ill.”

“He had his companion with him when I saw him this eve, a standard-bearer carrying his emblem. The tête de cerf blanc … the white stag’s head … upon red and white. He has the standard with him always.”


“The white stag,” mused Glammerscale, “that can never be captured.”

“The forever chase! You know the stories!” said Perrette, surprised.

“I have read Berthelot’s tales. Book learning is like breathing to me,” said Glammerscale. He was hardly ever without a book about his person. He now knew that Perrette had to be of noble birth, for how could a peasant know of such things? “A strange emblem for a paladin pursuing the rule of Ravola, for then his chase does end.”

“Are we to presume the baron chose wisely?” asked the damsel.

“The baron is young, as are all his companions.”

“And wisdom comes with age?”

“To some degree,” laughed Glammerscale. “I wonder what the baron thinks of the Brabanzon?”

“You are kind not to ask what he thinks of me,” she said. “He cannot be happy with the army he has been given. But it is what it is, and beggars can’t be choosers. As long as they prove useful to his ambitions he will tolerate them. I think he has some diplomacy in him, for he feigned not to notice the brigand archers who declined to assemble before him, instead remaining by the fire to drink.”


“Perhaps the cooking of supper required their attentions?”

“You have some diplomacy in you too, Master Glammerscale. And I thought dwarfs were plain-spoken to a fault.”

Glammerscale laughed again. “I have many faults, ask any dwarf. Being a wizard overshadows all the rest, so most are barely noticed.”


Perette fell silent and studied him for a moment or two, which made him a little uncomfortable.

“I sense an etheric heat about you,” he said, partly to alleviate the discomfort, but moreso out of curiosity. “Will you be conjuring fire in the assault?”

“Aye, I like to play with fire. We’ll come to know the smell of burning ogre before the fight is over. I can't imagine it'll be pleasant.”

“I should think the brimstone stench of the powder will overwhelm all other smells. The scouts have said that every stretch of wall and every tower teems with cannon muzzles, and Granite Breaker will burn tons of the stuff.”

“I shall take great care to throw my fires at the foe, and not to allow even a spark to stray amongst our engines,” Perrette declared. “In truth, having seen the great gun I wonder whether anything I will do will even be noticed by any upon either side!”

“She is indeed a beast!” said Glammerscale with a grin. “Her roar will surely be louder than that of any dragon, and her hunger for powder will make that which feeds an entire battery of ordinary guns seem like a mere appetiser.”

Perrette seemed confused. “You have never seen the gun fire?”

“No. She is very ancient. So old I think there are barely any even amongst dwarfs who have seen her give fire. Do not let her age make you doubt her efficaciousness, however. Cannons are simple constructions, and it is the quality of the cast that counts. She was made of the best brass, by the best gunsmiths, and will be fed a diet of gourmet powder. She is inscribed with powerful, protective runes. I doubt their will be much left of Campogrotta when she finally gets so hot as to risk shivering.”

He had had a chance to inspect the cannon imperial closely two evenings ago, in the company of no less than the army’s general, Narhak, Thane of Dravaz. She had been heavily guarded, as were the wagons of budge barrels that would provide her sustenance. The thane had waxed lyrical about her, telling of a great uncle who swore he had seen her take the top of a mountain off.


She was cast in the form of a dragon and mounted on a carriage so heavy that it alone, if rolled down a hill against a castle wall, could possibly bring it down. The brass had long since tarnished to make her blueish in hue. None had thought to polish her, however, for in the old stories of her destructions she had been blue and proud of it, and no-one wanted to offend her.

She required a regiment of draught animals to haul her, several of which were still nearby as she rested, being the last to have been unhitched.


The animals were needed fore and aft of her on the road, in differing proportions according to the chief engineer’s judgement. When going down hill more were needed behind than in front. When the animals were changed, she was held in place by huge wedges, the four of which needed a wagon to themselves. Most of her powder was carried with that of the other guns, but at least one wagon was usually nearby too.


Thane Narhak had said a powder wagon was kept close to reassure her. Considering he had just claimed she had once beheaded a mountain, Glammerscale had the measure of the thane's flights of fancy. After half an hour in her close company, the wizard had decided that his absence from the battle would be of very little consequence with the likes of her blasting at the foe. A field gun was to an ogre as a handgun was to a dwarf, but Granite Breaker was to an ogre as a sledge hammer was to a mouse.


Her Imperial Majesty was not going to Campogrotta to knock down ogres, however. She had to bring down the walls. Glammerscale had seen those walls himself, and to his knowledge only the mighty walls of Remas were bigger. He had passed the city in the evening, far enough away to avoid being spotted. The gate had ragged banners atop, bearing an image of red mountains - presumably one of Razger’s emblems and not that of the Wizard Lord Niccolo.


It had been under a darkening sky, which combined with Glammerscale’s purblind eyes, meant that although he could make out what must be brutes patrolling the battlements …


… he had not discerned what exactly were the weapons they were carrying. It was Thane Narhak who had told him what the scouts had seen – cannon barrels carried like handguns.. Not that there was a smattering of such weapons, but that every ogre upon the walls had one.


Glammerscale did not doubt Granite Breaker would fell Campogrotta’s fortifications. It would take time, however, and he wondered what the serried ranks of cannon barrels might do to those who assaulted the walls or clambered over the rubble during that delay.

“I am sure you are right, master dwarf” said Perrette. “The gun will prove our greatest friend. And I am glad you will be watching the road, for it would be a sad thing indeed for Razger Boulderguts to disturb her while she is so busy.”


Previous stories featuring Glammerscale include: Oldhammer Forum • View topic - Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8) and Oldhammer Forum • View topic - Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)
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Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks Unas.

The Assault on Campogrotta
The Battle

The brute defenders upon the city walls had watched for the two hours it took to drag the mighty cannon Granite Breaker into position. They themselves had guns, cannon-barrels no less, which they wielded the way a man might a handgun, but they knew that the enemy was too far away for their shots to have any real effect. So they bided their time, unafraid, for why would brutes fear the antics of the little folk?

The attackers - the dwarfs of Karak Borgo, the paladin Baron Garoy and the Bretonnian Brabanzon mercenary company - had arranged their lines before Granite Breaker was hauled up, ready in full force to thwart any attempted sally from the walls to capture or disable her.

The dwarfs themselves stood closest to the great gun, forming the assaulting army’s left wing. Thane Narhak, their commander (Game note: A lord level character), and the army standard bearer led the warriors. To his right were the Longbeards commanded by Thane Thakolim and accompanied by the Runesmith Rakrik Bronzeborn, then next in line were the Trollslayers. On Narhak’s right were the Thunderers, forming the far flank of the army, each of them itching to moved up to within range of the walls.


The other missile troops stood behind the main regiments, as their weapons could shoot much further than the Thunderers’ handguns. A regiment of Quarrellers scrutinised the walls from the rear of the Trollslayers, and behind them was a pair of bolt throwers and another of gunpowder pieces. Granite Breaker rested directly behind Thane Narhak and his warriors, who were bracing themselves for the passage of some very large round-shots over their heads. The flying machine fluttered around the army’s flank, its pilot looking beyond the walls to take the measure of the city’s towers – if he was to fly over the walls and into the streets he would need to give the towers a wide berth, otherwise his machine’s spinning wings would shatter.

On the army’s right were the Brabanzon. Captain Lodar ‘the Wolf’ and his ensign Jean de la Salle led the company’s largest regiment, the spearmen, nearest to the centre of the line, and out to their right were the two large bodies of archers and the smaller company of veteran men-at-arms. Their small gun, which they called 'the Piece', like unto a flea compared to the dwarfs’ cannon imperial, had been placed directly in front of the trebuchet all the better to perform its usual role as a guard for the larger engine.


Baron Garoy and his brightly liveried retinue of young knights rode on the far right of the line, to a man wondering what their role in such a fight could be. It seemed to them, despite their hopes, that the enemy had no intention of leaving the walls to sally forth, a reluctance which mirrored their own stubborn reluctance to dismount to fight on foot and climb the ladders.

Considering the fact that Razger Boulderguts had marched the fighting army of Campogrotta out upon his grand raid, the garrison soldiers on the walls were surprisingly numerous, as was the number of leadbelchers amongst them. The southern-most tower was packed with the cannon wielding brutes, as was the next tower to the north, while the wall in between them was guarded by a small body of Ironguts (the latter being part of the city’s standing force).


The gate was held by a large company of ogres and a slaughtermaster, while several Maneaters (being the city’s chief ‘constables’) occupied the tower by its side, each sporting a brace of handguns which they could tote like pistols.


The long, northerly stretch of the city’s eastern wall was manned by an even larger company of a dozen ogres, and further half a dozen leadbelchers.


The garrison commander, a Slaughtermaster known as Lord Wurgrut (although the title was an affectation and the rest was only part of the name he professed) had climbed to the very top of the tallest tower in the city’s eastern ward from where he could survey not only the full extent of the eastern walls but also the enemy in its entirety.


As the dwarfs employed the crane to heft a weighty roundshot to Granite Breaker’s muzzle, where they could then tip it in, the Slaughtermaster Wurgrut looked down on the leadbelchers in the corner tower …


… and the Ironguts on the wall adjacent.


He decided that they were not best placed to serve in the defence of the city. The wall was where the enemy might gain ingress, which was why the Ironguts where there, but the leadbelchers could hold it just as well, and would have just as good a view of the enemy from the wall as from their tower. So he bellowed orders down, sending the Ironguts along the street behind the wall as a reserve ready to defend wherever any pressure might be felt, while the cannon wielders on the tower were to shift themselves over to the wall.

Now at last satisfied with the disposition of the forces at his command, he thought he might start the fight with a bang. Pausing a moment to recall the strange words of the necessary incantation, then allowing the winds of magic to infuse his bulky frame with potency, he called upon a comet to crash from the heavens. For the briefest of moments he gave himself up to elation, for he could see the comet’s bulk in his mind’s eye. Then, as if he had awakened suddenly from a dream, the comet was gone, snatched from reality the very moment it began to manifest by the dwarfen Runemaster, who employed a talisman to break the power of the spell.

Just as Wurgrut began scouring the enemy lines to spy out who might have been responsible for the thwarting of his spell, the enemy began to move. They advanced almost as one, although out on the right the Bretonnian mercenaries struggled to match the naturally slower pace of the dwarfs and came on a little faster.


The ‘fallen’ damsel Perrette l’Amy attempted to throw a flurry of fireballs at the walls ...


... but the enemy’s second in command, a Slaughtermaster like their general, managed to sap the winds she was employing and her efforts came to nought. The ogre magician could do nothing to prevent the firing of the cannons, however, and all three muzzles were sighted upon the long, northern wall.


The trebuchet crew, whose first shot had merely bounced from the wall, could only look on with envy as all three roundshots smashed into the stone to leave visible cracks and dents. The wall’s defenders, the largest company of bulls in the garrison, peered uncertainly over the crenulations or picked at the cracks that extended up even as far as the parapet and, deciding they would rather defend the fallen ruins than become buried within them, they backed off the wall to take up position behind it.


They were not the only ones scrutinising the damage. Baron Garoy, riding his mighty destrier and clad in his heavy battle armour, his shield bearing the image of a white stag’s head and his helm bearing antlers in his livery of gules and argent, had lifted his visor to get a better look. What he saw gave him hope that he and his knightly retinue might be contributing to the fight a lot sooner than he had thought.


The dwarfen crossbows launched a packet of bolts to sting the Maneaters in the tower by the gate, while the Brabanzo longbowmen’s arrows merely clattered and rattled on the wall being vacated by the bulls. The dwarfen thunderers could contribute nothing to this sharp-tipped hailstorm, however, for they were too busy moving forwards just to get into range of the walls.


End of turn one.


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
(Start of Turn 2)

Watching from his high vantage point, Lord Wurgrut saw the dwarfen thunderers were preparing to fire a salvo at the walls, and so summoned an ice shard blizzard to assail them. His second-in-command, following Wurgrut’s lead, also attempted to inflict them with a curse called braingobbler, but he failed to contort the winds of magic sufficiently. Meanwhile, having spied the damsel Perrette, her red dress and hair marking her out very clearly amongst the dirty yellow and green liveried Brabanzon spearmen, the Maneaters in the tower near the gate decided to snipe at her. At first both she and the men around her wondered what the zipping sound was, until one bullet pinged very loudly off the rounded helm of the soldiers and then another cut a gash through her arm. She stumbled, but the man next to her caught her before she fell. Thanking him, she laughed. When he looked at her in puzzlement, she pointed to his surcoat and apologised for the spotted stain of her own blood. He then grinned, and said, “Do not worry yourself, madame, for my clothes are used to being bloodied and the stain on your own dress can barely be seen.”

Moments later a roaring wave of thunderous flashes ran along the wall top as the leadbelchers gave fire. Seven dwarfen thunderers fell, as well as a Brabanzon spearman. The dwarfs barely flinched, however, instead gritting their teeth and continuing to prepare their pieces.

The rest of the assaulting army continued their advance, with the flying machine zipping over their heads, its pilot considering where exactly he could drop his grenade.


After saying ‘Excuse me’ to the fellow who had helped her to remain on her feet, Perrette held forth her hand to present her ruby ring to the walls, and with a brief word of command conjured a ball of fire to burst against the parapet holding her attackers. Not satisfied with merely singing them, she immediately summoned another fireball to follow and this time one of the leadbelchers fell screaming from the tower, his large flask of powder exploding even before he hit the ground. The men with her gave a cheer, to which she, despite the pain from her wound, replied with a curtsy!

As the sound of the cheer died, it was replaced by another, and although the choir behind the sound was rather smaller, they were no less elated. The Brabanzon’s trebuchet had landed a stone on the damaged wall, and in so doing pierced the first hole to go right through it. Its crew whooped their delight, then shouted across to the dwarfs to get a move on and ‘finish the job off’. Granite Breaker was not quite ready to fire, and so one of the smaller pieces obliged. The ball hit just below where the stone had pierced and for a moment it looked like all it had achieved was to create a second hole, but then a bulge appeared in the stone between the holes, and, moments later – and without need of further ironshot – the wall came tumbling down.


