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8th Ed, Holy War

Nov 10, 2007
Thanks Unas. I hope the following lives up to your expectations! I did this bat rep like a recent one, setting up pictures after the actual battle to look 'nicer', and writing a less detailed report which reads a bit more like a story than a report.

How Not to Save a King
Winter 2403-4, North-East of Aversa

It was a crisply cold day when the Sartosan fleet’s army arrived before the Luccinans’ fortified camp in the rolling hills where the westernmost reaches of Sussurio Forest peter out. Admiral Volker’s entire strength was not present, for he had left Captain Ansselm and his crew back in Luccini to guard the fleet and the captured king. As soon as he saw the enemy’s camp and less than impressive force with his own eyes, he was satisfied that his decision to split his army had been sound.

The admiral was personally in command of his own crew, their number diminished by the short but bloody fighting of weeks before when Luccini was taken. By his side was his personal standard, the same design as his ship’s ensign - bleached bones crossed behind a skull atop a cutlass. The fleet’s most powerful sorcerer, Adus Arcabar, accompanied him, using his staff more as a badge of office and occasional walking stick than a focus for sorcerous energies. Still, with a battle about to be joined, no doubt magic would soon begin flowing through it.


Arcabar’s able apprentice, Esorin Vedus, had sprinted away from his master’s side a few moments before to clamber up a nearby mound, all the better to observe the enemy camp.

Upon the admiral’s right was the newly formed body of pikemen, who were being subjected to a veritable torrent of corrective orders and criticisms from their Marienburger sergeant. Having once served in the city-state’s army, the sergeant was well-aware how badly they compared to a trained regiment of Tilean militiamen, never mind the professional condottiere regiment that the scouts had reported spotting in the enemy army. At least he could hope the Sartosan pirates’ firepower would make up for the discrepancy in skill at arms, and indeed behind the pikemen, set upon raised ground so that they could shoot over the main battle line, was one of the army’s brace of guns and one of its two companies of swivel gunners.


To the admiral’s immediate left was Bagnarm Farq’s goblin crew. Fifty in number, they vastly outnumbering Volker’s little company. Farq himself was at the fore, dressed in the long, braided coat he had won in a game of bones and the gold trimmed, cocked hat he took from the very same gamester after the duel they fought when the fellow accused Farq of cheating. Considerably more noise came from the goblins than from the pikemen, for while only the one irritable sergeant could be heard among the men, almost every goblin was keen to whoop, yell and ululate in a peculiarly inharmonious manner, a confusion made all the more discordant by the occasional blast of their musician’s horn and the peppered cracks as pistols were excitably discharged into the sky.


Two bodies of deck gunners formed the other elements of the battle-line. Captain Jamaar Garique’s crew had moved up in front of the second gun, which like its counterpart had been placed upon a low hill. Garique’s pirates mostly wielded long handguns, apart from the captain’s one-legged mate Jambalo who cradled his many-barreled muskatoon.


The rest of Admiral Volker’s crew were out on the far-left flank of the line, armed with blunderbusses. Their master was the black-bearded dwarf Hurmaes, who made a point of not being bothered by the fact that only the two goblins in the company were shorter than him. One of the men was so tall he was known as Long Jack, being nearly a bald-head taller than all others in the company, but only because the great orc Draja, despite being more than twice as heavy, was bent almost double, so that his head seemed to grow out of his chest rather than his shoulders.


Draja lugged a mighty blunderbuss bigger than a ship’s espingole – a wide-muzzled, swivel gun that would have to be mounted on stanchions if a man were to attempt to fire it. He called it ‘Mine’. Once, when asked why he called it that, he had simply said, “Because it is.” Over the years, Draja had suffered several, self-inflicted injuries as a consequence of his general clumsiness - he lost an eye to the flash of an over-charged pan and obliterated his foot entirely when he squeezed the trigger at just the wrong moment. Even so, his love for it remained true and the bloodthirsty excitement he got from discharging it had diminished not one jot. Luckily, he was not known for nimbleness and his companions nearly always had sufficient time to get out of his way when he hefted it to give fire. Several of those who had hesitated, or just failed to notice him bringing the piece to bear, were no longer part of the company. When the rest of his crew told tales of what ‘Mine’ had done over the years, Draja usually just sat grunting, “Hur, hur, hur!” whilst affectionately patting the gun by his side.


The second little company of swivel gunners had found a little sheep pen to fortify themselves in, and now waited, with lit match cords, for the larger pieces to fire as that was the sign to loose their own first volley of heavy lead-shot.


The remnant army of Luccini was drawn up behind its earthwork defences. They had but one piece of artillery, ensconced in a semi-circle of earth filled gabions, by which their small regiment of professional pike stood.


Although the pikemen had not fought in years, they had marched many a mile fir many a month until finally camping here in the hills. They had been present at the Battle of the Valley of Death, but had done little more there than spectate as the guns big and small had torn into enemy sufficiently to convince even the undead that to stay would be madness. Here, however, it seemed inevitable that they would engage the foe, unless, as some of them had darkly muttered, the Sartosans’ guns proved as effective as their own had in the necropolis valley.


Upon the other side of the piece was one half of the peasant militia that had been formed from those who had escaped the city and the surrounding realm when the Sartosans landed to begin their depredations. They had arrived at the camp for want of anywhere else to go, and General Marsilio had made it clear that if they were to stay then this time they must be prepared to fight. He could not arm them, however, for he no longer had access to the city’s magazine, and so while some had weapons of war such as spears and fighting axes, and one or two had swords, just as many again were armed with nothing more than pitchforks, scythes, cudgels or knives.

The other half of the peasant militia (they had been divided on the general’s orders so that they might better man the defences) were on the far right of the camp’s front, with the condottiere crossbowmen between them and the pike regiment.


The wizard Duke Ercole Perrotto, uncle to the captured King Ferronso, watched from the defences in between the pike and the crossbow, whilst behind him was General Marsilio and the few remaining royal bodyguard who had pledged to fight to the last as a penance for the fact that they had allowed the king to be taken by the pirates.


Captain Girhur Brewaxe and his dwarf sea dogs had struck out to the left as the Sartosan army made its approach, so that they could now advance upon the camp’s flank.


Girhur carried a club carved with a magical rune that added an unnatural strength to its blows, more than compensating for the fact that his lack of a left hand meant he could only wield it one-handed. His compass was also magical, stolen from an Arabyan corsair, and possessed the mystical power to guide its user in many more ways than a needle of iron fed with lodestone could ever do. Indeed, it was the compass that had allowed him and his dogs to move so close to the enemy so quickly, despite having had to travel a wide arc to get there.

Behind the palisade, the wizard duke moved over to stand with the crossbowmen and watch the enemy deploying with a heavy heart. Only luck, he thought, could grant him victory today, for nothing else was in their favour.

He did not feel lucky.


Yet there was nothing else he could have done. His nephew, the king, was the pirates’ prisoner, and the city was theirs too. He could neither retake the city nor leave, for he lacked the strength to do the former and was too honourable to do the latter. Nor could he rescue the king by other means – the enemy had magicians of their own, and capable ones at that. They would no doubt sense whatever spells he conjured to assist a party of rescuers, and then both they and a large army of pirates would be roused to put a stop any attempt made. All he had was the remote hope that, despite the wars against both vampires and ogres, someone would send some sort of force to assist them. Perhaps the Portomaggioran ruler Lord Alessio might do so? He had attended the king’s crowning and seemed even to like Duke Ercole’s nephew somewhat. Yet even that was made unlikely due to fact that Lord Alessio was currently marching north to face the vampires, many hundreds of leagues distant. First the news had to reach him and then whatever relief he dispatched would have to travel all the way to Luccini.