The collapsing masonry poured out fore and aft of the wall, burying two of the bulls behind. There was no time to dig them out. If they weren’t already dead they would soon be. (Game Note: The reason the player had moved the ogres off the wall as it had showed signs of becoming weakened was that according to the modified 6th Ed WFB siege rules higher strength wounds are inflicted received by a unit on a collapsing wall than by a unit standing next[ to the collapse. Nevertheless, we did not expect 2 ogres to perish from the 2D6 str 3 hits they now received.)

Unsurprisingly a great cheer went up along the line at the sight of the breached defences. Granite Breakers’ chief gunner gave these events a little thought and came to the conclusion that the wall had fallen so quickly due mostly to his own gun’s contribution, but that his shot had been aimed slightly out and failed to deliver maximum force, which is why the other machines’ efforts had been required for completion of the task. This did not satisfy him at all. The cannon imperial had already been shifted to aim at another wall – thus the delay in its second firing – so now, using a two-handed mallet, he knocked out one of the four large iron wedges at the breech to lift its muzzle a little and thus alter the flight of the next path. He had measured everything previously with his sight and level, involving much effort in the placing of the instruments on top of the behemoth and the application of considerable mathematical expertise. Now, however, having gained the practical experience of witnessing a shot in action, he had a better feel for the work. Besides, his dissatisfaction had turned into impatience, and he wanted to prove the cannon imperial’s true worth.

Clambering up the steps he grabbed the pike-length linstock and reached it forwards …


… then with considerable trepidation, lowered the burning end of the match-cord towards the line of crushed powder leading to the touch-hole. Just like the previous time, there was a delay as the powder flashed and the burn thrust its way down through the deep hole to the massive charge packed in the belly of the beast. This gave the engineer just time enough to spin about and descend two of the steps before the mighty boom. He hit the ground almost exactly as before, but did not attempt to climb to his feet immediately, instead turned his head to get a quick look at the walls before the smoke of the blast obscured the view.

A second wall as down …


… felled with one blast.

Now he was satisfied.

(Game Note: The siege cannon rules were lifted from our standard Tilean campaign army list, being itself a version of the Treachery and Greed Mercenary Companies army list with added elements from the later Empire of Wolves list. Neither myself nor my players had written these lists, although I had added some extra elements, like Morrite Priests and such like, to adapt it to our game world. The siege cannon is listed as 160 pts, 72” range 2D6 Str 10 wounds, 5 crew which cannot be moved – other than turned 90 degrees or less – after initial placement. It all seemed neatly to fit the model I had obtained and painted for the dwarfs.)

The cheering renewed before even having died away, now growing even louder than before. The third cannon chipped at the tower, and although the bolt throwers could not perfect their aim against such a concealed foe, the crossbow dwarfs killed one of the Maneaters.

What had seemed an almost impossible challenge to the attackers was now beginning to look like a distinct possibility - they could win this battle.


The assaulting army was drawing near, and the defences were breached in not one but two places.

End of Turn 2.
Jan 1, 2017
Those were 2 enthralling first turns...
Yeah, thing are going sufficiently good for the Allegiance.
The opening of the third one could be decisive (or at least very important). Would the maneaters snipers kill the sorceress? Would the ogres' magic hit harder? Would the leadbelchers be able to inflict some heavy casualties?
I know that something is going to happen...

Btw: Now that the big dwarven cannon did its job, can it shoot to troops? And with what possible effects?


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
Third part of the Assault on Campogrotta – Turns 3 and 4

The Ironguts now raced up towards the breaches while a second body of ogres reformed behind the ruins of the wall they had once occupied. The two Slaughtermasters, despite knowing they needed their magic to bite, failed to conjure anything that could harm, or even simply slow down, the foe.

(Game Note: Cast : dispel dice = 6 : 6. The Brabanzon spearmen passed their panic text due to a successful casting of Braingobbler)

The Maneaters, having spotted who was responsible for their mate’s demise, blasted everything they had at the maiden Perrette, but such was their fury that it ruined their aim! The three companies of leadbelchers spread their efforts more widely, killing three Brabanzon spearmen, two dwarven thunderers and damaging the flying machine.

None of this was sufficient to dishearten the assaulting army, and so on it came.


Damaged, but still able to fly, the dwarven flying machine now crossed over the walls, dropping its bomb as it passed to bloody the bulls below. Turning abruptly, it came to a halt atop one of the city’s inner towers, where the pilot leaned and twisted all ways to assess the damage received.


Perrette had just as little luck as the Slaughtermasters with her own attempts to summon up magical harm, her concentration being jarred both by her wound and the cacophony of noise, what with cannons booming and walls collapsing close by.

While Baron Garoy took the chance to break away from the line and make better speed towards the breaches …


… the attacking army shot everything it had at the walls. Granite Breaker caused the tower by the gate to collapse partially, while one of the smaller cannons wounded the slaughtermaster upon it, as well as one of the Maneaters with him, bringing down the parapet to boot. This sudden removal of the stone hiding the maneaters gave several others an unexpected opportunity, and although the bolt throwers both missed, the dwarven crossbows killed another of the veteran brutes. The third cannon could only shake the tower once more, while the trebuchet landed a stone upon the bulls nearby, bloodying one of them. The crew of the Brabanzon’s little piece joined their fellows’ efforts, yet only managed to bury their shot into the ground before the walls.

The largest of the bull regiments now argued whether they should sally out or not, in the end simply standing their ground out of an inability to decide. Behind them Wurgrut was not so hesitant and tore down the towers stairs to run out onto the street.


The enemy were getting so close to the walls that he had decided he needed to be where he could get to grips with them. While he ran he conjured chain lightning, killing a trollslayer but failing to reach any other units. From the street he threw a magical blizzard of ice shards up at the flying machine, once again damaging it.

While one company of leadbelchers now brought down two of the knights riding with the young baron, the other two companies both aimed at the dwarven thunderers, killing nine of them. The remaining pair made a sorry sight indeed, but they did not run.


Perhaps because there was so much in front to distract them, the ogres entirely failed to notice they had left the northern wall open to the enemy’s possession, and so it was that the Brabanzon brigands, a company of skirmishing archers, threw up some ladders and occupied it.


(Game Note: Embarrassingly the ogre player, Jamie, had failed to take account of the wall to the side, and until now had not thought it was accessible to attack!)

While they did so Baron Garoy led a charge across the rubble into the leadbelchers …


… and the trollslayers charged into the bulls.


The mounted knights struck hard at the brutes, killing one and wounding another seriously, which disheartened to foe so much that they turned to flee away. They did not get far before lance points thrust deep into their backs to kill the rest of them. Such was their urge to have at the foe, however, that two knights fell in the act of simply crossing the rubble, their steeds’ legs broken.

The trollslayers fought not one jot less bravely than the Bretonnian chivalry and took down two of the ogres as well as wounding a third. Moments later, however, they were all dead, beaten to a pulp or crushed under foot by foes standing more than thrice their height!

While these vicious struggles were fought, Perrette poured out every fire spell she could muster, burning the bulls at the gate but failing to kill any of them. Between them the dwarven Quarrellers and one of the bolt throwers killed the last of the Maneaters, leaving the Slaughtermaster alone. For a moment he glared at the foe with hatred, then realised he had to decide quickly what to do now. He was not quick enough, however, for the Brabanzon’s two wrs machines hit the already badly damaged tower, shaking it visibly, then, as one of the smaller dwarfen cannons misfired, the other punched so hard that at last the tower fell.


The Slaughtermaster came tumbling down with it, somehow staying above the rubble to avoid any real injury, while one of the trollslayers fightingnearby was killed, just before a bull could do it! Close by, Granite breaker punched a visible hole in the wall by the gate, but as yet nothing big enough to assault through.

Campogrotta’s defences were being torn to pieces!

End of turn 4

Game note: Siege games are 7 turns long, and as mentioned in the previous campaign battle report, victory conditions are all about how many sections of the defences are held by each side at the end of turn 7. As GM I had, at the start of the game, agreed with the players that as well as the wall, tower and gate sections I had identified and numbered at the start of the game, I would count one or more units roaming freely inside of the city as one controlled section, and in the event of a draw, if an assaulting unit had passed over a section which remained unoccupied by any defenders I would also count that as a controlled section. All this meant, despite appearances, that victory was still ‘very much up for grabs’.


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
Fourth and Final Part of the Assault on Campogrotta – Turns 5 - 7

While the Ironguts moved down the street in pursuit of the Bretonnian knights and Wurgrut’s lieutenant moved to occupy one of the city’s inner towers …


… Wurgrut himself went to join the bulls defending the breach nearest to the gate.


Neither slaughtermaster could conjure anything from the winds of magic to trouble the enemy, but a hail of lead-belcher shot finally destroyed the dwarven flying machine, which tumbled down into the street with a crunch.

The brigand archers hurried from the northern wall to occupy the corner tower, thus allowing the Brabanzon’s veteran men at arms to clamber onto the wall using the same ladders …


… while Baron Garoy ordered his knights to turn about and prepare to receive the inevitable charge from the Ironguts hurtling along the street behind.

The damsel Perrette summoned another burning orb to throw at the enemy, slaying two of the bulls massed behind the fallen stones, just as the small Brabanzon gun felled a third. Moments later a huge round-shot from Granite Breaker caused the wall by the gate to collapse, killing another pair of ogres in the fall. The brutes’ dying cries, the foul stench of burning flesh and the sight of bent limbs reaching from the rubble only made the rest of the bulls angrier, more determined to stand their ground.

From the tower’s vantage point, Wurgrut’s lieutenant looked down on the battered bulls below.


He sensed their frustration at simply standing to receive shot after shot, both magical and mundane, being ingloriously whittled away. So he shouted: “Go on then, go!”

This was all it took for the bulls to yield to their inbred desire for a fight, and they scrambled over the rubble to charge into the Brabanzon spearmen.


The fight was quick and nasty. Lodar somehow avoided facing the bulls’ champion, and instead cut deep into the flesh of two other bulls while the spearmen’s sergeant dodged the champion’s powerful blows. Despite her injury, Perrette spun with an elegance learned from a dancing master in her youth to avoid another huge club. Had it hit, it would have crushed her entire body to a pulp. Six spearmen died, half of them perishing from the mere impact of the hulking foes, while only two ogres were slain. The Brabanzon had the weight of numbers, however, and pressed on aggressively, presenting a wall of sharp, jabbing spear tips before them. When the remaining two bulls realised their mistake, they foolishly attempted to return to the defences. They never reached them, and the Brabanzon stepped over their corpses to come right up to the rubble.


Wurgrut summoned magical lightning to fry three of the brigand archers in the northern corner tower, then the arching lines of burning light shifted their fury to the men at arms approaching below, killing another four. Up on the still-standing walls and tower the leadbelchers were re-loading and firing as fast as they could, killing several of the Dwarven Longbeards and Warriors drawing ever closer to the breaches.

Just as the knights had managed to re-order themselves, the Ironguts came smashing into them …


… to begin a bout of hacking and slashing from both sides. Thick skin, metal armour and the protective blessing the knights had prayed for before the battle, all conjoined together to prolong the fight. Here and now Baron Garoy was learning what a real fight was like, and it was a lesson he embraced with open (mailed) arms!


The men at arms upon the nearby wall now attacked the Ironguts’ flank, some striking down from the wall itself, and although they lost two of their number in so doing, their intervention shifted the odds significantly. When one Irongut was cut down, his blood spattering all around, the remaining pair staggered backwards, looking for a way to escape. Baron Garoy laughed as he and his knights spurred their horses on to follow fast, thrusting their lance tips through the enemies’ grey flesh and riding right over the ruins back outside the city!

The most northerly quarter of the city was now overrun, but the ogre garrison was not yet beat. Wurgrut moved into the ruined tower by the similarly ruined gate while the leadbelchers above moved to re-position themselves all the better for the fight yet to come. Wurgrut conjured a powerful blast of wind to blow the men at arms from the wall in the north, but so agitated had he become he lost his hold on the winds of magic and allowed them to dissipate before he could spin them into a new spell. Somewhat dazed, he now watched the dwarven warriors approaching hesitantly (Game Note: Failed charge), while the Longbeards began climbing, in a similarly cautious manner, over the rubble to his left.


Behind him, the Brabanzon spearmen had already entered the city and were making their way along the street running parallel to the wall.


A stone from the trebuchet landed amidst the remains of the last regiment of bulls, killing another of their number, while the rest of the allies’ artillery merely chipped grey stone and bloodied grey flesh here and there. Granite Breaker’s huge ball ploughed deep into the earth, whilst the score of quarrels that clattered all around Wurgrut merely nicked and pricked at his grizzled flesh.


Game Note: This was the end of turn 7, thus the end of the game. According to the siege game rules, based on the relative numbers of wall and tower sections controlled by each side, the result was a draw! Neither a minor victory or victory. This meant that the next campaign turn – which will be turn 1 of the next season, Autumn IC 2403 - the besiegers would still be attacking, and the defenders would still be defending.

Of course, if I just stopped the story at this point it would be a VERY odd ending, as the attackers look very much to have the upper hand. If they simply carried on as they were already doing victory would almost certainly be theirs. But ‘rules is rules’, and my players are playing competitively, which in turn drives the campaign’s story. Both sides knew the victory conditions and had been playing to achieve them. And so I was now left with the need to write an at least vaguely convincing story ending which explained the fact that the attackers had failed to take the city, thus prolonging the siege.

Here is that story ending.


The brigand archers peered over the parapet of the tower they had captured …


… watching as their Brabanzon comrades made their way down the street below. They could see also that the dwarven Longbeards were clambering across the tumbled-ruins of the wall.


Immediately below them the young baron led his knights back over the ruins a third time to re-enter the city, their mounts bucking and rearing at being forced yet again to traverse such precariously difficult ground.


One by one, however, the brigands realised something had changed – the artillery had fallen silent. They turned to look across the field before the walls and could see the guns were still were they had been, with full complements of crewmen. They were not being troubled by attackers. They had ceased firing for some other reason. Perhaps, suggested one of the brigands, they don’t want to harm the soldiers now entering the city? Or, said another, maybe they have run out of powder?

The truth was that the cannon imperial’s chief gunner had commanded a cessation in firing. There had been something about the sound of the last shot and the gun’s bucking, shaking movement in so doing, that concerned him. Something was not quite right, which foreboded ill.


The ancient gun had done good service, and no doubt if she were to continue in like manner, she could take down the last of the city’s eastern defences. But he had not liked what he had seen and heard, and a torrent of thoughts were now tumbling through his mind. He was not at all a superstitious fellow, so his concerns all had a very practical bent: Had the tarnishing of the barrel over the years somehow weakened it - either its bronze fabric or the runic wards protecting it? Was the powder they were using too potent compared to the ancient powder Granite Breaker barrel’s was forged to withstand? Had the journey down the road weakened the carriage dangerously so that the next shot would bring ruin to both the great gun and those who tended her?

He would not risk it, and so had signalled a stop with a crossed sweep of his arms.

Inside the city Perrette and the men she was with suddenly came to a halt.


Before them was a sight that sapped every ounce of will they had to advance any further, and they could clearly see the dwarven Longbeards who had been climbing over the rubble ahead were of a like mind. The last few of the ogre bulls up ahead had fallen back from the wall, moving a little way down a street leading away from the wall. In so doing they had revealed the brutes further on, each and every one clutching a cannon barrel, standing ready to fire.


To approach any closer, down such a narrow, stone street, would surely mean certain death. Men and dwarves halted, while the enemy watched and waited. One Longbeard scrabbled back to see why the artillery had ceased its efforts, while the Brabanzon spearmen shouted up to the brigands behind to ask what had happened. Within moments, both men and dwarves realised that there would be no further barrage to blast the walls and towers beside this monstrous battery of barrels.

Perrette studied the enemy through narrowed eyes, knowing she had no more magic in her. Her rage had been transformed into fear, and the loss of blood from her wound was beginning to make her feel faint. The soldier by her side dropped his spear to take a hold of her instead. Up ahead one of the brutes was smiling cruelly. With one hand raised he crooked a finger to beckon them on, while in his mouth he held a smouldering match dangling over his piece’s pan.

“In the morrow,” came a cry from the dwarfs, who began to back away. This was all the Brabanzon needed to make up their mind, and they too left, scrambling as fast as they could over the fallen masonry and between the ragged edges of the torn walls. Before long all the other attackers had left the walls, towers and streets also, to return to the siege lines.

There was to be a lull in the assault, at least until the guns were ready to recommence their brutal barrage. Not one man nor dwarf thought they had lost the battle, for soon, victory would surely be theirs. The city could not escape and its garrison was without a doubt mortally wounded. But it would be a victory without needless slaughter amongst their own. They needed their strength if they were to take the other Campogrottan settlements, to recapture the realm of Ravola for Baron Garoy, and if needs be, to face whatever army Boulderguts brought back with him from his plundering of Tilea. Besides, as the Brabanzon declared by their fires that night, “What use is plunder to a dead man?”

They knew had the right tools for the job. They simply had to wait until the time was right too.
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Jan 1, 2017
Yeah, i thought victory was clear but, as you've said, rules are rules.

However, i suppose that attackers won't retreat, right?
It would make no sense to go away and let the ogres rebuild the walls... the next fight should happen with the walls still tored down; otherewise a draw would be the same as a victory for the defenders...


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
You are right. The walls are down and the battle will continue as soon as I have completed all the end of season admin and player reports. The defender has achieved something though - by holding on this long there's a chance to bring supporting forces raised in local settlements in the end of season phase, which will make the next game much more interesting. The arrival of a relief force should present enough of a challenge to mean victory is not inevitable for the allies. I'm really looking forward to the game. I might even command the NPC forces, or at least one of them.
Nov 10, 2007
Antonio Mugello’s letter to Lord Lucca Vescussi of Verezzo at the end of Summer 2403

My purpose, my lord, as ever, is to inform you of everything of import I have learned concerning the great affairs of Tilea. Removed as I am from your person I know you will have a much better grasp than I of the events unfolding in your own realm and your own camp, as well as of the forces in your vicinity, whether allied or foe. But it seems to me that even the knowledge I have concerning what is believed here in Remas of these things (howsoever familiar to you), what information has been passed, what rumours circulate and what assumptions are made, could prove to be of great use to you. Once my offerings are combined with what you yourself know and what other trusted agents have reported to you, then you can all the better judge not only the truth concerning the situation across Tilea, but also what various parties believe to be the truth. Thus you might discover where all the pieces lie, what advantages or disadvantages the players in this great and terrible game believe they possess, as well as what they actually possess.

Having returned from Urbimo to Remas, I have been welcomed into the court of the arch-lector Bernado Ugolini, who, having expressed his love and respect for you, has allowed me to attend upon him regularly, and even to join his counsellors, both religious and secular, in their consultations with his holiness. Much in Remas, at least what is left of Remas, has returned to the way it was before the rising of the Disciplinati di Morr. Those amongst the nobility who survived the frenzied mob, whether by hiding or fleeing, have returned to their houses, albeit bereft of many servants and beloved family, and with the departure of the cultist army, the streets are no longer ruled by the clubs and whips of intolerant (if most holy) faith. The Reman overlord, Domenico Matuzzi, has nominated the arch-lector as his deputy, while he lies ill abed after his rough handling as hostage of the Disciplinati. Apparently, the dedicants subjected him to the torture of strappado, and when they discovered his toes could reach the ground, they dug the earth from beneath him that he might suffer all the more.

Yet while there is thankfulness at the Disciplinati’s departure, I perceive little in the way of hatred. It seems to me that most Remans believe Father Carradalio and his flagellating dedicants are still Tilea’s best hope against the armies of the vampire duchess; a necessary, lesser evil through which a far greater evil can be defeated. One cannot beat a foe in battle without drawing blood, they say, although here the blood drawn belonged to the self-scourging dedicants and those Remans they killed in their efforts to cleanse the city in the eyes of holy Morr. Like so many gods, Morr has many faces, many moods. He might visit gentle dreams upon the innocent, and welcome the departed into his blissful garden, yet is also capable of furious anger against those who transgress against him and think to rebel against his authority, and is manifestly able to inflict great suffering and punishments far and wide through his most loyal servants.

Such is the lesson the orthodox Morrite priests preach in their Reman sermons. Once again, the ancient city realm is embraced by gentle Morr, his funerary lullabies gifting peaceful slumber, of both the great and petty kind, to all, as and when is right, even while his righteous anger is vented through his faithful and fanatic servants in the north.

The army of the Disciplinati di Morr marched solemnly from the city and traveled the road to Urbimo. There many more flocked to join its ranks, urged to do so by their newly tyrannical ruler Barone Pietro Cybo. Some say he so encouraged them simply to remove them from his realm and so prevent their further murderous tumults. Yet others report it was he himself who ordered the cruel purging and that he has personally joined the army. Whatever the truth, the Disciplinati wasted no time in marching upon Viadaza, where they threw themselves at the defences until (it is said) their dead piled so high before the vampires’ swirling blades they could climb their comrades’ corpses to the parapets. Whether this claim be true, they nevertheless suffered very great casualties, harming themselves almost as violently as the enemy to maintain the furious pitch of their frenzy in the face of such horrors. They did not falter, as so many have done before, and the enemy was driven back even unto the wharves, thence to decrepit boats and into the sea, and the Disciplinati re-took the city for the living once again.

The arch-lector has received a letter from an agent he has amongst the Disciplinati’s ranks, which has revealed much concerning events after the city’s re-conquest. The army stayed a while, hoping, at the least, to begin the second cleansing of the streets, to make the city fit once again for the living. Viadaza had suffered greatly, yet again, at the hands of the undead, and as ever their curse lingered. Those who attempted to sleep within the walls found their nightmares escaping their slumbers, the sound of screams crossing from the oneiric to the material realm, from man to man, house to house, street to street. There were false alarms almost every hour, until the third night when the nightmare became real. The army awoke to discover half a dozen of their number had been slain. In the light of day, opinions regarding the killings differed widely – some thought it was a ritual self-flagellation gone insanely wrong, with the city’s feral dogs attacking to finish off the pain-sated cultists. Others declared the enemy’s apparent departure had been a trick, and this was the work of no less than a vampire - perhaps Adolfo, who knew the city so well, its every nook and cranny, having ruled it in both life and undeath, or even the duchess herself?

The next night more perished, and all now accepted that their bloody fight for Viadaza was not yet ended. The vampire duchess had assuredly left something behind, skulking in the alleyway shadows and the depths of the sewers. While the arch-lector prayed for holy guidance, and others cried the city had become so stubbornly tainted with repeated possession by the undead that it should be burnt to the very ground, the Disciplinati’s admonitor, Brother Vincenzo, took it upon himself to lead a hunt through the nocturnal streets.


They found and slew a large pack of ghouls, raining crossbow darts upon them, but they could discover no sign of a vampire.

Two days later, having taken what little Viadaza had left to offer for the army’s supply (which was diminishing fast even after Urbimo had given all that it could) the Disciplinati marched out take the road leading north to the famous bridge at Palomtrina. But something left the city in the Morrite warriors' wake, creeping after them to make the nights upon the road as bloody as those within the walls. One morning, a week or so into the march, a dozen of Captain Vogel’s veteran guards were found in a heap, their throats torn open, their ribs wrenched from their bodies, their chests bereft of sanguine organs.

Thus is the grim nature of a march into the realm of vampires. The last report received mentioned how at night only half the army sleeps, while the rest remain waking and watchful. The Praepositus Generalis’s tent is surrounded by a ring of bodyguards, holding a blessed-flamed torch to light the whole night and ensure Father Carradalio is never, even for a moment, left unguarded.


And yet, for all this suffering and torment, and the victory achieved by it, it seems the Disciplinati di Morr were too late in attacking Viadaza. The duchess had already dispatched an army from there to Trantio, to strike much further south than ever before. There the graveyards were ripe for robbing, as the realm had lay abandoned ever since Boulderguts’ brutes had chased the populace and their new Pavonan masters away. It was Duke Guidobaldo who brought the report of this undead army, returning unexpectedly from a last, desperate attempt to bring Razger Boulderguts to account. Before he could catch the ogres and so recover the vast store of plunder torn from his own realm and others, his found his way blocked by a large force of undead. As he commanded only a remnant of his once mighty Pavonan army, bolstered by only a handful of small companies of Reman soldiers loaned by the arch-lector, the enemy was far too strong to take on. And so he came back to Remas demanding more soldiers from the arch-lector.

I was not invited to attend the councils of war, presumably because Duke Guidobaldo knows me to be a loyal Verezzan, and that I am fully aware of his several many past insults and threats against you, and so I cannot say whether he wanted these in order to attack the undead or merely to obtain sufficient strength to sidestep them and continue his vengeful pursuit of the brutes. Yet while the secret councils were held, the loose-tongued Pavonan soldiery drank hard in the taverns and inns, as is a soldier's wont, and began telling tales of what their scouts had seen.

Trantio, perhaps the geographical heart of the peninsula, is now in the possession of vampires. They arrived with an army of robe-clad zombies, the same Morrite dedicants who had in life served Calictus II, now reanimated to serve their former enemies, their very existence a mockery to all that the Church of Morr and its cults stand for. Immediately upon arrival its soldiers set about tearing open the necropolises of Trantio, the tombs of Scorccio and the graveyards of the villages of Preto lying between.


Large when it arrived, the vampires’ army can only have grown greater in strength since, garnering a vast harvest of corpses to swell its ranks, so that now the bony remains of long-dead, noble men-at-arms once more gallop through the streets …


… and ancient legions muster beneath the filthy, rotten remnants of banners untouched by sunlight for centuries. The streets swarm with walking corpses, a busy, hellish crowd moving hither and thither at the behest of their vampire masters.


None here, even the divinely inspired arch-lector of Morr, knows exactly what the vampire duchess is attempting to achieve, for she has never seen fit to advertise her intentions, but until now, apart from (and despite) the set-backs she has faced along the way, she has pushed her foul armies ever further into the living realms. If her actions alone are taken into account, then it seems she intends to conquer the entire peninsula until she becomes the dark reflection of an ancient empresses of old, perhaps rivaling in power the mighty Kings of Khemri beyond the deserts of the Southlands?

When I learned that you yourself, my lord, were at Astiano, less than 30 leagues south of Trantio, a great fear assailed me. But I was reassured when it was also reported that you not only had a stout force of Verezzans, but that both Lord Alessio Falconi and the young King Ferronso and their armies were also with you. The arch-lector told me that even if he were to order every soldier in Remas to join with the Pavonan army and march as allies against the foul conquerors of Trantio, they could not hope to prevail, for not only was the Pavonan army a mere shadow of its former self, but the wars against ogres and vampires, and the bloody unrest in the city, had much reduced the Reman army too. Yet he was not downhearted, and indeed smiled when he told me of his joy that you, my noble lord, had marched north with a mighty allied army, far greater in strength than that any he could field, and without a doubt greater than the force possessed by the enemy. Furthermore, if it is true that the army of the VMC is also marching north from Alcente, something you my lord will know with more certainty than I, and is committed to assisting in this great struggle, then the vampire duchess cannot possibly endure the force of the onslaught. The soldiers of the VMC are veterans of the war against Khurnag’s Waagh, and as the trading company is prospering General Valckenburgh’s is likely to command a substantial force.


(A regiment of militia pikemen march before Lord Lucca Vesucci of Verezzo, upon the road before the gates of Astiano.)

His holiness happily confessed that even if you had marched north intending solely to destroy the ogres, Morr’s will was surely behind that intention, drawing you northwards in this hour of need, just as the undead began to strike so far south.

I know that to write of these things might be considered foolish, for should this missive fall into enemy hands they would have intelligence of your whereabouts and the nature of your joint forces, but I write only what I have heard, which is what enemy spies will also have heard. You yourself know your true situation, my lord, here I simply present to you what reports are already commonly circulating, that you might know what is believed or suspected by friend and foe alike.

News has come also of a new war in the north-east. The mountain King Jaldeog has mustered an army of dwarfs (a thing previously believed by many in Tilea, including the well-informed, to be long since impossible), bolstered by a Bretonnian mercenary company known as the Brabanzon and a petty-noble claimant to the realm of Ravola, Baron Garoy. This force he has sent down the Iron Road to Campogrotta, there to besiege the city.