Duke Ercole’s thoughts were interrupted by a sudden crunch and violent motion along the earthworks to his left. He turned to see a rapidly rising cloud of dirt and debris, from which a man staggered screaming, his shirt bloodied, accompanied by the booming sound of the enemy’s guns. It seemed the enemy’s iron-shot had traveled quicker than the noise of their firing! He tried to recall what had been there moment’s before, then as the debris tumbled down, he saw it was their own gun, or, more accurately, what remained of it, for one of its wheels had been smashed to pieces and the rest of the crew had been felled by the strike. Both he and the crossbowmen were momentarily stunned into inaction, even as the sound of the enemy’s other guns rattled out and splinters of the wattle fencing holding their walls of rubble together span through the air.

They had lost their gun before it had even fired one shot!

The sound of gunfire ended abruptly, and after a moment's silence, a cheer went up from the enemy and their entire line began to advance. The duke then gasped as he sensed a coiling burst of magical energy sizzling in his vicinity. He had been too distracted to sense it a moment earlier, and now had insufficient time to counter it. He heard screaming from behind and turned to see three of last surviving mounted nobility of the king’s bodyguard slide off their mounts to crash heavily onto the ground. General Marsilio and the standard bearer’s own horses were considerably perturbed by this turn of events and as they bucked their riders allowed the reaction to turn into a canter towards the gate on the flank of the camp’s defences. The general had spied the advancing dwarfs.

Duke Ercole returned his attention to the enemy. As the men around him hefted their crossbows to loose a volley at the pirates with Admiral Volker, he conjured a curse to fall upon the same body. Moments later it was Volker’s turn to be surprised, for in a a matter of seconds his already diminished crew had been thoroughly decimated yet again!


As Girhur and his dogs now drew close to the defences …


… the peasant militia had noticed their movement, as well as that of their own general. The leader, an old wheelwright (no less than master of the city’s guild of wheelwrights), pointed and announced that if the general was going to charge to dwarfs, then they would too!


As the general and his lone companion rode their barded horses through the gate, the peasants clambered over the defensive fence and began hurtling towards Captain Girhur and his dwarfs.


The dwarfs fired their pistols with practised skill against the two riders, but their shot was insufficiently powerful to pierce the steel armour encasing men and horses.


As bullets pinged off its metal carapace, General Marsilio’s horse picked up speed and began thundering directly towards Girhur, whose eyes widened as he realized the force of the blow he was about to receive!


The horse battered into the dwarf to send him reeling and the general struck a deep blow with his sword, cutting Girhur’s face, then drew the blade back to thrust it right through the dwarf’s throat. It took the rest of the dwarfs a moment to realize their captain was dead, for they were occupied with the easy slaughter of the peasants, whose charge had been considerably less damaging than the general’s. Once they knew, a fury gripped them. Fury, however, did not make their legs longer, so when the surviving peasants turned to flee, as did the general now that the impetuous of his charge was spent, the dwarfs could not catch them!

The condottiere pike now steadied themselves as the enemy drew close. Some in the rear ranks witnessed General Marsilio’s flight, and a muttering spread through the regiment concerning whether or not they too should run. Why die for a cause when it is not only almost certainly lost but it is not your own? They fought for pay, not for the honour of Luccini. They saw to their left that their Sartosan counterparts had now engaged the peasants at the fence line …


… and it was immediately apparent that the enemy pike would feel little real resistance. To their right they saw that round-shot had smashed a substantial gap in the defences, killing several of the crossbowmen and a few of the peasants who had moved from the camp to stand near them.

Captain Bagnar Farq’s goblins were marching right up to that gap …


… while the last of the crossbowmen and even Duke Ercole were now running away. The duke, not exactly spritely for his age, was not quick. Looking through the gap, the smartly dressed goblin Captain Farq could see the enemy wizard clearly and raised his cutlass as a sign that his crew should halt.

Loudly, he shouted, “Watch dis, lads!” and stepped forwards from the body to aim.


Pointing right at the wizard, with the confidence of knowing his magical bullets never missed …


… he pulled the trigger and watched with glee as the bullet did indeed strike the wizard. The evil grin was soon wiped from his face, however, when he saw that the wizard had not been killed and was still running.

“Bugger!” he shouted as he fumbled to find his powder flask to prepare for the next shot.

(Game Note: Auto hit, Strength 5 magical pistol, against a wizard already reduced to one wound due to enemy magic and shooting. The player rolled a 1 to wound!)

As the peasants broke on one side of them and the goblins now rushed past their captain (still fiddling with his pistol) to pour through the gap upon the other side, the pikemen dropped their eighteen foot burdens and joined in the general flight.

No-one was going to rescue King Ferronso today!
Jan 1, 2017
Well, the title kinda gave it away. ;)
Still, a very pleasant read, and i especially enjoyed the little background of the orc Draja. Hur hur hur! xD
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks Unas. Here's a short one ...


New Friends and no Rest for the Wicked
An Alley, Somewhere in Tilea, Winter, IC 2403-4

Baldassarr had known the meeting would not be pleasant. He had never heard anything good about the ratto uomo, only that they were foul, lice-ridden creatures, with invariably murderous intent. Yet despite the fear and disgust he knew he would most likely experience, he was sufficiently desperate to seek their assistance, for it was indeed murder he had in mind.

Why they had chosen to help him, he did not really know. His accomplice in crime, Naldo, had arranged the meeting, promising that he could trust them. They had apparently assisted Naldo with his own problem, being that of a rival cutpurse who had moved in on his domain. When Baldassar questioned their motive, Naldo had simply answered,

“The enemy of their enemy is their friend.”

“I can’t see why the ratto uomo bear some grievance against the Besutio gang,” said Baldassar.

His friend laughed as if the reason was obvious. “Everyone hated the Besutios!”

Right now, having laid eyes on the creature for the first time, he was having second thoughts on his choice of new ‘friends’.


At first glance, the creature seemed to be half his size, but when he considered its squatting, hunched posture, he realised it was most likely at least as heavy as him, if not heavier. Its face was almost exactly like a rat’s, but its body and limbs much more like a man’s, albeit with a horribly large, fleshy tail sprouting from its back and matted fur covering much of the rest. It was clothed in little more than a ragged over-sized hood and had half a ratto uomo skull clamped oddly over the right-side of its long face. What had drawn Baldassar’s attention immediately, however, were the four heavy blades apparently sprouting from its clawed hands.


He could not help but stare at them, and in so doing saw that they were bandaged to the back of the creature’s hands, leaving its fingers free to clutch and unclutch beneath. When the creature spoke he almost jumped with shock, not because of the strangeness of hearing a giant rat speak, or even the lilting timbre of its gravelly voice, but because whatever had intruded so suddenly into his nervous gaze upon the blades would have had the same effect.

“Balda-Baldasssssar?” said the creature, its coarse tongue fluttering in a quiver to hiss every sibilant component of its words. “Friend-accomplice of Naldo, yesss?”

“I am,” he said, unsure whether he should ask for the creature’s name - to do so seemed as preposterous as asking a dog or rat.


“You are, are you?” came the response as the creature looked him up and down with its red, seemingly pupil-less eyes. “No sharp-ssword? No pissstol? Yes?”

Baldassar felt his throat tighten and stomach knot as he wondered why it was asking him this. Then he remembered Naldo had told him to take nothing but a small knife.