The dwarfen king sent out a declaration that he was not only tired of waiting for the wizard Lord Niccolo and his brute servants to satisfy Karak Borgo concerning its ancient trading rights, but insulted by their disrespect. Nicolo and his cruel lieutenants have shown careless indifference to the dwarfs’ need to pass to and fro through Campogrotta in order to reach every other Tilean state, and so have made all trade impossible. Thus it is that King Jaldeog has seen fit to invest a considerable portion of his treasure hoard in a war to rectify the situation, as well as to punish the slight.

King Jaldeog’s army contains an ancient engine of war of such a massive size that the like has not been seen in Tilea for centuries. If it were not for the dwarf-built road, it is unlikely such an engine could possibly have traversed from the mountain fastness to the great walled city. The iron shots hurled from this behemoth are said to be nigh upon one hundred pounds in weight …


… and capable of punching through a stone wall twenty feet thick. I cannot profess to know the dimensions of Campogrotta’s defences, but whatever they be, considering dwarfs are said to be the very founders of the art of gunnery, masters of brimstone and saltpetre, and able to inscribe potent magical runes to improve their cannons beyond their merely natural potential and so make them better than any forged by man, the walls surely cannot stand for long against such a battering.

Furthermore, the surviving half of the Compagnia del Sole (those previously serving in Estalia, equal at least in strength to the Tilean force destroyed in the War of the Princes) are reportedly marching eastwards to reinforce King Jaldego’s army. This famous mercenary company is an army in itself, and so as it circumnavigates the vampire duchess it has every chance of fending off anything she might dispatch to impede its progress. And if they do rendezvous with the dwarfs and Brettonians at Campogroatta, then the ogre tyrant Razger Boulderguts is sure to receive a very harsh welcome indeed upon returning with his plunder.

This is presuming Razger Boulderguts does return. He has moved northwards once again, that much is certain, but no-one can claim to know his exact whereabouts, and certainly not his next move. It seems to me that there are several possibilities, including rendezvousing with another force from the east, like he did with Mangler’s Band. He surely has sufficient plunder to hire another such force. Or perhaps he himself will return to the Border Princes whence both he and Mangler came, now that he is enriched with a vast train of plunder? That may well have been his intention from the moment he marched into Tilea. Then again, he might turn yet again to strike at another Tilean town not yet razed, perhaps Scozzese or Pavona, or a combination of the two, or even push further southwards. He might join with the vampire duchess, if the rumours of their secret alliance are true, all the better to continue his raids, and so provide more ruinous places for the undead to possess. He has proved to be the sort of commander who can withdraw from the field of battle when it becomes clear that neither he nor the foe can win, only mutually batter each other into oblivion, as happened upon the Via Diocleta, then it seems to me that he is not the sort to take proud umbrage at the dwarfs laying siege to a city he once captured and, for a time, simply used as a base for his raids. I think it entirely possible that he never intended to remain in Campogrotta, but only lingered there to gain sufficient strength for his grand chevauchee.

Sailors have continued to voice their concern about the reported sightings of ratto uomo in the Tilean sea, even upon the western coast, suggesting the vermin could be probing for weaknesses now that Tilea’s armies are distracted by the wars against the duchess and Boulderguts. Such have been their fears for many seasons now, perhaps suggesting there is in truth nothing new occurring, but rather a fear-induced exaggeration of little more than the usual, occasional encounters. More recently, however, and more feasible by far, are the reports of a sudden increase of Sartosan pirate vessels in the Current, bearing towards Sartosa. Both a Portomaggioran captain and a VMC ship’s master whom I questioned were of the opinion that the Pirate Council is gathering a fleet in order to launch a substantial raid upon the Tilean coast now that its defenses were vitally weakened. Such would certainly explain the noticeable reduction of small-scale piracy along the western coast, as any vessels normally engaged in such would be returning to attend the fitting of the fleet.

It cannot be known here in Remas who currently holds sway over the pirate council, for even if a name is reported, the ruling captain can change from day to day, from vote to vote, so that any person mentioned might already have been supplanted. Nevertheless, the name Captain Leopold Volker has been circulating the wharves and warehouses for some time now.


From what I have gleaned, Volker appears to have obtained a firm grip on the council, which in itself could be the very reason that the Sartosans are now apparently cooperating in a much more unified manner, and possibly embarking upon an enterprise which would require a whole fleet and an entire army of bucanieri. Whether or not he still commands, I cannot say.


Admittedly, some others claim that the lack of petty pirateering is due instead to the Sartosans’ fear of the ratto uomo, or perhaps even because they have suffered attacks themselves, but this seems (for the aforementioned reasons) unlikely.

Here, if you will oblige me my lord, I must pass on to you a plea made only yesterday by the arch-lector. He is most concerned that the rumours of a Sartosan raid might cause either King Ferronso or Lord Alessio, or both, to turn away from the vital task in hand and lead their armies home, the better to ensure their cities’ safety. Luccini lies closest to the Isle of Sartosa, and as such is likely either to be the target of the pirates’ raid, or perhaps a stepping stone for them as they make their way along the coast towards a richer prize. Portomaggiore is, if the wind and currents are conducive, only a little further away.

More gravely, his holiness spoke to me regarding his concern about your intentions, for it seems to him that the proximity of the VMC’s army to Verezzo, after their cruel raiding of the Camponeffro region of Raverno two years ago, when that realm was riven with rebellion and already suffering, might mean that you too turn away from the war against the vampires due to concern for Verezzo’s safety. I myself admitted to the arch-lector that as Razger Bouldergut’s whereabouts is currently unknown, it must also occur to both you, Lord Alessio and the young king that the ogre tyrant - known to be a slippery foe full of tricks when it comes to taking places by surprise - might have looped about, circumnavigating your forces in order to strike at any or all of the more southern realms now that their defending armies have been lured away.

He thus asked me to reassure you that General Jan Valckenburgh of the VMC has solemnly promised that he wishes only to assist in the fight to defeat the vampire duchess and her minions, and that he himself witnessed the mauling of Razger Boulderguts' army at the Via Diocleta, and so cannot believe the ogre currently has sufficient force remaining to pose a threat to the southern realms. And so, his holiness instructed me to pass on his humble plea urging you to remain just long enough to drive away the vampires from Trantio, or at the least that you leave sufficient forces for this task. He suggests that whatever force you allow to remain might rendezvous with the Reman and Pavonan armies in order to form an allied army large enough to ensure success. He is keen to impress upon you that the consequences of turning back now would most likely mean ruin for the whole of Tilea.

Having delivered the plea as I promised, being the arch-lector’s desire and not mine, for I would never presume to suggest to you any particular course of action, I end.

Your loyal and humble servant, Antonio Mugello.
Jan 1, 2017
Wonderful! I'm always happy when i can read a new "chapter" of Holy War.

I see that there are rumors about Skaven, and we also see these pirates.
Do you have new players entering the game/story and this is a sort of introduction, or what else?
Nov 10, 2007
I hadn't thought of bringing in new players, although your post has me now weighing the possibilities. In truth, I wanted some more NPC forces to work with, as I can focus stories squarely at them rather than in the roundabout way I have to tell the 6 players' stories (either through NPCs' experiences, conversations and letters, or by working, slowly, with the players to jointly construct a story piece).

The Sartosan pirates and Skavenblight ratto uomo were always there on the edges. It is Tilea after all. And I do have armies, very large armies, for both, so I always thought they'd become involved at some point. I got my greenskins in early on with Khurnag's Waagh, the Little Waagh and the Green Corsairs. My arabs were the Sons of the Desert. My Bretonnians were Ravola's chivalry. My dogs of war are back in, with extras added (the other half of the Compagnia del Sole). My undead have bolstered the duchess's forces (lots of new figures too), my ogres were Mangler's Band. My ancient dwarfs are in now, and my new mercenary footsoldier Bretonnians. The Wood Elves are apparently sleeping (which is probably for the best as my dryads and treekin and treemen are made of actual twigs), although some of my elves formed the Sharlian Riders. But pirates are fun (if hard to win battles with) and so in they come. Maybe. It might all be false rumours. Mugello doesn't know for certain.
Nov 10, 2007
Prequel to second assault on Campogrotta

Out Riding
North East of Campogrotta, Very Early Autumn 2403

Having circumnavigated Campogrotta three times, which at over two leagues out from the city meant travelling a considerable distance, the Brabanzon riders were within sight of the rock-strewn area between the villages of Buldio and the Astigo River. They were one of three such scouting bands circling the besieged city in order to discover any approaching relief forces. Lord Narhaz, the ‘great-thane’ commanding the army of Karak Borgo, had every reason to expect the enemy to attempt a relief, for not only was the tyrant Razger Boulderguts reportedly returning to the city having completed his grand (and very profitable) chevauchee, but there were also reports of an ogre garrison at Ravola to the north and smaller forces scattered throughout Campogrotta’s compass. The ogres’ iron grip on the entire realm had relied on gangs of club-wielding brutes to ensure the native citizens’ continually cowed obedience, and any or all of these ogres could be on the move.

Evrart, the longest serving Brabanzon mercenary amongst the riders, his toothless mouth and sunken cheeks belying his sturdy toughness and considerable strength, rode at the head of the little band, regaling his friend Bossu with his latest theory.

“Ask anyone,” he suggested, “even the locals. No-one has ever seen him.”


“Well, wizards like to keep to themselves,” said Bossu.

“Not always. That dwarf Glammerscale’s been riding with Jacquot’s lads, if you can call it riding. He’s full of friendly conversation.”

“Dwarfs aren’t proper wizards, so that don’t prove anything.”

Evrart pondered this a moment. “Alright,” he admitted, “I’ll grant you that. But what about Perette? She doesn’t exactly hide herself away; quite the opposite. Not that I’m complaining.”

“She’s not what you’d call ‘proper’ either,” said Bossu with a grin.

“Well, no. But they’re both just petty wizards. I’m talking about the great ones like Niccolo. They get noticed.”

“Not so,” said Bossu. “Most wizards shut themselves up in a tower or some such place and go about whatever strange wickedness they’ve set their minds to.”

“Perette doesn’t need any tower to be wicked,” joked Evrart, now grinning himself.

Their conversation stopped a moment as they heard a horn from up ahead.

“That’s the others,” said Evrart. He tugged the reigns a little to send his horse, his companions following, in the direction of the sound. Bossu kept by his side and returned to the topic in hand.

“I’m talking about the mighty wizards too. They say Niccolo’s lived more’n twice as long as anyone should hope for or expect, harbouring his grudge until he returned to retake the city with the ogres. No-one had heard of him for decades – everyone thought he was dead. That’s a lot of practice at hiding away. Now he’s returned, maybe he’s trying to finish off whatever it was he was doing before the Campogrottans threw him out?”

“I don’t buy it,” argued Evrart. “If Lord Niccolo really ruled that city, there’d be at least one report of him. Instead everyone talks about the ogres, about Razger and Wurgrut. How they took the city, then took Ravola, then robbed their way through Tilea. Razger gives the orders, his brutes do the damage. I don’t see how Niccolo fits in at all. You saw yourself, Bossu, it was their banners on the city towers, no one elses.”

“Oh, and you know Lord Niccolo’s coat-of-arms do you?”

“No, but I know it isn’t a line of teeth-mountains or a bull’s skull tied to a pole with catgut. He’s a nobleman of an ancient family. All the rulers are here, even the vampires, just like home. It’ll be some flowery leaf or a golden crown or fancy swirls in bright green or red or …”

“You’ve no idea what it is!”

“Ah, but I don’t need to know to make my point. Those banners were ogre banners. The whole realm is ruled by ogres. It’s Razger who leads the armies - he decides what they’ll do – so it’s no surprise that they spend all their time smashing places up and plundering. If Niccolo was some great and mighty wizard kept o’er long in this world by necromancy, then why didn’t he make an appearance on the walls during the assaults? Why didn’t he fling lightning down, or summon the undead to serve in the defence? Brute ogres, that’s all that was seen; blood-spattered shamans waving bloody innards about. That’s all.”

“From what I’ve heard of the assault, I doubt our lads would have noticed some old man amongst the brutes. What’s a flash of lightning here and there when Razger’s lads are shooting cannons like handguns and the walls are tumbling left and right?”

“Well,” said Evrart, “Let us see what’s what when we take the city. I’ll bet you ten silver ecus that there’s no sign of any wizard, nor even that there ever was one besides them butcher-shamans. Wizard Lord Niccolo’s nothing but a story.”

“I’ll take that bet,” said Bossu. “And you’ll pay me as soon as you get your share. I’m not waiting to hear your drunken excuses after you and your purse disappear into the stews for a week.”

The horn-blowing riders were the other half of their own band – led by a veteran called Raol - who had split off earlier in the day to sweep a little further north and so cover more ground, aiming to rendezvous near the strangely shaped black-rock they had camped at on their last circuit. Upon meeting it was immediately apparent the new arrivals did not intend to stop, so the two groups merged to ride as one as.


The riders were mounted on good horses, but not destriers like the nobility of Bretonnia favoured in battle, nor palfreys like the same nobles rode when travelling. These horses were best described as rounceys, trained for both long journeys and battle, but not able to support the weight of a plated knight and barding. Each soldier wore a light armour of chainmail and carried long spears, so they could deliver a charge if the opportunity arose, and sported parti-coloured yellow and green shields, being the company’s livery. Every one of them also carried bows and quivers, allowing them to loose volleys at a distance to harry the foe. As they rode now, some clutched their spears, their bows wrapped in waxed linen and slung across either their own back or their mounts; while others held their bows, their spears slotted into long pouches behind their saddles and their shields slung on harness hooks. One or two, Evrart and Raol included, found it more convenient to have both weapons wrapped and bagged while they concentrated on riding and keeping an eye out. They had experience enough to know that should trouble arise, they would have time to prepare whichever weapon they needed, and if they hadn’t time, then they could draw their swords in a moment.

“News, then?” shouted Evrart to Raol, as they both rode at the head of the reconstituted column.

“Aye, and not good. There’s more coming.”


“Don’t think so,” said Raol. “This lot came from Buldio.”

“Could be some trick of Razger’s, trying to swing around and arrive where he ain’t expected?”

“We thought so too,” said Raol. “So to make sure we got a proper look at them. They’re just a band of bulls, too small in number to be Razger’s army - no warmachines, no baggage, an’ only one banner. I reckon they’ve been off bullying Buldio, but now ordered to return.”

“Could they be meeting with Razger?”


“If that’s their plan, then they’re meeting at Campogrotta. The road they’re taking leads straight there.”

(An hour later.)

As they reached the southern stretch of the rocky-ground they spied one of the other two bands of riders heading their way, led by the riders’ commander, Sergeant Huget. The company’s colours were easily made out at the sergeant’s side, long before much else could be seen. Once again the two groups rode towards each other …


… to join each other on the move; and once again Evrart kept his place at the fore, thus joining the sergeant. As they made their way to the path they had found previously, which led through the wide band of rocks bounding the southernmost reach of this stony land, he reported all he had learned to the sergeant. By the time he finished they had entered the gap through the rocks.


“They’re not the only enemy heading this way,” said the sergeant. “We’ve seen more on the Iron Road.”

“Razger?” asked Evrart.

“I don’t think so. They’re much the same as you described, except that there were greenskin runts with this lot too. And they were coming from the east not the west, which is where Razger will come from.”

“They can’t be from the Lugo watchtower, that place was dead. And there’s no way they came down the Iron Road,” said Evrart.

“No, I reckon they came from the villages of Sermide, only they went north to meet the road before they turned west, instead of just going straight to Campogrotta. They might be planning to meet the ones you saw. ‘Twould explain their diversions.”

“They’re bringing everything they can, then?” asked Evrart.

“As to be expected,” said the sergeant.

“So does that mean Razger’s coming too?”


“Who knows? If he is, then the army’s in big trouble because the enemy’s closing from all sides. If he isn’t, then the army still needs to know about this lot because they’re trouble enough.”
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks Unas. I'll use the holidays as best I can to get the report done as quick as I can.

Game Note: The following game continues almost from the point the previous battle ended, but now the ogres have two 400 pts relief forces, one entering from the north side, the other from the south, as well as a few newly-bought maneaters bribed (using saved ‘Supply Points’ in the city’s coffers) to help on the defence of the city. This scenario came about due to the fact that the first assault was a technical draw (as per the campaign siege-assault rules) even though the attackers very obviously had the upper hand. Also, because the battle took place at the very end of the summer season, thus (again a technicality) the end of season phase kicked in and reinforcements could be created and ordered. What would be a simply some number-crunching in a board-game style campaign thus drove the creation of the above story-piece and the wargame below. Without the relief forces, the battle would have not been worth fighting, being a foregone conclusion. But with the extra forces performing a pincer attack we decided it was game on!

The Second Assault on Campogrotta: The Battle

Part 1: Deployment and Turn One

The army of Karak Borgo waited four days for their master engineer to declare it was safe to recommence firing Granite Breaker. The engineer spent that time scrutinising every square inch of the enormous barrel – no easy thing considering its massive iron weight had to be lifted aloft by a hastily constructed hoist, to a height of just more than the width of a dwarf, allowing him to crawl beneath, there to inspect the underside. As was the dwarven way he was not to be rushed, taking his time to do the job thoroughly. Not one dwarf thought to complain, bar Glammerscale the wizard, who ought never be taken as an example of a typical dwarven attitude. The Brabanzon mercenaries, on the other hand, found the delay most frustrating - to them the city seemed ripe for the taking. They had to console themselves with the notion that once the massive gun continued its booming battery, the enemy would be so distracted and distressed that the mercenaries’ casualties during the assault should be much less than otherwise they might.

Meanwhile the bombardment was maintained by the mighty engine’s smaller counterparts: cannons, bolt throwers and the archaically fashioned stone thrower the Brabanzon had brought in pieces through the mountain pass, then pegged and lashed together with practised skill. Their combined efforts paled into insignificance compared to Granite Breaker’s earlier work, but it showed the enemy the besiegers were awake and able to hurl missiles perfectly capable of punching right through ogre flesh and bones, if not very effective against the stone walls.

The besiegers kept a constant, close eye upon the shattered walls and towers, expecting a sally would surely be launched against them, but it seemed the defenders had not the numbers for such. Either that, or they were awaiting some other development. In the meantime, despite the steady barrage of bolt and ball, the surviving ogres patrolled the walls with their own brass and iron pieces, with smouldering slow-match always to hand.


Some brutes, as if careless of whatever could be thrown at them, patrolled the mounds of rubble where the walls had tumbled. Others occasionally wandered outside the walls. Perhaps curiosity had got the better of them? Or they wanted to flaunt their contempt of the dwarves and men dispersed about the city?


Some of these even re-crossed the rubble to return inside, although several never came back, simply adding new, grey heaps to the already large mounds of tumbled stones.

When their hired Brabanzon scouts returned in the afternoon of the fourth day the army of Karak Borgo learned exactly why the ogres were biding their time. The riders reported the approach of two separate relief forces, from both the north and the south-east. An hour later, when the master engineer was finally satisfied (and not a moment sooner), the re-loading of Granite Breaker began and the ‘Great Thane’ of Dravaz, Lord Narhak, ordered the call to arms.

The army drew up in a rather different manner than last assault, for they knew the foe would come from up to three sides. The dwarfs formed a defensive arc afore their artillery pieces. The scouts had reported greater numbers approaching from the south-east, so Lord Narhak joined his warriors to form a barrier to that side, while his thunderers and longbeard veterans stood upon his flank, along the front of the line.


Beyond them, closer to the centre of the line, were the dwarven quarrellers, then the cannon and bolt throwers, with Granite Breaker behind (able to shoot over the rest). Upon the right of the line were the mercenary Bretonnians, the Brabanzon, their main regiment of foot-soldiers providing the more solid defence, while longbowmen and brigand archers formed close by to sting any who approached from that side. The Brabanzon horsemen, now reconstituted into one body, patrolled the front of the line (Game Note: Here having already made their vanguard move.) …


Baron Garoy and his youthful knights rode upon the far-right, hoping to be the first to engage any foe approaching from that flank. They had lost several of their number during the first assault merely attempting to cross the rubble of the breaches and were now hoping to engage the foe on the flat, for that would mean either glory through victory or defeat in combat, and not the ignominy of death due a fall.

The defenders clustered mainly behind the southern walls, before the dwarven line. The slaughtermaster Wurgrut joined the newly recruited maneaters behind one of the few stretches of wall that had yet to tumble, while one of the two surviving companies of leadbelchers awaited even further within for orders concerning where and when to move up.


The other leadbelchers had mounted the southern wall, where, considering they could not even see the attackers, they too awaited orders. Wurgrut’s second in command skulked with the last of the bulls behind the ruinous gate.

Such were the dispositions as the second assault was to begin.


As Sergeant Huget led his riders towards the wall, to get a closer and therefore better look at what appeared to be a very weakly defended stretch …


… the ogres took the bold manoeuvre as a sign that battle was about to commence. The leadbelchers on the southern wall …


… having ladders ready on the ramparts, descended outside the walls, and crept as best they could, whilst hefting their heavy metal burdens, towards the corner tower.


The remainder of the garrison merely shuffled and stretched to peek out through the ruins here and there. Wurgrut, his ridiculously oversized head ornament (Game Note: Sorry Jamie, but even you have to admit it is a bizarre headdress/mask combination!) as well as the semi-collapsed ruins obscuring his view, had spotted the horsemen closing on the walls, but then quickly lost sight of them.


He barked an order across to his lieutenant further along the wall, who responded by conjuring up the spell known as Braingobbler to work a fearful doubt into their minds. Sergeant Huget’s angry shouts, laced as they were with more than a hint of the panic the ogres’ enchantment had sent speckling through him also, failed either to reassure or cow his men, and the riders turned and fled. (Game Note: They failed the dispel roll and their re-rolled panic test – the Brabanzon army standard was within 12”) This initial discouragement, however, had little effect on the rest of the Brabanzon, for most simply assumed the riders had seen whatever they had seen, then chosen to fall back to a safer distance. When the horsemen did indeed rally and reform, this seemed only to confirm the mistaken assumption.

Amongst the riders it was the veteran Evrart who spoke first.

“That was magic, lads. Nasty and peculiar. But none of us is hurt, so let’s put it behind us. If that’s all they have, then it’s a good thing, not bad. Such as that shan’t cut or bruise us, nor break our bones, just give us bad dreams.”

He took a hearty gulp of the dwarven ale in his costrel, as did several others a moment later. Then the sergeant asked, “Ready?” and after a smattering of Ayes, they reformed their body.

The only regiment to move amongst the attackers were the Brabanzon longbowmen, looking to find themselves an opportunity to shoot. The dwarven crossbowmen already had their opportunity …


… and sent a storm of bolts at the Slaughtermaster. These clattered upon the stone all around him, and even struck his body, but some magical ward he possessed thwarted those few that otherwise might have cut into him. He grinned, revealing his maw of splintered teeth and bloody gums, and reached out to pluck a bolt from the mortar it had embedded itself in, thinking it might serve well as a toothpick. But then his eyes widened as he noticed the black shape of a roundshot skipping towards him. If he hadn’t already moved to grab the bolt, the ball would have hit him square on, instead it brushed his arm to leave a large, black bruise. (Game Note: This was technically a direct hit and he failed his ward, but then its D6 wound roll came up 1!)

Below Granite Breaker’s muzzle, one of the matrosses reached aloft to tip the wooden container holding the iron ball, and sent it rolling down to join the two already inside.


The crew did not bother to wad or ram the shots home (to do so would take another half an hour) but instead moved away from the front and cupped their hands over their ears, their thumbs splayed out at the back so as to relieve the pressure that was about to shudder its way through their heads. The chief gunner dipped his extra-long linstock so his mate could blow on the coals, then swung it up and over to lower the glowing end of the match down onto the trail of slightly slower-burning powder he had trailed behind the mound of more excitable powder directly upon the touch hole. This gave him just enough time to turn and all but throw himself down the steps of his platform.

The resultant boom was no more nor less loud than its previous efforts, and yet all those before and within the walls still found themselves shocked. The trio of balls missed the stone defences, travelling through one of breaches Granite Breaker had already made, and plowed several hundred yards into the city, collapsing several houses and punching through many more walls.

Unfortunately, the great gun’s blast had come at a very inopportune moment for the trebuchet’s Brabanzon crew. Two had been winding tension into the tautly coiled rope, another was nursing the catch to hold the winder in place as the rods were removed and replaced to tighten some more, and a fourth, now that the basket was low enough to do so, had begun adding rocks. Who flinched, or slipped, or let go, no-one knows, but the resultant premature release wrecked the machine, killed two crewmen and wounded a third. (Game Note: You have probably guessed – catastrophic misfire.)

Turn 2 to follow.
Nov 10, 2007
@ Unas: True. Certainly seemed weak compared to the last battle.

Turns 2 – 3

The dwarven Longbeards, commanded by the Runesmith Rakric Bronzeborn, had already begun to move towards the city wall …


… when the ogre relief force from Sermide arrived upon the field, consisting of a company of bulls and a mob of gnoblars. (Game Note: Both relief forces rolled separately, 5+ to arrive on turn 2, 4+ on turn 3, and if still absent, an automatic arrival on turn 4)


Lord Narhak had expected them, and so he was ready. He, his warriors and his army standard bearer, the long-bearded veteran Thane Bragdebreg, had tarried as the longbeards moved away, and so now stood directly in the ogres’ way.


The leadbelchers inside the city, reassured by the fact that Granite Breaker had failed even to chip the defences (and happy to pretend they had not witnessed what its shot had done to the dwellings inside the walls) now ascended onto the parapet, there to be joined by the Slaughtermaster Wurgrut. To their left the Maneaters edged forwards through the rubble, all the better to snipe at the foe using their handgun-sized pistols, while the leadbelchers who had descended from the southern wall now moved out into the shadow of the corner tower.

Wurgrut, having spotted the arrival of the first relief force, now attempted to crush the bones of the dwarven thunderers close to the newcomers, but although his spell was cast, it did little more than make the enemy’s bones ache, while the energies that spilled from his over-hasty efforts hurt stung him and the leadbelchers at his side, and sloughed away what other energies the winds of magic could have provided for both him and his lieutenant. He cursed, partly at the pain of the injury he had received, partly at the frustration of fumbling his magical efforts, but mainly because cursing was his most common form of utterance.

Only momentarily distracted by their comrade’s wound, the leadbelchers on the wall with Wurgut blasted their barrels at the advancing Longbeards, cutting four down. Their success drew the maneaters’ and other leadbelchers’ interest, so that they too gave fire upon the same enemy regiment, but despite spewing great plumes of smoke, they failed to harm any more of the enemy. Rakric Bronzeborn took a puff upon his pipe, and uttered a single, entirely unnecessary, word: “Steady”.


The ragged mob of gnoblars drew close enough to hurl a varied collection of sharp missiles at the dwarven handgunners, killing one. While they whooped and squealed, the dwarves calmly continued making their pieces ready.

Lord Narhak now ordered his warriors to ‘march on’, towards the ogres. This was no charge, but rather an attempt to ensure that the bulls could not slip past the warriors while the gnoblars caused a distraction.


Slowly but surely, the dwarves moved so that the only way either gnoblars or ogres could get to the artillery pieces in the rear was to go through them. One amongst the warriors a drummer named Ringregur beat the steady call required for this manoeuvre whilst staring wide-eyed at the massive brutes ahead.


He had been recruited fresh for this campaign and had never seen battle before, apart from the occasional drunken brawl in the alehouses and halls he entertained in. He did not know it, but Lord Narhak had noticed his expression, recognising the trepidation it revealed. Even as the brute foe began their charge, Lord Narhak leaned towards the drummer and said, “Tough Audience.” Ringregur might have laughed had he had time to do so.

(Game note: I have to admit that as GM, note-taker and photographer, I thought the dwarfs were in a very bad situation. If the ogres got through they could sweep down the line destroying machine after machine before anyone else could get to grips with them, never mind actually stop them. The dwarven player, however, despite commanding an NPC force not his own, knew the capabilities of a dwarven unit with not one but two lords within it better than I, as well as what spells he planned to assist them, and he was confident. Time would tell.)

Glammerscale the wizard, standing between the quarrellers and the stone-filled gabions shielding Granite Breaker’s crew, could see what was happening on the left flank.