“Only my knife,” he said, tapping the hilt protruding from behind his belt bag and beginning to wonder if he had made more than one very bad decision.

“Always knives, yess of course, always those,” said the creature, whilst its own four blades twitched and scraped, perhaps ensure Baldassar kept them in mind.

“Naldo said …” began Baldassar, then faltered.

“I know Naldo said-spoke this and that. I listened-heard,” said the creature. “You have enemies, nastiness, yess? You want to cow-rule your corner of the nesst? With our aid-help you can-will. Naldo has his choice-pick of purses – no interference, no troublesome worries. Now you too, yess, want rid of trouble?”

Baldassar nodded. “The Scarria Brothers have been taking what is mine. People are paying them not me …”

The creature raised the back of one of its blades to its lips, as if to shush him.

“So ssad. Poor you. You want all the gold, yes?” The creature grinned, revealing its large, horribly sharp teeth. “You want me to slice-cut; chop and chop Sciarra into rot-corpses?”

“You could just scare them,” suggested Baldassar.

“No, not enough. Never enough. I kill-remove, yess? Then they are gone for good.”

“That would work too.”

“Yess. Best for all. You will be happy-glad, and I will feel satisfied in a job well done.”

“What of payment?” asked Baldassar. “What do you want from me in return?”

“Do not worry-concern yourself,” said the creature. “Naldo knows. You become my good friend, and when I need-require, you return the favour, yess?”

Baldassar frowned. “You want me to assassinate someone?”

The creature gave out a sound, part cackle, part giggle, yet wholly horrible to hear.

“No, no. I can always kill, easy, quick. You help, yess? You find, you open, you lure, you reassure. I am happy-willing to do the rest. No blood-mess for you.”

“Who do you want to kill?” asked Baldassar, immediately regretting his question.

“Later, my friend. So many choices to make. Put it from your mind-thoughts. These are things for me to worry about. Yess?”

Baldassar nodded.

“Now,” continued the creature, “you tell me where and you tell me when, then all your desire-dreams come true.”
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Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
How to Fortify Against Death Itself?
Winter, IC 2403-4
South of the river Tarano, near the Bridge of Pontremola

A Conversation


“How are the works coming on?” asked Chimento Gagliardi, Lord Alessio’s chief clerk.

The siege master Guccio de Ieroldis looked up from the little book he had been studying, in which his predecessor had recorded all sorts of useful advice concerning the construction of a fortified camp. He had been so deep in thought he had not even noticed the clerk’s approach.

“Ahh, Master Chimento,” he said. “Well enough, although more labourers would speed the process.”


“I have it on good authority you already have every available soldier,” said the clerk. “Those not here are busy guarding or scouting, as entirely necessary. Or resting, again a necessity. We must have a substantial force in perpetual readiness in case of an attack.”

The clerk wore a sleeveless fur lined gown, with paned sleeves on his doublet, all dyed in fashionably rich reds and purples. Only his velvet cap was in the quartered blue and white of Portomaggiore – his one concession to his current role. He was several inches shorter than Guccio, a fact exaggerated by the siege-master’s tall hat.

“Could we not have placed our earthworks closer to the river?” inquired Guccio. “For then we might have employed the water as a ready-made moat, improving our defences considerably? And we would have completed much sooner with a natural barrier already in place.”

“It was discussed in the council of war, but Lord Black thought it to be a foolish notion – that it might allow the undead to advance under cover of the water and so draw very close to our works before our bullets and bolts could thin their numbers.”


“I didn’t think of that,” admitted Guccio.

“Few did. Luckily we have Lord Black.”

“Aye, we do,” agreed Guggio. “Did no one in the council point out that should the river continue to flow so strongly, as to be expected in winter, that a good proportion of the undead so immersed would be washed away and thus never reach our walls?”

Master Chimento gave no immediate answer. Indeed, outwardly he seemed entirely unperturbed by the notion. Perhaps, thought Guccio, this is one of the reasons he has risen in Lord Alessio’s service? Finally, he did speak.

“I believe if we ensure they cannot pass over the bridge then they will indeed have to cross the river. Perhaps then, as you say, a good number will be washed away. Whatever force does emerge upon our side, we can then shoot.”

“I heard the city of Ebino is moated,” said Guccio, hoping to move the conversation on from the uncomfortable place he had taken it.

“Yes, it has both a deep moat and substantial walls. Not at all an easy prospect for assault. Lord Black saw it for himself and believes there was something stirring in the moat.”

“And thus Lord Black’s concern?”


“Yes.” There was the faintest trace of irritation in the clerk’s answer. “I was sent to ask what more needs to be done, and how long exactly until completion?”

“As you can see, the towers are finished, which is a good thing considering there’s no more suitable timber left. We are almost done here with the last of the earthworks. There’s a few stretches of earthworks yet to be dug, and quite a bit of palisading yet to be done, as you can see, but the stakes are cut and ready to be placed. I’d say sometime the day after tomorrow. Unless, of course, the general orders a modification or extension.”

“He might,” said the clerk, peremptorily.

“Oh. Is this not satisfactory?”

“There may well be more armies on their way to join us. Attacking the duchess and her foul legions is not something to be undertaken lightly, or when ill-prepared. Too many have come close to victory only to fail because the enemy escaped. We had a much greater force in Norochia Valley, and inflicted a great slaughter upon them, as did our riders to the north, yet still too many of them got away.”

Guccio nodded gravely. “They say that in the arch-lector’s battle not far from here, despite hundreds being cut down by the first charge, they simply got back onto their feet to fight on.”

“‘It is the nature of the foe to do so,” warned the clerk. “This time we must prevent their escape. Not one vampire can be allowed to leave the field. We must overwhelm them; destroy them entirely. Only then will our further advance northwards be bearable.”


Meanwhile, Another Conversation

“You reckon this is almost the last of it then?” said Fede, as he leaned upon his spade.

“I do,” said Berto, still shovelling soil. “We turned a corner yesterday. There’s nowhere else to go. As soon as the palisade’s up along the full length, it has to be done.”


“Good, ‘cos my back’s aching like never before and the blisters on my hands burn something rotten.”

“Better than the alternative,” Berto said.

Fede wiped his furrowed brow. “What?” he asked, bemused. “Better than marching about a bit or sitting by the fire warming our feet?”

Berto laughed. “No, better than going up ladders to face living corpses harbouring deadly intent.”

“Well, true,” admitted Fede. “Except now that we’ve built this and the corpses know we’re not going to attack the city, won’t they come to us anyway?”

Berto rolled his eyes. “Don’t ask me. I don’t know. Chances are, they don’t know either. In which case, nobody knows.”

“Funny,” said Fede. “D’you at least know where Cola and Bandino are, ‘cos by my reckoning it’s their turn to do some shovelling.”


“Cola went off to fetch more stakes, but Bandino’s over there by the wagon”.


Berto stopped work for a moment and pointed behind Fede. “See that boy you laughed at on the way over?”

Fede turned his head. “The skinny lad with the painted helm and the ill-fitting plackart.”

“And no other armour?” added Berto. “Yes, him.”


Fede snorted, as he had done when he first laid eyes on the boy. “I seriously doubt anyone in this world is less well equipped to strike fear into the undead foe than that boy.”

“Not gonna argue,” said Berto, recommencing his shovelling. “Look to the boy’s right.”

“Oh yes, there he is. What’s he doing?

“Call of nature!”

“He’s taking his time over it.”

“Well, it’s like he says, if a job’s worth doing …”


Fede laughed again. “I’d agree with him, if he was over here doing the job he’s meant to be doing.”