Having his most important books at hand, and tasselled bookmarks handily placed, he opened to a richly adorned page containing the bound spell Harmonic Convergence. With little more than a stroke and a word of command, he released the spell and so blessed the warriors for the fight ahead. Emboldened by this success, he turned to a much trickier page, for the spell there was described but not bound. He had studied this page deep into the night, and now read it aloud hoping to call down a comet from the heavens. For a moment he thought it had worked, but then he sensed the unlacing of the etheric winds by the enemy’s magicians, and the possibility was gone. He closed the book but, in hope, left the bookmark in its place.

While the thunderers arguably wasted good powder killing four gnoblars, one of the bolt-throwers injured a leadbelcher, while shots from the smaller cannons tore a bull in half and felled another leadbelcher. Granite breaker struck the last standing section of wall to visibly shake both it and the ogres upon it, which is why Wurgrut accompanied the leadbelchers off the wall to stand boldly upon the outside.


Now that the relief had begin to arrive, the ‘slaughtermaster-general’ did not intend to sit inside the walls as they were torn apart like the last time. Ahead of him, the other company of leadbelchers had already ventured some distance out …


… while to the other side the maneaters and bulls had also emerged from the ruinous walls.


As all these ogres came on, the relief force had already charged: the bulls smashed hard into the steel-clad dwarf warriors; beside them the gnoblars poured onto the much smaller body of dwarven thunderers, leaving five dead from the dwarves’ countershot.


Neither Slaughtermaster could find it in themselves to summon sufficient magical energies to their bidding, and so it was left to the leadbelchers to fell another pair of longbeards. The combats were considerably messier than the shooting. Two dwarven warriors were fatally crushed by the mere impact of the bulls, then the ogres’ clubs broke the neck of another. Lord Narhak viciously bloodied the crusher in command of the bulls, causing him to reel away in pain, while Thane Bragdebreg and the other warriors also carved deep wounds. The bulls, more confused than fearful, found themselves unexpectedly halted. They would need to do a lot more to break through than they had bargained for.

The gnoblars failed even to scratch their tough-skinned, armoured foe, while the dwarves dispatched four of the greenskins. Perhaps because the bulls were still fighting at their side, and despite their usual cowardice, they too managed to fight on. (Game Note: Both units passed their Break tests.) This they immediately regretted, for the surviving longbeards now charged into their flank.


Knowing that Baron Garoy was watching the army’s flank from a little way behind them …


… the Brabanzon riders now spurred their mounts to carry them within bowshot distance of the bulls, coming very close to the ruinous walls to do so.


Both Slaughtermasters had spotted Perette amongst the Brabanzon foot soldiers …


… and both remembered the fire magic she had employed to during the first assault. Keen to avoid such casualties during this last, desperate sally from the walls, both chose to ignore Glammerscale and concentrate on thwarting whatever magic she intended to summon. Thus it was that dwarf wizard managed once again to settle a harmonic convergence onto the dwarf warriors, magically blessing their blade-work.

(Game Note: I know, I know … ‘dwarf’ & ‘wizard’ are not two words Warhammer players expect to see joined together, but the old model itself proves the concept is not entirely impossible. I had to come up with suitable rules for him. Of course, any dwarf army containing him does not get the ‘Natural Resistance’ dispel roll bonus, but this army would have lost this anyway by having the fallen damsel Perette on their side. He also struggles a little more than other with magic - each spell he attempts is +2 harder to cast than the standard casting value. Dwarfs are not natural wizards, so he has to try harder!)

Perette failed to conjure anything anyway, so the ogres’ caution was wasted. The attackers’ shooting, however, was quite impressive. One bolt killed a bull (Note: The player made his third snake-eyes panic test in a row here!), another tore deep into the chief slaughtermaster Wurgut. One of the cannons took down a maneater, while Granite Breaker felled another, and the dwarven crossbow killed a third! Even the Brabanzon riders stuck a few arrows into the enemy. All this damage left only one maneater, two bulls and the second Slaughtermaster in the centre of the field.


To the disappointment of its crew, the mercenaries’ light gun …


… merely buried its ball in the dirt.

The dwarves now hacked the gnoblars apart, and when the last few greenskins fled in terror, both dwarven regiments followed to finish them off and hit the bulls’ flank.


A bloodbath ensued, as Lord Narhak knocked the crusher’s brains out, Bragdebreg killed a bull by himself, and two more bulls were slain by the rest. Such was their prowess, luck and the skill of their shieldwall, that not one dwarf was harmed. The few surviving bulls knew full well to remain would be suicide, and so attempted to flee. They were pursued from the field by the Longbeards.

The threat from Sermide had been dealt with. The threat from Buldio had yet to arrive.

Turns 4-6 to follow.
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Jan 1, 2017
What a fight! impressive resistance by dwarfs.

I really hope to see that cavalry charge… as we all know the ogres can land hard punches if they manage to hit the main line of the attackers, and once one of their unit / hero reaches the artillery pieces, things can go very bad.


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks for saying, Unas. I am very excited for the campaign in 2019. Lots of ideas, plans, for modelling, painting, stories and characters, and I am hoping some fantastic battles too.
Turns 4-6

The Buldian relief force arrived just as the last Sermiden was chased away. This new force had no gnoblars accompanying them, consisting only of brute bull warriors with a bruiser in command. Like many ogre regiments of Border Princes’ origins, they wore spiked helmets and gut-plates, carrying huge swords in one hand while their other hands were enclosed in bladed gauntlets of steel.


The bruiser had horns sprouting from both his gut plate and helmet, and he bore two weapons – an ugly, hooked blade and a very hefty iron club adorned with seven conical barbs. He led his company boldly onto the field, as if there were nothing at all to fear. The ogres’ arrival was so sudden, and they moved so quickly, that the young Baron Garoy and his knights, despite waiting with intent for just this occurrence, were taken by surprise, and found themselves unable to deliver their anticipated charge. It did not go unnoticed amongst several knights that the baron had hesitated, if only for the merest moment, and so failed to deliver a prompt enough command. The knights were now forced to turn about if they were to get to grips with the foe.

(Game Note: It was a charge arc issue. I suppose Damo had assumed the ogres would come on closer to the knights, rather than into what had appeared at the start of the game to be a killing ground before several missile units and engines – at that time an insane place to enter.)


One brute upon the Buldians’ right flank was shouting something that none among the Brabanzon could understand. When he was answered in the same alien tongue by a shout from the second slaughtermaster with the last surviving garrison bulls, the soldiers knew exactly what was intended - both ogre companies would coordinate their charges to hit the Branbanzon’s spear-armed foot-soldiers from two sides at the same time. The soldiers were only real fighting body on that flank, apart from the momentarily disoriented knights, for all else were archers and the like.


Upon the far right of the ogres’ line the leadbelchers who had first emerged from the defences, despite having noticed the sparsity of surviving ogres elsewhere before the walls, and as yet unaware that the Buldian relief force had arrived, finally decided to risk a charge at the reformed dwarven handgunners. Their effort, however, was somewhat half-hearted, as if they merely wanted to appear willing before they looked instead to their own survival, and as soon as one of them fell to the dwarves’ perfectly executed volley, they turned and fled from the field and the city.

Their initial, apparently aggressive movement was noticed, however, and spurred the lone surviving maneater and the slaughtermaster with the bulls to have a go too. Neither managed to reach the enemy, instead slowing to a halt as they saw the unexpected flight of the leadbelchers to their right. Wurgrut was sufficiently flustered by what was unfolding before him that he fumbled his attempts at summoning a magical maw, losing control of his creation to harm only himself and his own ogres.

Too distracted by the newcomers, the Brabanzon failed to notice the garrison ogres’ discomfort. Baron Garoy finally brought his knights about so that they might deliver a charge, while the Brabanzon spearmen manoeuvred similarly so that they might receive one!


Perette had no intention of being caught in the imminent deadly mayhem, so she glanced around looking for somewhere safer to be. Spotting the brigand archers in the rear …


… she ran towards them - they were the sort of troops who could move quickly, avoiding trouble, which was exactly what she intended herself. She came to a halt between them and a basket carrying mule …


… and immediately set about attempting magic, but her desperate dash had left her distracted too, and her spells failed to manifest materially.

Bolt, bullet and arrow, both large and small, now came bursting from almost every part of the army of Karak Borgo. Granite Breaker’s mighty shot caused the last maneater to vanish in a red haze, and another leadbelcher fell dead, but much of the shooting was panicked and o’er hasty, especially from the Brabanzon, so that only two of the Buldian brutes fell.

The Brabanzon horsemen’s volley also had little noticeable effect, and they now became onlookers from their somewhat removed position before the ragged walls …


… watching as the Buldian brutes smashed into the front of the Brabanzon spearmen while the second slaughtermaster with the last bull hit them in the flank.


The Brabanzon footsoldiers were of good reputation, at least when it came to battle, if not for restraint when it came to plunder and pillage. Every man was a veteran of at least one war, and they were led by no less than their company’s commander, Captain Lodar ‘the Wolf’, with Jean de Salle, the company ensign, by his side. Yet despite all this, despite bracing themselves and presenting a neatly serried array of spear tips, they were not to prevail. Five died from the mere shock of the brutes’ impact, before even one blade had struck a blow. Captain Lodar was hewn in two, from left shoulder to right waist, and six more soldiers were similarly butchered. So smashed and shattered were the remainder, that they broke immediately. When the brutes came on they cut down and crushed umpteen more, so that the fighting heart of the Brabanzon, as well as their leaders, were gone. The Buldian bulls’ pace had hardly been slowed by this butchery, and they crashed into the dwarven crew of one of the bolt throwers.


At last, Baron Garoy and his companions got to deliver the charge they had been yearning for, into the rear of the ogres.


Baron Garoy himself took on the Bruiser, glad of his armour when the ogre’s giant club thudded into his shield and arm, bending the first and numbing the other. It was all he could do to stay mounted. One knight’s lance struck home, and took down a bull, but the ogres had quickly slaughtered the dwarven crewmen and all now turned to face the Baron Garoy’s company. The knights’ charge was over, their impetus spent, and more than one now wondered whether their one real chance had already passed.


Moment’s before, Perette had seen an opportunity – the second slaughtermaster and the last garrison bull were before her, visible through a momentary gap appearing between the Brabanzon and dwarves.


Having caught her breath and regained her composure she could put all her mind to the task. The fireball she conjured singed her comrades on its flight, and upon striking killed the slaughtermaster and send the last Campogrottan garrison bull stumbling, smoking, choking forwards, only to be riddled with bolts from the quarrellers. Some of the bolts’ fletchings caught fire as he fell dead.

More of the of leadbelchers with Wurgrut fell, while he himself watched in addled fascination as one of Granite Breaker’s massive roundshots skipped off the ground before him to fly only an inch above his head. (Game note: Failed ‘Look Out Sir, but Ward save passed) He cursed, then cursed again for good measure, and although he could see there was still some sort of fighting going on to the enemy’s right, he knew to remain would be madness. He had no intention of dying today. He turned, pushing a leadbelcher to the ground to clear the way, and scrabbled over the tumbled masonry into the city.

The Buldian bruiser was grinning as he struck Baron Garoy again, almost exactly as before. This time the baron’s arm broke and the snapped bone inside dislodged from his shoulder. The force of the blow was too much for any human frame. Dropping his sword, his sight lost to him, he began to tumble from his saddle but was caught by the man beside him. Crying, “The Baron is wounded,” another grabbed his lord’s reins to lead him away. “Away” came another shout, which is exactly what the knights did, with the Buldian brutes pursuing.


(Game Note: Apart from the Baron’s ‘death’ – he was not overkilled – not one other wound was unsaved in the combat. The knights lost their break test, but the ogres could not catch them. I know the baron was actually still alive, however, as I rolled on one of the campaign character injury tables, and death was not the result. Only overkilled characters don’t get the option of rolling on the chart.)

This left the Buldian bulls somewhat exposed. None of the garrison were to be seen, and the knights were too fast for them to reach. Longbowmen, brigands, horse archers, cannons and a bolt thrower surrounded them.


Perette’s next attempt at a fireball was of little effect – merely warming the brutes’ backsides as they slowed. She now watched …


… as a storm of missiles lashed against the ogres. Two more of the brutes fell, leaving only three with the bruiser.


The bulls had no real chance of getting to grips with the foe, and they knew it. Any one of the enemy bodies surrounding them could easily move away, meanwhile the rest would whittle them down to nought if given the chance.

(Game Note: Game over, end of turn 6.)

The bruiser growled, hurled his giant club towards the Brabanzon’s little gun, then ordered his men to follow him from the field.

Campogrotta had fallen. This was surely the beginning of the end of the ogres’ tyrannical rule of this northern Tilean realm. Razger had not returned home in time. Should he do so now he would find the dwarves and their mercenaries ready and waiting. Admittedly, the Brabanzon had suffered heavily, so that only their lightest troops remained intact, and had no commander at present to lead them, but the Compagnia del Sole was on its way, reputedly with a force greater than the dwarves’ current army. Considering the ogre forces remaining in the realm of Campogrotta were petty in size and scattered, Razger’s battered army could not hope to prevail.

Perette found herself in the unusual position of being asked by the brigand archers at her side what they should do now. They had personally witnessed her killing of the ogre shaman, and consequently their opinions concerning her had been transformed. As she pondered, Glammerscale joined her and told them the city had fallen, their work was nearly done.

“Just a matter,” he said, “of collecting your portion of the prize.”

He didn’t need to say anything more. The archers ran off, towards the city, along with every other Brabanzon still standing on the field, and as they clambered over the rubble, their shouts and whoops began to reverberate through the streets.

Game Notes:
Thanks Damo for commanding the attackers, as you have done for so many NPC armies. You have a detailed tactical understanding that has always eluded me. I am glad you too wanted to keep Perette and Glammerscale alive. And I agree, for some reason I too am more fond of the Brabanzon than the dwarves. What will become of them now that they have become merely a brigade of light missile troops? What will become of the fallen damsel Perette?

And thank you Jamie for allowing us to play a game which might have seemed a foregone conclusion but which in truth, had your relief forces both arrived on turn 2, or even together on turn 3, and had magic gone more your way, and if a few more of the enemy’s machines had misbehaved, this might have been a very destructive battle indeed for the attackers. It is only right, I suppose, that we played the game in which your own realm’s capital city was under attack. I bet everyone is now wondering where Razger is, and what the mysterious wizard lord Niccolo is up to. For now, only you and I know!
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Jan 1, 2017
What a great ending!