Berto paused again, this time with a serious look writ upon his face.

“D’you think they’ll come?” he asked.

“Aye, they will. It’s what they do. They can’t help themselves.”


“Hopefully, after we’ve finished.”


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
With Great Power Comes Great Destruction
Winter, IC 2303-4; Somewhere underground in northern Tilea

The Clan Skryre emissary was a particularly unimpressive specimen, more like a menial lackey than the sort of skaven likely to be granted an audience with a Grey Seer. This was, however, no surprise, as the engineers of Clan Skryre were notorious for being so lost in their machines’ arcane technicalities that they gave no thought at all to their appearance, and cared little more about appropriate manners and etiquette.

Seer-Lord Urlak Ashoscrochor knew, however, that Clan Skryre’s assistance was likely to prove vital to his strategy, and so attempted to give no hint of his annoyance at being spoken to directly by what appeared to be little better than a runt-slave.


“Most high and noble Lord,” the messenger began as he fidgeted with the scroll clutched in his left hand, “I come with a great-important opportunity, offered most generous-kind to you first and fore-most before all other possible-likelihoods. My masters know full well that you will understand the potential-worth of this opportunity. They offer you a weapon more destructive than any before dream-conceived of, and yet now built-made and very real.”

The grey seer’s personal guard regiment, several companies of which were stood at the ready around the chamber, glared with apparent evil intent at the messenger.


Of course, this is nothing less than they would have done to anyone who came before them and their master, but that fact did not make the messenger any less nervous.

“Does it please you to listen-hear, noblest of lords?” the lowly engineer-apprentice asked.

"It pleases me well enough that your masters recognise the opportunity given-granted to them by my imminent victory conquests. So, speak-tell further of your masters’ offer!"


The engineer-apprentice unrolled the thick paper of the scroll and held it up fixedly as if showing something marvellous.


“I see-spy only written scrawl,” said Lord Urlak dismissively, as if put the messenger in his place. “Why show me that?”

“These are promises and guarantees!” said the messenger, a little too enthusiastically, for his voice echoed about the rocky cavern and the regimented guards noticeably flinched as if readying to attack. The messenger winced in response.


“Please, I beg-plead, forgive my loud-noisiness, gracious and noble lord,” he continued. “This is written only so that you might confirm-know I speak truthfully. My masters have put mark-symbols here that you will see-recognise and know my words to be truly theirs.”

The grey seer narrowed his eyes to subtly signal his growing impatience. The engineer-apprentice rushed to continue.

“My most clever masters offer you this novel-new weapon in return for sufficient-suitable recompense. With it, you can kill your enemies.”

“My armies bristle with weapons. I have battalion-batteries of war-engines, all capable of killing my enemies.”


“Forgive again, most noble of lords. This kills better. This can kill all your enemies.”

"All?” said Lord Urlack. “It seems your masters have been working most busily. They have already grant-given many terrible war-engines, of which none have yet been unleashed upon my foe-enemies. When and if those machines fulfil their deadly promise then I shall already owe much to your masters …”

Here the Skaven lord fell silent for a moment, and glanced around the vast cavern chamber, as if considering who exactly was listening.


“Of course, all will be carefully weigh-measured to ensure a give-and-take most fair and satisfactory. The spoils of war will be plentiful-bounteous. We shall feast-gorge on the fat of Tilea. It pleases me that your masters appreciate my conquest is a worthy investment. So worthy that here-now they offer me more!”

“As your ally-friends, your patron-providers, they wish you to be victorious,” said the messenger.

The Grey Seer fixed his eyes upon the engineer-apprentice, as if weighing him more carefully.

“Anyone with wit sufficient knows the cunning skill of Clan Skryre,” he said. “And I do not doubt-suspect your masters’ promise-claims. And yet, I must ask-inquire, what do they mean by a weapon never seen before? A weapon you said can kill all my foe-enemies?”

“Great lord, if used well and properly, the weapon will destroy Tilea one city at a time.”


“Entire cities? There are many and more stone walls standing between me and my great-glorious victory. And now that the most hated Dwarf-things are busy-stirring, as ever meddle-interfering, I have their mountains to contend with also. I can surely make good use of death-destruction, but will this weapon defeat the man-things’ stone walls and the dwarf-things’ mountain fastnesses?"

“Noblest of lords, this weapon does not need to smash-break walls or rocks, for it kills everything-all, leaving no-thing alive to hold-defend.”

“Lethal-venom? Deadly-poison?” inquired Lord Urlack, with a hint of barely contained glee in his voice.


“This is quicker, great lord, much quicker. With one, single, exquisite blow, the weapon can blast-burn every living creature-thing within a hundred chebels.”

Lord Urlack pondered this for a moment, and the great cavern grew quiet. “An entire city,” he mused aloud, as he mentally pictured the dimensions of a typical Tilean city. Then his eyes widened. “Or an entire army!”

“As you wish-please, most noble lord,” said the messenger.

“Come, now,” commanded the Grey Seer as he stepped down from his rocky dias. “You and I must speak further concerning what exactly it is your masters desire in exchange for this marvel.”


Grave Guard
Nov 10, 2007
Oh yes. I am currently working on the kit-bashed model right now, as well as painting more models for more stories!
Nov 10, 2007
(I keep forgetting to write this sort of thing: This piece was co-written with Ant, the player playing General Valckenburgh in my campaign. I am going to have to edit some previous posts to mention other players!)

Good Captain
Remas, Palazzo Montini (Official Residence of the Arch-lector of Morr), Winter 2403-4

General Jan Valckenburgh had entered the audience chamber accompanied by only one companion, Captain Wallenstein of his cuirassiers. Several of the arch-lector’s palace guards were stationed about the room’s periphery - at least two of them accompanied him at all times - but the only other person present was his holiness Bernado Ugolini himself. The absence of clerks, priests or advisers was intended to give the impression that the meeting was a private affair.

His holiness was seated upon a heavy and large chair, beside a long table. After greeting the two Marienburgers, he invited Valckenburgh to sit upon the only other chair. He made a fuss over ascertaining whether another chair ought to be brought for the captain, but Wallenstein said he preferred to stand.

It was late afternoon and sunlight poured almost horizontally through the windows to fashion a sedate shadow play from the halberdier guards, an effect engendered by the room’s stark and sparse decoration. Unlike most palazzos with their fantastical frescos and fine friezes, here the walls were plain, white-painted plaster. There were several hanging carpets of intricate designs placed at regular intervals, each woven with the exact same, geometric pattern. As such, they only added to the ambience of calm, meditative reflection.


All of this was deliberate. Upon election, the arch-lector had ordered the Palazzo Montini's garish walls and ceilings painted over, and the removal of nearly every statue, golden candelabra, painting and rug. He wanted his palace both to reflect and magnify the thoughtful serenity he yearned to achieve. And he had much thinking to do!

“I am very pleased that at last we meet, good general,” began the arch-lector. “I know full well what you have achieved in the south, your army single-handedly defeating Khurnag’s several forces and so preventing their further cruel incursions. I also know the prejudice of so many Tileans, and the unwarranted suspicions they harbour concerning your presence. Yet here you are now, in answer to both mine and Lord Alessio’s calls, with no obvious reward beyond knowing you will serve with the living against our greatest enemy. And yes, I am aware that even upon your journey northwards you were subject to slanderous slurs and entirely false accusations of plunder and murder. Yet even then you were willing to put aside your righteous anger, forsaking the opportunity to attain entirely justifiable revenge, and continue your march.”


“Indeed, your holiness,” said the general. “Some duties lie above all others, above our personal wants and desires. You, as a man of cloth, know this well. My duties here in Tilea rise above the slanders of petty burghers, and so we move past them.”

Referring to Duke Guidobaldo Gondi, princely ruler of one of the most important city states in Tilea, as a ‘petty burgher’, was an extraordinary slur which the arch-lector must surely have noticed. Yet he gave no hint of displeasure. Perhaps he understood the extreme bitterness the general rightly felt as a consequence of Guidobaldo’s actions, and so recognised the relatively impressive level of self-control required to limit the inevitable anger to such words alone?

“Although it may seem inappropriate for me to do so,” said Bernado, “for I am not the party who wronged you, nevertheless I wish to offer Tilea’s apology, being that of my own beloved flock, the followers of the three gods and the vast majority of the citizens and subjects of the realm. Duke Guidobaldo is but one man, howsoever many flaws he possesses, and I would not have you think badly of the entire realm because of his unforgiveable actions.”

The general nodded, graciously. “Thus I have discovered, your holiness. Many who dwell in this bountiful land have proved themselves most worthy and I sincerely hope to aid the nobles and the mother church restore peace and prosperity.”


“Your help is much appreciated, good general,” said the arch-lector. “I fully accept that there must be consequences for Duke Guidobaldo’s actions. Yet I see now that you can look beyond his crimes to the greater danger; that you recognise the need to deal with other, much more terrible threats than Guidobaldo’s dishonourable conduct. His actions will not be forgotten, nor forgiven - I do assure you. You have my word, General Valckenburgh, that when this war is won, I will consult with you concerning what procedures should be initiated and what recompense ought to be demanded of the duke.”

The general nodded, but it was the captain behind him who spoke.

“The army's officers will be glad to hear that promise, your holiness. Knowing that past wrongs are to be righted will help them to concentrate upon that which must concern them now.”


“I should expect this promise will help all your soldiers in the battles to come,” offered the arch-lector. “I would not want them suspicious of their Tilean allies, especially when the lives of both hang in the balance.”

General Valckenburgh smiled. “You can put that worry from your mind, your holiness. We have many a Tilean in our army, from the lowliest sapper to the Lady Luccia la Fanciulla, the bearer of our Myrmidian standard, so we know Tileans can be honourable and brave. As for Duke Guidobaldo, I am satisfied with your suggestions. He can be suitably censured by the church when the great troubles are resolved, and until then it is a waste of all our efforts to pursue the matter. I would, however, hope your churchmen will use their influence to remind the more insular of their Pavonan flock that we are all allies against the terrible enemy.”

The arch-lector gave a wry smile. “I will instruct exactly that, but I would not get your hopes up concerning the sermonising of my Pavonan priests. They have certain schismatic tendencies, encouraged by the duke himself.”


“So, we’re not the only ones to be troubled by the duke’s games?” asked the captain.

“No, captain,” said the arch-lector. “Few who have had any dealings with Guidobaldo come away entirely unscathed. Yet … I know this can be no consolation to you, nor do I suggest it should, but I would at least have you know that his son, Lord Silvano, is cut from a very different cloth than that of his father. I believe him to be honourable to a fault. Indeed, such is his proper obedience, his lack of selfishness and guile, that I doubt he can even see his own father’s faults. Lord Silvano has faced many enemies, remaining steadfastly true to his word, and even when defeated and pursued from the field, he yet returns willingly to fight again. Even his own men hid their treachery from him when the ogres were attacked at Viadaza – presumably they knew he would order them to desist if he learned their intentions. I have supped and marched with him, witnessed his bravery in battle, and I believe I know him well. Let not the sins of the father be visited upon the son.”

The general sighed. “Lord Silvano has without doubt demonstrated his bravery,” he said, “and his loyalty to his family is without question. Yet, your holiness, I advise caution, for he could be more dangerous than his father. Cunning and bravery combined make for a great prince - one all others should be most wary of.”


“Cunning?” asked the arch-lector.

“What we see is what Lord Silvano wants us to see. How better to avoid all censure for a mutiny than to appear not only ignorant of it but also to have very convenient proof of one’s own absence while it occurred? And think how well it serves his father that he can gain grateful friends for the princely heir of Pavona even while his father continues heinous crimes?”

“You think his very character is mere pretence?” asked the arch-lector, a note of incredulity evident in his tone.

“I cannot know for certain, your holiness. But it has proven very convenient for his father. I spoke at length to Lord Silvano and found him far too eloquent to be considered a naive youth, and too keen to present his father’s numerous misdeeds in a good light to be entirely honest. His excuses and justifications were neatly crafted, like a lawyer’s speech before a judge. He appeared to be more of a skilful, even duplicitous diplomat than, as you suggest, a guileless youth.”

The arch-lector nodded slowly. “I shall keep your words in mind, good general, upon future occasions,” he said. Changing tack, he asked, “What do you know of the tyrant Boulderguts’ whereabouts?”


“Little that is certain, which troubles me. I have learned what is commonly said to be the case but have no way of knowing if it is true. It was this consideration that led me to follow my elected route of march, being farther east than I might otherwise have traveled, in the hope that I could intercept the ogres if they attempted to skirt Lord Alessio’s army. And although my army’s scouts are adequate to the task of supporting a marching column, I lack the numbers required to scour the entire eastern reaches of Tilea.”

The arch-lector nodded. “For brutes they have proved to be a surprisingly nimble foe, and slippery to boot. However, my advisers are unanimously of the opinion that Boulderguts has departed Tilea, making his way across the mountain passes to the Border Princes, whence he came. Reports from the vicinity of the Via Nano confirm this. Still, this does not mean he no longer presents a threat. We must not be careless, for he could return to seek plunder where he found so much before – a prospect that can only grow more likely as time passes and his haul of loot diminishes. At present, however, we must contend with new robbers. No doubt you have heard how the Sartosans have brutally raped Luccini? It is almost certain they have their eyes set upon more prizes, especially as every city state is either sapped of strength by the ongoing wars or unprotected because their armies have marched north. I heard that their commander, Volker, is a Marienburger? Is this true?”

“Of course, I’ve heard of Volker,” answered the general. “And it does seem likely he hails from Marienburg. The VMC is a merchant company. As such, we make a point of learning what we can of all pirates, especially if they might prove detrimental to our enterprises. But I have never dealt personally with this particular one. As is so often the case, he was probably a mere sea artist or mate, rather than a captain or merchant, who mutinously turned to piracy. Not the sort of fellow I would know.”

“By your leave, general?” asked the captain.

“Speak your mind,” said Valckenburgh.

The captain turned to the arch-lector. “I do no doubt, your holiness, the Sartosans could be more than a mere thorn in our side, and that while Boulderguts lives he too remains a threat, but surely the vampire duchess presents the most immediate and greatest danger? No-one would happily turn their back on the Sartosans, but do we have a choice?”

“I do not believe we do,” said the arch-lector. “The pirates should be scattered for years to come by just one powerful blow, and in time that will be done I am sure. Much more than that is needed to rid Tilea of the undead. Despite defeating them several times, their evil only grows. For them, all our victories have proved to be nothing more than minor setbacks. They never want for soldiers and they know no fear, for they are blasphemy made flesh by foul conjurations.”

There was a moment’s silence as the arch-lector became lost in thought, a frown fixed upon his face, his eyes glazing as if he no longer saw the others in the room.