Yeah, Razger's threat is not ended, but certainly the Ogre's grip is now less firm. Certainly, Campogrotta cannot yet be called a safe place.
Humans needed some victories, given they face this and also the undead menace. I will eagerly wait for the possible Tilean political power shift.

Ezcellent work by you and your players!


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
I wish I'd put the campaign on here from the very start. This thread is only half the campaign! I am glad, however, that you can follow it nevertheless, Unas. I am really excited about 2019.
Nov 10, 2007
The Great Gathering

Prequel to the Battle of the Valley of Death

At long last an army capable of striking a deadly blow at the vampire duchess’s horrid hegemony of the north had assembled, and not a moment too soon for her foul forces had reached further south than ever before. Consisting of five armies from different city states, including a multitude of mercenaries, it was vast in size. Its soldiers hailed from all over Tilea and beyond - from Estalia, the Empire and even far-flung Cathay, with dwarf and halfling regiments as well as those of men. Their assembly spawned a sprawling camp, filling an entire valley in the wide, low hills west of Trantio. At the camp’s heart stood a massive tent, where the allies' council of war was about to begin.

Having traveled at the head of the last two armies to arrive, Arch-Lector Bernado Ugolini now made his way to that tent, accompanied by several of his Cathayan bodyguards. As he walked, he scrutinised the soldiers he passed to satisfy himself that there was indeed enough strength in the three southern armies already present to make his (about to be) proposed plan viable. In truth, he had expected more - the Verezzan and Luccinan contingents appeared to be significantly depleted in strength. Perhaps, he thought, they were divided and so also distributed elsewhere in the camp, but he knew this was unlikely for it not at all the usual practice. As the massive Portomaggioran army made up for any deficiency in numbers on the lesser realms' behalf, he did not let it worry him. Indeed, his spirits were sufficiently lifted to put a smile upon his face. The Tileans in the camp saw this as a sign of his pleasure, his happy blessing upon them, and respectfully made the sign of Morr as he passed. Even Myrmidia-worshipping soldiers knew which god to pray to when facing the undead.

Of course, his expression grew stern before he entered the command tent, for he knew full well that there was work yet to be done inside, and no guarantee of success. He had marched with enough conglomerate armies, either advising or commanding them, to know that it was never easy to reach a consensus concerning strategy. What with commanders from no less than five different states, several of whom did not merely distrust each other but had effectively been enemies until the dire threat of undeath had forced their cooperation, he expected the canvass walls to house a veritable cornucopia of conflicting concerns, incompatible priorities and discordant interests. More than this, there would most likely be disagreements between officers within the same army.

Passing Lord Alessio Falconi’s guards both outside and in …


… he discovered a gathering of officers and their attendants around a central table. Lord Alessio of Portomaggiore was immediately apparent, standing beneath a painted, silken banner sporting his family’s golden falcon, with an eclectic collection of what must be his captains gathered around him. He was well known to have travelled widely, and it appeared he had brought some of those he had encountered back with him. Upon thinking this, Bernado had to suppress a new smile, for of course he himself was guarded by strangely garbed Cathayans.

The young Lord Silvano, whom Bernado knew very well indeed from their shared adventures and who had rode with him from Remas, was already in attendance, liveried in Pavonan blue and white, and as such identical to the blue and white of Lord Alessio’s army. Some childish remnant lurking in the corner of Bernado’s mind wondered whether this was perhaps a sign that the two armies would work well together?

No doubt some of the others were from Verezzo and Luccini, but Bernado could not see the young King Ferronso amongst them, nor his good friend from youth, the philosopher Lord Lucca of Verezzo. Perhaps they had yet to arrive? What could possibly delay them, considering their armies had reportedly marched alongside the Portomaggiorans, he knew not. Perhaps their absence had something to do with the small numbers of their soldiers outside? As he took his allotted place, a place of honour to the right of the allied armies’ effective captain-general, Lord Alessio, he presumed all would become clear, momentarily.


Many amongst the officers made the sign of Morr, and Bernado acknowledged them graciously by lifting his hand in a sign of blessing and saying a brief prayer in the ancient tongue of Tilea. Appropriately, it was the captain general, Lord Alessio who then spoke,

“Your holiness, you are most welcome. I think I speak for us all when I say we are mightily reassured by your presence amongst us, especially in light of the task that now faces us. May Morr protect us in the fight to come.”


Bernado did smile now. “And I am most happy to be here with you, captain general, for here at last, it seems to me upon my first impression, is gathered an army sufficient for the work of eradicating the vampires’ evil from Tilea. Morr’s blessings are most assuredly to be poured upon this army.”

“We are most happy too that you brought Lord Silvano with you,” said Alessio, bowing slightly to the young Pavonan lord, who returned the gesture. “Though I have to ask, where is Duke Guidobaldo?”

“My father felt it was his duty to return home,” said Silvano. “Our city currently lies unprotected, a state of affairs that cannot be allowed to continue now that the tyrant Boulderguts has slipped from our reach and the vampire duchess’s army is so close.”


“Ah yes,” said Lord Alessio. “We marched north in the hope of defeating Boulderguts once and for all, to prevent his further devastation. Indeed, I fashioned this army with the brutes in mind. Now we are faced with a quite different foe. Pray tell, my Lord Silvano, if your father took leave with his army, what command is left to you?”

“My father has fully honoured his commitments, taking only our horse soldiers and a newly raised regiment of Reman bravi. I now command our guns and household foot soldiers.”

“So he left behind only that which would slow him down as he went home,” muttered a grizzled, old soldier, heavily bearded and heavily armoured, wearing the yellow and blue of Verezzo.


Lord Silvano showed no sign of displeasure at this disparaging remark. Bernado had noticed that since the brutal blow to the young lord’s head at Via Diocleta, Silvano had suffered more than merely physical consequences. One of his eyes was now fashioned of glass, and he looked somehow older than his years. More noticeable, perhaps, was his distant nature, as if he were at one remove from that which occurred around him; as if, as one of the Reman priests had put it, he had taken ‘a step closer to death’. Here now, when many others would have reacted angrily to such a comment, the young lord exhibited an absence of any emotion.

“My father left me with exactly that best suited for an assault upon the walls of Trantio,” explained Lord Silvano.

Bernado nodded. “More than that, my lord, your father removed from our city those left unemployed by the fall of so many noble houses during the recent unrest. Such men could have proved most troublesome to us had they not been given new purpose. I am grateful to your father for this, and that the soldiers he left under your command are veterans who have proved themselves several times over in this war. I for one would never criticise Duke Guidobaldo’s desire to care for the well-being of his people.”

He glanced at the Verezzan captain to gauge the man’s response, but the fellow was an old veteran, an Empire mercenary by the looks of him, and simply looked on as if nothing of consequence had happened. Bernado supposed such a man would have faced such horrors during his life as a soldier that he would barely register a little awkwardness in conversation. Bernado noted, however, the comment had revealed there was still antipathy between Verezzo and Pavona, born of Lord Lucca’s allegedly tardy rejection of Duke Guidobaldo’s niece as a wife for his son. For some time, Bernado suspected Duke Guidobaldo had engineered the perceived slight to serve his own purpose (being to conquer every city-state neighbouring his own) each time claiming some matter of honour or revenge as his motive. Whether this were true or not, the bad feeling engendered between the two states was apparently still felt.

Bernado now addressed Lord Alessio, “I must ask, captain general, where are King Ferronso and Lord Lucca?

Lord Alessio gave only the hint of a frown, but several other officers noticeably glanced at each other, both acknowledging and revealing their general disquiet.

“They have also left a portion of their forces under my command,” Lord Alessio answered. “And indeed, like the good duke, saw fit to ensure that those forces were of the kind useful in an assault. Might I introduce Barone Iacopo Brunetti of Poliena, commanding the Verezzan brigade …”

Here Bernado thought Alessio was gesturing towards the mumbling Verezzan captain, but then realised there was a halfling standing by the man’s side, who now bowed.


The little barone sported a heavy iron helmet and clutched a polearm in both hands. Behind him was another halfling, an archer liveried in the yellow and blue of Verezzo.

" ... and Captain Muzio Vanni." This time he did indicate the plain spoken Verezzan. Then he turned to address another, "And this is General Marsilio da Fermo, commander of the Luccinan brigade.”

General Marsilio was another old soldier, almost white haired, in full, unadorned plate armour. He leaned upon a great battle axe of an archaic design, its haft almost as tall as him.


“Your presence, Barone Iacopo and General Marsilio,” said Bernado, choosing not to mention the captain by name, “as well as that of those you command, pleases me greatly. But I must ask again: where are your masters?”

“Blame the Sartosan scum for my king’s absence,” said General Marsilio. “Their love for gold means they care nothing for the living of Tilea. To them, this war merely presents an opportunity to raid the coastal cities whilst our armies are busy elsewhere.”

Bernado had heard the rumours of increased Sartosan activity in the Pirate’s Current, and of some northern seaman named Volker who was attempting to unite them. “The King has returned to Luccini then?” he asked.

“Aye, but unlike Lord Silvano, he has left me with little more than a single regiment to command,” said the general, sounding embittered. And well he might, thought Bernado, for the rank of general sat ill alongside command of one regiment.

“And a great gun,” said Lord Alessio.

“Aye, a single piece,” said the Luccinan with unconcealed contempt.

It occurred to Bernado that the young king might have been glad, at least, to leave his general behind, for the fellow did not seem to care about mincing his words and youthful monarchs often had a certain fragile pride about them.

“Then the pirates are to blame,” declared Bernado, “and not King Ferronso. He cannot be expected personally to fight this foe while his people are being ravaged and robbed by corsairs.”

General Marsilio acknowledged the arch-lector with a nod. Bernado turned to the halfling.

“Barone Iacopo, I was looking forward to meeting again with Lord Lucca. I can only presume he too has other concerns?”

The halfling’s voice, like most of his kind, was somewhat lilting, and in tone like that a of youth.

“A great many, your holiness. They weigh upon him heavily. If you would oblige?” asked the halfling as he gestured for a servant garbed in a flamboyant hat and carrying a polished brass horn, to come up. Bernado nodded his assent, and the courtly youth stepped forwards, unravelled a paper and began to read:


“This to his Holiness Bernado Ugolini, the righteous right hand of Morr, from your old friend Lucca. I pray you are well, and that your dreams treat you kindly. My heart is heavy with the knowledge that I shall not be with you before Trantio, and it pains me that you might think the less of me for it. Not willing to ask another to make excuses upon my behalf, I would by this missive explain myself to you, and all those with you who are to face the foul army threatening every Tilean realm. I know full well that the fate of every living Tilean hangs in the balance, and yet I cannot ignore the responsibilities of rule and the love and protection I owe my people. None presently know Razger Boulderguts’ whereabouts, but it seems to me that the brute most likely intends to circumnavigate the great allied army in order to attack the south. He has performed just such maneouevres before, and despite defeat at your hands went on to lay waste to Ridraffa. Furthermore, there are reliable reports of a large band of greenskins this side of the mountains, sufficient in strength to extract a ransom from the Pavonan town of Scozzese. Knowing that you are bringing the armies of both Remas and Pavona to join with the Portomaggiorans, and that I have left with you all that is of real use in the assault to come, thus fashioning an army entirely capable of victory in the struggle ahead, I feel that the only course of action open to me is to return to Verezzo to do what I can to keep my subjects safe from these other threats. Furthermore, it seems to me that were the rumours of an alliance between the vampires and brutes true, then it would be remiss to leave the allied army’s rear unguarded, so that Razger could launch an attack to relieve Trantio. My soldiers can guard against just such a move.

If I were a proud man, I would have stayed, but I am justly humbled by my duty to my people, obliged to accept sound reason, and beholden to taking the best course of strategic action. When it comes to the safe future of Tilea, however, I am yours to command, and so if I have chosen wrongly, then simply say so and I will return immediately. Ever your servant, and always your friend, Lucca Vescussi, Lord of Verezzo.”

Bernado dismissed the servant and thanked the barone. “I do not doubt Lord Lucca’s sincerity,” he declared, “for I know him to be as honest as he is wise. However, I was led to believe the army of the VMC is also marching north to aid us in our war, and by way of Verezzo. Would they not be of use in defeating any brutes and goblins attempting to outflank us?”

“In his wisdom, my master did take the VMC into account in his deliberations, your holiness,” said the barone, “but not as a reassurance, rather as a further cause for concern. He does not yet trust them, which in truth made for another reason to return home.”

Bernado could not argue against his old friend’s suspicions, for he himself did not know whether the Marienburgers were to be trusted. An army ruled by merchants was an unusual thing anywhere in the world, certainly in Tilea, and nothing the VMC had so far done proved their intentions harmless. They had offered protection to Alciente, and now they ruled it. They promised to fight Khurnag’s Waagh, and now they ruled all that they took from his forces. They had swallowed up Capelli without a fight, simply because the town knew it could not defend itself against such force. And it was their soldiers who had thought to interfere somewhat unhelpfully with Raverno’s self-inflicted troubles by razing the contado of Camponeffro. There was even a rumour that the VMC had hired mercenary bands of goblins. Mind you, similar tales were told of Lord Alessio, so one could not single out the northerners on this account.

Suddenly the Verezzan captain spoke again. “Nor did our master wish to fight alongside the Pavonan duke.”

The halfling looked askance at his companion. “Not so, Captain Muzio,” he was quick to counter.

“Aye, maybe you’re right,” said the captain. “If it was one of Lord Lucca concerns, I’m sure it was very low on his list.”

One of Lord Alessio’s officers, a bald, fierce looking man in full plate leaning upon his sword like a cane, snorted in laughter at this.

Lord Alessio did not rebuke the man. Instead saying,

“No matter. Even if true, we must put such petty animosities behind us, for the enemy threatens every Tilean. Like you yourself said, your holiness, and it seems Lord Lucca also believes, we have a force entirely sufficient for the task in hand. So now, shall we proceed with formulating our plan of attack? I would know first what powder each army has available, for the walls of Trantio are strong and will take require much battering if we are to breach them. My lord Silvano, were the walls breached during your father’s war against Prince Girenzo?”

“They were, captain general, but they were fully repaired during our occupation of the city. I myself oversaw the commencement of the work, and received a report when it was completed, a matter of weeks before the ogres came. I do not believe the walls were in any way dismantled during the subsequent withdrawal from the city.”