“Your holiness,” said the general. “My army can help to contain them, in the field or in their fastnesses, but only the church or colleges have the power to provide any lasting answer. Weight of numbers is sufficient merely to check their further advances, and that only for a time. We have need of holy intervention or arcane magics if we are truly to destroy them. Either that or the aid of great heroes of legend.”


“The latter I am afraid we lack, despite a crowd of great villains. Even an army of cultists, painfully dedicated in body and soul to Morr, failed against them. I not only pray for guidance daily, but have consulted the wisest maestros and wizards Remas has to offer. Only yesterday I met with Angelo da Leoni, who spoke concerning the manifestation and magnification of purifying flames to burn the vampires’ armies, their leaders amongst them, unto their very core, obliterating even the wicked spirits possessing their bodily frames, yet finally admitting his want of the necessary ingredients for such, and great doubt concerning whether such could ever be successfully and safely brought to bear.”

“An answer is needed, your holiness. Otherwise all our sacrifices might prove to be in vain. And this is not all we must contend with. Lord Alessio has sent word to me twice of Skaven sightings - armies, he said, although apparently small.”

The arch-lector nodded gravely. “It is true,” he said. “I have received the same intelligence from Captain Soldatovya, commanding the Remans who march with the Portomaggiorans. He himself saw one of the tunnel mouths and his own scouts saw one of the armies. Small, as you say. Perhaps nothing more than a raiding party? Or the ragged remnant of some faction fleeing a far-off civil war?”

“You have reason to think so?” asked the general.

“No, good general, I only have hope that it is so. If they are the vanguard for something bigger then their arrival could be the last straw for Tilea.”

“They are vile threat,” spat Valckenburgh, his particular hate for them being obvious. “Much worse than orcs, perhaps more so than the ogres and undead. They’re an insidious and infectious foe who must be purged in all instances.”

Perhaps the arch-lector was reminded of a certain predecessor’s infamous pact with the ratto uomo? If so, he hid it well, simply saying, “I have tasked several scholars with looking into how we beat them in ages past.”

The captain almost laughed.

“I wonder,” he asked, “Back then, were the Tileans fighting ogres, vampires and Sartosans as well as the ratmen?”
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Jan 1, 2017
Great update.
I was hoping to hear news of the gen. Valckenburgh, and here they are.
Great help from your player, indeed… and as always, impressive work with the photos. So simple, yet so much work behind them.
Nov 10, 2007
Thank you, Unas. I hope you like this one too. This is one of those where I feel like I might have written something properly unique!
Keep Going!
Somewhere in the mountains of north Tilea, Winter 2403-4

Fricknar had never in all his cruelty-filled life undertaken a journey as difficult as this. They were in such a hurry that they were not allowed to stop for more than a few moments at a time. So far, six nights and five days of almost perpetual motion, a relentless succession of step, step, step; eating, even excreting, on the move. Every now and again he would have to run ahead to shovel something quickly - filling a hole or flattening a lump. Invariably, just as he completed the labour, the trundling engine caught up he was required to move on again.


In his bones he knew that should he continue at this pace another day then it would also become the most painful time of his life, not just the hardest journey. He had been badly beaten three times as a pup, and on the last occasion, as he lay battered and dazed, another pup from his own litter had eaten one of his fingers! He had been wracked with a burning pain in his lungs for countless days when he took a mouthful of warpstone vapour after an manufactory accident. He had been imprisoned in a near airless cage for more than a week as punishment for an infraction he never understood, starved of food and nauseously dizzied by the swinging motion of the cage every time someone pushed it (which many did and often). Right now, his pain and anguish were building up to rival all those past experiences, and by tomorrow, would surely overtake them.

His last task had been to assess the quality of a warpstone batch being offered by a small clan who had acquired it by (the usual) nefarious means. It had been flawed, but still useful, and a price was offered. Before he learned whether the purchase was successful, however, he been ordered to return with all haste to the workshops. Immediately upon doing so, he was assigned this new task - no time for explanations, no rest nor repast, but straight to work.

By the end of the first day he realised he knew none of the engine’s other attendants. Since then there had been little chance to get to know them, what with the incessant motion. Escorting the engine was an all-encompassing task, leaving little time anything else. The tunnels they had travelled through, despite being large, had been irregularly proportioned, in both width and height, and the ground uneven, scattered with tumbled rocks from crumbling walls. Here and there, roots had penetrated the ceiling, and stalagmites and stalactites had been allowed to form along the dampest stretches. Sometimes there was a way around such obstacles, but often they had to be cleared – lifted, hacked or chipped away – and his shovel was a necessary part of nearly all these tasks.


Their orders were clear, and in no uncertain terms: the engine must not collide or scrape against anything, nor should it jolt more than a little, and it should certainly never be allowed to list or careen. Most importantly, it must never stop.

It was possibly the most demanding assignment ever given to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

For a little while he had occupied his mind with attempting to work out whether the attendant who invariably walked in front of the engine, clutching a staff tipped with what appeared to be a fine shard of warpstone …


… or the engine’s driver were responsible for setting the pace, whilst also taking on board the possibility the engine itself might be most to blame. Before he had come to a decision, however, distraction and exhaustion had shattered such trivial considerations.


Now, here in a mountain valley between two tunnel-stretches, on the widest path yet traversed, with no walls or ceiling to concern him, only the ground itself, Fricknar was able to loosen and lift his mask just a little to allow in a breath or two of fresh air, and at long last, he had the chance to talk.


He had questions to ask.

Turning to the attendant closest to him, a red-hooded fellow carrying a tubular locking tool which could loosen any of several bolts on the engine and in the other hand what appeared to be a small gear wheel (presumably ready to replace some potentially defective part) he said,

“I heard we have gift-given much and more to the lord of Foul Peak. Why give this also? Why more and more?”


“Not gifts, no,” said his companion in a whining voice muffled by his mask. “All and everything will be paid for.”

“That matters not,” said Fricknar.

“It matters a lot,” countered the other.

“Yes, yes, to our masters, to the clan. I know-understand,” said Fricknar. “I mean it matters not to what I ask-enquire. Why give him more? Why this most novel, expensive engine? I heard his army has yet to fight one-single battle. His warriors have neither proved themselves capable nor wanting. Yet we fetch-bring such a reinforcement. Why?”

“You do not know-understand what this can do. You did not slave-work on its construction.”

“No, not I,” Fricknar admitted. “I know the quality-worth of warpstone, and I can keep an engine on the move.” He waved his shovel as if to prove the point.

“You have never moved such a one as this.”

Despite having studied the engine on several occasions over the last days, for want of much else to look at during the few moments he had not needed to watch the road, Fricknar looked again.


“I see only a doomwheel, like many others, with a murdering piece fix-attached,” he said.

“Yes, yes, you see that,” scoffed the other. “But what murder this can do. This kills many and much more than anything we have yet made. This might perhaps kill more than any single weapon has ever-ever killed!”

Fricknar looked at the engine again.


“It throws a bomb, yes?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” said the other. “A bomb. One bomb.”

“A poisoned-wind grenado?”

“It throws poison-death, yes, but not wind-vapours. The bomb inside is a thick shell of perfect-pure warpstone, two half-pieces fastened tight-together, and inside that inside is the finest ground-powdered warpstone, the making of which killed many hundred slaves, admixed with black powder in exact and most potent proportion-measure; precise and finely fused to explode the merest moment before touching the ground, which it must-must do, to release flesh-burning death to wash for a hundred and more chebels in each and every direction.”


“Yes, at first, but then much farther, a pure and poisonous etheric heat, burn-scalding all and only living flesh to a blistered crisp.”

Fricknar fell silent for a while. He had to think this through, for what he had heard did not sit well with his past experiences. Not well at all.

“Precise and finely fused, you spoke-said?” he asked.

“Yes, yes,” said the other. “Most and definitely very necessary.”

“And if, despite your careful care, it explodes too too soon?”

“Think, fool!” said the other, with a snarling hiss Fricknar could sense despite the mask and hood hiding his companion’s face.

He did not need to think. “Too too soon,” said Fricknar, “and we die too.”

“Yes!” said the other, loudly. “If even only a little too soon, then it will not be where we need-want it to be. It must be at the heart of the city. A moment too late and too much heat will pierce the ground - wasteful, for you cannot kill what is already dead.”

“This kills a city?”

“A city. An army,” said the other, a note of arrogant, easy pride in his voice. “Perhaps more?”

Fricknar’s fearful apprehension was now transforming into admiration. Then something occurred to him.

“Where are the bombs?” he asked.

“Are you deaf? Do you not listen-hear?” mocked the other. “You mean where is the bomb?”

Fricknar did not understand. Was that not what he had asked? There was just the engine, no carriage, wagon or slaves to bear a limber of any kind. He had absently assumed that the ammunition must already be at their destination, but hearing his companion’s description suggested such a cargo would be too rare and precious to be merely stockpiled elsewhere.

The bomb,” said the other, emphasising the singularity, “is inside. It broil-brews, always and now, growing more and more potent by the hour. To haul-carry it separately would mean by the time we tried to load it into the engine all who came near-close would die immediate-quickly.”

This made no sense to Fricknar. “But we are nearby, and for days?”

“Yes, yes. The iron barrel enclosing it is thick-strong and inscribed inside with most potent-effectual sigillic wards, perfectly carved.”


Fricknar could imagine the carver squirming inside the barrel to carve such sigils - a suffocating, claustrophobic trial undoubtably far worse than his time in the cage.

“Could not a container-chest be made with such thickness or more?” he asked. “Such sigils? And better sealed tight-secure?”

“Yes, yes it could. No doubt. More easily made. More safely carried. But think, to load the murdering piece we would have to remove the bomb from the chest after it had broil-brewed for the whole journey. Impossibly intolerable.”

“Could slaves not be ordered to do so? Or some monstrous creation of Clan Moulder?”

“No, no, never. They would die the very instant the chest was breached.”

Fricknar glanced back at the engine.

“And dead slaves and ogres cannot load anything,” he said almost to himself. Then, louder, he asked, “So the sigil-wards prevent all harm leak-spilling out?”

“Not all, no,” said the other, as if it were obvious.

Of course, Fricknar should have known this. He pulled his loosened mask tight again, immediately regretting every breath of ‘fresh’ air he had taken. No skaven workshop ever made anything completely safe. The ever-present fear of punishment meant there was always haste as corners were cut, mistakes were inevitably concealed, and tests were deemed a pointless exercise when something was already completed. If it is built, use it! Worse still, most engines were made before the principles were even fully understood, so that the very design had flaws before even the first component part was assembled. None of those who invented or fashioned such engines cared a jot for the fate of those who would be ordered to use them; besides, once one engine was taken, they were immediately busy with the next, then the next.

“It is impossible to prevent it all, for it is far too potent, and grows ever more so,” the other continued. “Why do you think the engine never stops? It cannot be allowed to. If it did then too, too much of its etheric heat would concentrate-congeal in one single place. Then there would be none left to move it.”

Fricknar was confused again. “We have our masks, our waxed robes, our cylinder-filters, yes. But look here, these clanrats, they have guard-escorted us so, so far, even through the long tunnels. Why are they not dead or dying?”

There were two bands of guards, one marching before the engine, which included a weapons team armed with a rattling gun …


… and another lot behind.


“You did not witness-see the changing?” asked the other.

“What changing?”

“Yes, the changing. You must have been labour-working, up ahead clearing away the tangle-mass or the shattered shards of dripping rocks. These are not the guards we began the journey with.”

Fricknar knew he was exhausted and distracted, but he had not realised just how much he had failed to notice. Yet, he thought, his point still stood.

“Then I ask, these-here new guards, why are they not dead?”

“Hush! They will be soon enough. If there are no more changings, some perhaps will die before we arrive at Foul Peak. They have only lasted this long because we have not stopped.”

“No, wait,” demanded Fricknar, having spotted a flaw in the other’s arguments. “I know there is little truth-sense in your words. Those two, there, with the rattler, they have been here with us from the start. They have no robes or masks.”


“But they always scuttle-run ahead, as ordered, never behind, never in the engine’s wake-trail. This buys them time. Remember how they were on the first day? Yes? Look close now and you will see how they flag, how they stumble-stall. Look closer and you will see how their skin peels and their fur falls in lumps. Look into their eyes and you will see that death already tugs at their tails.”

Fricknar was getting frustrated by the frantic insanity of his companion’s words. Whatever answers they contained, there were always more questions. Even now, something bugged him.

“You say before we arrive at Foul Peak?” he asked. “How can we arrive if we cannot stop? How can our journey end? Are we to use this weapon against Foul Peak?”

“No, not there. Against the lord of Foul Peak’s enemies. Do you never listen-hear?”

“I will hear your answer,” said Fricknar, his anger momentarily mastering his fear. “How can we arrive at Foul Peak?”

“We shall arrive soon enough, but this does not mean we shall stop-stay, only pass through, there to be joined by more and others, to learn where we must go next, and so continue, on and on.”

This was impossible, thought Fricknar. He had a day left in him, perhaps another if his fear could dominate his pain to keep him on his feet.

“How can we continue?” he complained. “It is impossible! Our legs will be worn to nothing-nubs if we try.”

“All is prepared and arranged by our masters and the lord of Foul Peak,” said the other. “New attendants await the engine at the mountain. We will be allowed to rest-lie upon litters, to be carried on at some remove.”

“And then?”

“Then we will be command-ordered back to the engine. If we are fortunate-lucky we will be attending when it fires.”

“Lucky?” spat Fricknar. “How is there any good fortune in taking such a risk?”

“To watch it work. To see-witness a whole city killed or an entire army obliterated!”

Jan 1, 2017
This brings war on a whole new level. It's really amazing your interpretation of a nuclear weapon, and the wonderful effects of "radiation" as seen by skaven. Kudos to you… and yes, you have the right to feel prideful for it. xD

BTW, i see all the pics.
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks again, Unas. The second story in this report should interest undead players!
A Letter from Antonio Mugello to the most noble Barone Iacopo Brunetti, Regent of Verezzo

As I wrote unto my beloved Lord Lucca (may he sit beside Morr in the garden of eternal summer) to impart what little I had learned of events throughout Tilea, so humbly I send this missive to you. My love for Lord Lucca and my loyalty to Verezzo are now offered to you, noble lord, for you have been a faithful servant of the first and have become the guardian of the latter.

I have been lodged in Remas throughout the winter, a place most conducive to the garnering of knowledge concerning the whole of Tilea. Sometimes I witness the events themselves. A month ago, I myself witnessed the arrival of the army of the VMC, led by General Valckenburgh, who had given up the siege of Pavona. I know not what you have heard concerning the VMC but presume that Duke Guidobaldo’s accusation that they were behind Lord Lucca’s murder and the looting of Spomanti must be painfully well known to you. From what I have learned, my lord, it seems to be generally accepted, at least here in Remas, that Duke Guidobaldo lied, and was himself responsible for the unforgiveable deed. My Lord Lucca warned me on several separate occasions concerning Duke Guidobaldo’s duplicitousness, and it gives me nothing but great sadness to know that his words are - post mortem - further proof of his great wisdom. Furthermore, in the last missive I received from my Lord Lucca he informed me that he had met with General Valckenburgh and found him to be a most honourable officer, who had marched north out of an earnest desire to assist in the defeat of the terrible foe. Lord Lucca was rarely, if ever, mistaken in his judgement of another, and I can see no reason to suppose he was mistaken regarding the general.