“You mean the flight from the city, after your soldiers stripped it of everything of worth,” said Captain Muzio.

Bernado had had enough of this man. “I suggest you hold your tongue, captain,” he said firmly, noticing the concern writ upon the faces of nearly all gathered, not least the captain’s nominal commander, the halfling Barone Iacopo. “If all you have to offer is accusations concerning Duke Guidobaldo’s past actions, then it seems to me you are of little use to this council.”

“I shall speak no more of it, your holiness,” said the captain. “And I apologise to all concerned for my o’er hasty words.”

The young Pavonan lord’s face showed nothing but indifference. If he had noticed the formality of the apology, perhaps revealing its superficial nature, he gave no sign.

Bernado, not for the first time, wondered why - as ever in Tilea – a tangle of complications invariably threatened to imbue any alliance with an intrinsic fragility. Already, several, substantial absences meant this great army, large as it was, was nevertheless a much-reduced version of its potentially massive size. And now those officers remaining were exhibiting their mutual distrust, before a plan had been even been discussed. He had learned the hard way that every commander in a composite force such as this had his own priorities, fears and desires, his own different plans concerning how to achieve victory. Even their ideas of what constituted victory varied. Despite these concerns, he knew he himself was about to be guilty of exactly the same sort of contrariness. Still, what needed saying must be said, so he turned to Lord Alessio,

“Before you proceed, captain general, I would speak of my own concerns, for they will bear heavily upon the plans we make here.”

For the merest moment, Lord Alessio looked perplexed. But it did not last. Perhaps, thought Bernado, his own bitter experiences meant the captain-general recognised the inevitable nature of the game they were now playing?

“Of course, your Holiness,” said the captain general. “I greatly value your guidance. We all do.”

The easy acceptance and subtle flattery of this comment did make Bernado wonder about the man’s sincerity - this was not the first time he had detected Lord Alessio’s clever combination of both business and courtly skills.


Such skills would serve him well in the juggling act of commanding such an army as this. Bernado was counting on him possessing a similar talent for strategy.

“Know that what I am about to suggest comes from my own bitter experiences, not simply from prayerful contemplation,” Bernado began. “I sometimes feel I have been more a soldier than a churchman. I fought with the holy peasant-army of Viadaza against the vampire duke at the Bridge of Pontremola. Against the odds, perhaps, victory was gained, for by the hand of one man - General Urbano D’Alessio, may he find blissful rest in the garden of Morr - the vampire duke was slain, and his army faltered. Nevertheless, they escaped in force, and in all likelihood became the core of the vampire Duchess’s army. Worse than that, despite a victory bought dearly with the blood of many, the city of Viadaza was captured by the undead the very next day when Lord Adolfo revealed himself to be a vampire. I was also amongst the army that recaptured Viadaza, along with Lord Silvano here, only to watch as the vampire Lord Adolfo escaped with his foul servants to attend his cruel mistress. Only recently I fought at the Via Diocleta, where the joint armies of Remas and Pavona drove the tyrant Boulderguts from the Remas. This too was called a victory, for Boulderguts was prevented from reaching the holy city. But then he marched on to raze Ridraffa to the ground, and to escape northwards in command of a significant force and hauling a vast train of loot stolen at such a cost in lives. Now he presents more than a potential thorn in our side, for he could yet, with perhaps minimal reinforcements, bring ruin to many more cities.”

Bernado fell silent here for a moment, to let the miserable truth of what he had just said, how three of the greatest victories achieved in recent years had ultimately proved fruitless, sink in. He could not help but look at Lord Silvano, who was wounded at Via Diocleta, but again saw only the same detachment. The rest waited in anticipation to hear why he was telling them this.


“I will not allow another great sacrifice to be made, the deaths of thousands, so much suffering for so little gain. The foe must not be allowed to escape from Trantio, to rally elsewhere. This time the enemy must be annihilated. Even if they flee the city, they must be caught and destroyed. Not one, single, foul servant can be allowed to return north to the vampire duchess.”

He paused again, to judge the reaction of the men before him. They seemed solemnly agreeable so far.


“So, I propose the following plan: I will, with the aid of brave Lord Silvano here, lead the armies of Remas and the Pavona north towards the contada of Preto, while the rest of you assault the city. When you win, which you surely must do with the strength at your disposal, and our enemies again attempts to escape, we will intercept and utterly destroy them. In this way, the vampires’ final defeat will truly have begun. As we speak, the fanatical army of the Disciplinati di Morr is pursuing the vampire duchess towards Ebino. When they catch her, she will have only what remains to her after the second assault on Viadaza, and nothing from this southern army to come to her aid. Even if the Disciplinati ‘s army fails to destroy her army completely, we can march north with sufficient strength to deliver the necessary coup de grace.”

He knew that those gathered had not in their wildest dreams expected him to suggest dividing their strength at the very moment that such a force had at long last successfully been gathered. But he had weighed everything as best he could and was convinced the enemy could not prevail against the three armies from the south.

No-one spoke, instead waiting for Lord Alessio’s reply.

“I think,” said the captain general, “your Holiness, you have the true measure of what is required of us. We cannot allow the enemy to slip away. Even if we surround the city they could break through, as they have done before.”

Here Lord Alessio fell silent.

“But to take two armies for a task that may not even prove necessary,” said General Marsilio, “surely that is too much? It could weaken us critically before the walls of Trantio. If we cannot beat them, they will not run.”

“By your leave, General Alessio,” said the bald-headed officer by his side. “We need not send all the Remans and Pavonans, but rather send those from each army who are of little use in the assault. My own demigryphs, the Black Guard and the Knights of the Lady would all be wasted before the walls, as would all the rest of the horse.”


“But do we have sufficient horse to ensure victory over a retreating foe, Lord Black?” asked one of Lord Alessio’s advisers lurking in the rear, a short man, who looked more courtier than soldier. Lord Alessio listened without turning, as if there were such a familiarity between the two that he need not do so. “King Ferronso took his mounted men at arms away with him. Lord Lucca took his light horse. Now we learn that Duke Guidobaldo’s mounted knights have also gone.”


The captain-general seemed to be pondering the courtier’s concerns - Bernado assumed he was counting riders in his mind.

“Then the soldiers of my army will make up the shortfall,” offered Bernado. “This was my suggestion, and I would have my own forces committed to ensuring its success. My dwarfs cannot move as rapidly as the horse, but they can catch up every evening. My skirmishers and crossbowmen should also be sufficiently fleet of foot, certainly for the task in hand, for we are not asking them to travel a great distance. And we must, of course, send some of my fighting priests, for those we face are our god’s particular enemy, and my priests’ prayers could prove vital to success. I will stay here with you, for then I myself might channel holy Morr’s anger against the foe.”

“I can spare Pandolfo and his galloper gun,” said Barone Iacopo. “Its shots would barely chip the walls of Trantio but could sting the foe in the open field.”

“Good, good,” said Lord Alessio. “Then we can pursue your holiness’s plan, but with a force drawn from all the armies, sufficiently strong, sufficiently fast. Lord Marcus will command this interceptor force …”

“But Alessio …” interrupted Lord Black, only to be silenced by Lord Alessio’s raising of a hand.

“I would have you, Ned, with me before the city walls. If some monstrous creature were to emerge, or hellish riders, then you and your demigryphs may be needed. I think it would be unwise to leave our flanks unguarded before Trantio, considering what horrors may sally forth.”

“Lord-general,” came the thickly accented voice of the arabyan standing behind the captain-general. “The colossus?”


“It stays,” ordered Lord Alessio. “The weight of the foe’s magic will bear against us in the assault, and, though very thankful of the priests’ prayers, I would fight like with like. You and your construct will stay, to protect the other flank.”
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks ever so much, Unas. If you knew the time, expense and effort put into these you would think me utterly mad! My only defense is "A person has to have a hobby!" Hope you like the next one.

Unholy of Unholies
Second Prequel to 'The Battle of the Valley of Death'

Trantio City, Early Autumn 2403

Moved by the malice coursing through his every vein, Biagino mounted the sanctuary and strode to the altar. Although the congregation’s whimpering could be heard throughout the building, he failed to perceive it – for him, the sound was buried beneath the much more powerful sensation of their fear and the delicious stench of so much warm blood. As he greedily guzzled great gulps of the despair emanating from every living soul gathered within the church, their pathetic sobbing was akin to being merely one of several subtle notes possessed by a fine wine. He had other things on his mind to distract him, not least the fact that an enormous army was camped to the west of the city, obviously intent upon doing battle.

Since late afternoon he had been mulling over what to do about the enemy. Should he meet them upon the walls of Trantio, forcing them to assault the city, or out in the field where he could bring his whole force to bear? Should he even be attempting to take on such a massive foe at all? Perhaps his mistress would prefer he retreat than risk losing the army he now commanded? He had left Viadaza with his own Church of Nagash, including his vampire thralls and the huge mob of resurrected cultists he named the Disciplinati di Nagash but referred to as his children, and a small but substantial army gifted to him by the Duchess Maria, containing powerful, arcane constructs and even a monstrous, undead dragon. Once he arrived at Trantio, this army had grown even stronger, as he, his step-get Captain Tusco and the necromancer Pascal della Cava, raised several regiments of ancient warriors, both foot soldiers and horse, from the ancient graves and burial pits of the necropolis valley of Norochia.

Yet the enemy army, no doubt a grand alliance of several states, made all this seem paltry in comparison. This was not to be an easy decision.

Once behind the altar he gave vent to an involuntary hiss and slammed his gold-topped crozier upon the stone floor, the sharp sound of which elicited a temporary silence.


His red-robed acolytes, the vampire thralls known as La Fraternita di Morti Irrequieti, stood nearby on the sanctuary, while his newly raised, fleshless soldiers lined every wall of the church, but he paid them no attention. They gave him nothing, only took from him. It was his will that lent them purpose - without him they would neither be nor do. It was the wretched huddle of people in the nave that fascinated him, for he could feed on them, play with them, delight in their dread.

Tonight, however, he wanted something different. He wanted their worship. Raising his hands to command general attention, he began.

“Let us pray!”

There was some confusion amongst the gathered, and even that gave him joy. The living were a veritable cornucopia of feelings, every one improved by with a seasoning of terror and despair. He leered at them, then raised his eyes to the great church’s ceiling, and began intoning.

“Nagashi, exaudi nos.
Domine, majestatis infinitae.
Domine, fornax ardens.
Domine, virtutum omnium abyssus.
Domine, omni laude dignissimum.”


He fell silent and lowered his head to glare at the cowering flock before him.

“Well?” he demanded.

Someone began to sob – a woman by the sound of it.

“No,” he hissed angrily. “Say the words.”

The nearest acolyte, his face obscured by a hood, now sang in a voice as beautiful as it was terrible,

“Sanctificetur nomen tuum.”

This was followed by a stumbled attempt at repetition by the cowed congregation. Apart from the children, all the reluctant worshippers knew the words, being the same as those chanted by all Tileans during the most common service to Morr. The entire unholy mass was to be an inversion of the familiar; a profane mockery twisted to serve Nagash.


“Better,” muttered Biagino. His satisfied smile revealed the crooked fangs sitting uncomfortably large in his mouth. Then he addressed the congregation with a short homily.

“It gives me great satisfaction to see you all gathered here today. You are the last of the living in the city, and in what days remain of that life, your prayers will serve as the perfect prelude to your imminent sacrifice. Let your every thought be fearful, and all your pain and suffering be a gift unto glorious Nagash, for soon you will be his entirely, for ever more, and then all your suffering will end.”

He crooked his finger at his acolyte, who now sang another prayer, pausing between each line to allow the congregation to give their faltering repetition.

“Libera nos, Domine …
A peste et fame…
A morte perpetua ...”

“Indeed, you shall never fall sick again,” declared Biagino, recommencing his homily. “Nor feel the pang of hunger. You will be delivered from all these things. Death itself shall not come to thee, and you will forget all that you knew, even the name of the false god Morr, for you will walk this earth as a servant of great Nagash, wholly beholden to his will through the medium of myself, his true servant.”

His own words reminded him that there were still creatures in Norochia that he had yet to bend to his will – a mob of ghouls and a large pack of dire wolves. And there were without a doubt still many more ancient warriors lying there he had yet to summon to swell the ranks of his army.

This train of thought was suddenly disturbed by a commotion at the back of the nave. Peering with a power of sight his old, living body was pathetically incapable of, he spied a desperate fool clambering over a pew in an pathetic attempt to flee, only to come face to face with the rank of skeletal guards. Two thrusts of a rusty-tipped spear sent the potential escapee scrambling back to the other prisoners.


Biagino tutted to show his disapproval, his subsequent sneering glare no more or less ugly than his face at rest.

“I will brook no such nonsense,” he warned. “Any foolishness will be punished most severely. There are worse ways to suffer than your present misery. Now, shall we continue with our prayers?”

Biagino himself took up the prayers once more.

“Nagash, dominus et magister
Adveniat regnum tuum, Domine
Fiat voluntas tua”

Once again, the response was ingrained in the forced-worshippers’ minds, despite the unholy insertion of foul Nagash’s name in the preceding prayer.

“Nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum,” they sang with a tunelessness occasioned by fear.

Now, where was I? he asked himself. Ah yes, the valley.

Suddenly, he knew exactly what to do. He would array his forces in the valley and meet the foe there, where the ground itself would provide him with reinforcements. He could wrest magical mastery of the wild inhabitants to make them his to command also.

The enemy would find themselves facing a foe from their nightmares in a place of their nightmares.

Where better?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nagashi, exaudi nos (Nagash, graciously hear us.)

Domine, majestatis infinitae (Lord, of infinite majesty)
Domine, fornax ardens (lord, burning furnace)
Domine, virtutum omnium abyssus (Lord, perfection of all virtues)
Domine, omni laude dignissimum, (Lord, most worthy of all praise)

Sanctificetur nomen tuum (Hallowed be thy name)

Libera nos, Domine (Lord deliver us)
A peste et fame (From pestilence and famine)
A morte perpetua (From everlasting death)

Nagash, dominus et magister (Nagash, lord and master)
Adveniat regnum tuum, Domine (Thy kingdom come.)
Fiat voluntas tua (Thy will be done)
Nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum (Now, always and forever)
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