This, of course, explains recent events, most obviously General Valckenburgh’s siege of Pavona. He must have been furious to be slandered in such a way – angry enough to lure him from his march north to face the vampires threatening every living soul in Tilea. I have heard some in Remas voice their confusion as to why Valckenburgh did not complete what he had begun at Pavona, for Guidobaldo’s actions and subsequent lies were no less than a declaration of war, but (if you will allow me to offer mine own humble opinion) the answer seems clear to me. While we, who have suffered the loss of our dear lord at the Pavonan duke’s hands can feel only an enduring, righteous anger, General Valckenburgh personally suffered slander alone, and as his fury had time to subside (as ours can never do) he must have decided that the pursuit of satisfaction regarding what in another time would be a serious matter, seemed relatively petty in light of the great threat offered by the vampire duchess.

And so it is that Valckenburgh’s army is now camped here in the realm of Remas, apparently intending to rest a while. Perhaps they are waiting for Spring before recommencing their march? Or their halt might well be part of some grand strategy jointly agreed by the arch-lector of Morr, Lord Alessio Falconi and General Valckenburgh? I cannot know. It does strike me, and others too, as odd that Valckenburgh has now allowed himself to be delayed yet again, having only just overcome the anger that previously delayed him. Some say he is too easily distracted, but I believe, considering that which I am yet to relate to you, that he has more material concerns to factor in to his strategies, such as the reports of ratto-uomo forces and tunnel mouths north of the Trantine Hills, as well as the razing of Luccini and kidnapping of King Ferronso by the pirates of Sartosa.

By your leave, noble Barone, I will attempt to address these concerns, and more, in turn.

It is now commonly known in Remas that the ratto uomo are once again stirring in Tilea, what with Lord Alessio’s army discovering several entrances to huge tunnels north of the Trantine Hills, and even sighting verminous forces marching above ground. I cannot know what was said in the official missives, nor even if much more detail was contained therein, but enough Reman soldiers marching with Lord Alessio have sent word to their families and friends for the news to have spread. Perhaps unsurprisingly, knowing the cowardly nature of the ratto uomo (unless amassed in great strength) those forces fled back into the tunnels to avoid giving battle. Yet, the fact that they are openly active has begun to cause considerable consternation in a city with a somewhat chequered history of dealing with the verminkind. It has long been presumed in Tilea that ratto uomo always lurk in the shadows, whispering manipulative lies, stealing valuables, sewing discord and disease. Some say that all those who dwell within a city’s walls are never more than two dozen yards from a rat-man! But it has been many a decade since verminkind have marched in strength within sight of men rather than concealed underground or in barren places while embroiled in their interminable civil wars.

Continued after the following story


Such a Shame-Waste!
Somewhere in Tilea, End of Winter, IC 2403-4


In the night’s quietest hour, in the city’s loneliest corner, several assassins, sharp of tooth and claw, were inspecting their work.

“A job very well done, master, yes?” said one, still clutching the heavy blade he had pommelled one of their victims with before strangling the man.


“They are dead,” said the master. “Which was our aim-desire, so yes, if it pleases you, heap congratulations where and how you like. But this here is nothing but a beginning-start. Here lie the foundations of that which we shall make-forge. No, not that … the first cracks in that which we will destroy. Yes, that’s better.”

The first looked at the sword now prominently lodged in the other corpse, his eyes then flicking to scrutinise the ragged edge of his own blade.

“Master,” he said, “forgive, but that blade is good and sharp - such a shame-waste to leave it here.”


“The sword stays. We must-need ensure the menthings think-believe their own kind did this.”

“Yes, not us, never us,” hissed the first. He prodded his own victim with his taloned foot. “Yet master, a mere-nothing thought, but this one here has a knife. Would that not suit-satisfy?”

The master seemed to have a mind to be generous.

“It might just do,” he agreed. “But no, I like the sword. It draws the eye. A knife is but a small thing and gives but small ideas - the tool of petty-squabbling thieves, too easily dismissed as bloody vengeance between the basest of men-things. This sword tells another story, for it is the kind the men-thing guards carry. Let their captains think-believe their own guards bear the blame for this naughtiness.”

“So very clever master, yes. Yet could not a soldier dispatch-kill such as these and be proud, boasting of his most satisfactory work?”

“A soldier might boast, had any one of them done this,” said the master.


“But none of them did, and so none will make such a claim. Then the captains will think-believe their command-control is weak, and that they know not what their own soldiers do.”

“Yes, Master,” said the first, finally giving up on his petty quest to obtain the sword.

“Now,” ordered the master, “look and look again. Make certain-sure there is no sign of our presence here.”

The first looked at the corpses and then around them.

“There was only your throwing star where now instead the sword is stuck-pierced,” he said. “This man-thing I squeeze-strangled, and he but scrape-scratched at me, pathetic-weak.”

“Look again, make certain-sure,” commanded the master. “Nothing dropped. No fur under his nails. No paw print marking the ground.”

The first hunched down and looked closer. He was getting nervous, as could be seen from the raised fur on the back of his neck.

“Master, forgive, but do we not linger-stay here too long?” he asked. “If the men-things come they will see us ourselves, not just that we leave-drop behind, and they will know all.”

“Hush-quiet,” snapped the master. “I am no half-wit fool. I chose this spot. I chose this time. No-one will come. Four nights this place was quiet-empty. Besides, look, look,” he gestured at the guards stationed all around them, “we have eyes to see and ears to hear all around.”


“If anyone approaches,” the master continued, “we shall know in plenty-enough time to make our escape. Now, make haste, and be sure there no sign-clue of our presence.”


Antonio Mugello’s letter continued

On more than one occasion I have heard it voiced that this resurgence of the ratto uomo could spell the end of all civilisation in Tilea, for if this is a new offensive, then it has begun just as the whole peninsula lies exhausted and weakened by the ongoing war against the vampires, having only recently emerged from several conflicts – the War of the Princes, the scattering of Khurnag’s Waagh and a veritable battering at the hands of Boulderguts’ brutes. There simply might not be sufficient strength remaining in Tilea to resist the ratto uomo hordes. Fearful rumours are rife concerning what diseases they might already be spreading, who they are about to assassinate, and which foolish rulers they have lured into a false alliance? In Remas, the memory of arch-lector Ordini’s ignominious deal remains a scab upon the city’s reputation. Is it any surprise the Remans are openly asking which madman has called upon the verminkind’s aid, perhaps hoping to attain the upper hand in some petty squabble, to gain vengeance or to retrieve some lost power? Since time immemorial there have always been fools who believe they can benefit from such a foul alliance.

I myself have heard a myriad of theories and list the following not merely to repeat malicious gossip nor to revel in rumour, but to give the mind of the people, as it may contain more than one kernel of truth. I will address some of the most likely first, in that they concern wicked powers who would feel no compunction at allying with the likes of the ratto oumo.

Have the Sartosans made an agreement of some sort? Would such sea dogs baulk at the idea of sharing the spoils with sewer rats, if not to do so could mean no spoils at all? The very fact that both appeared at one and the same time seems in itself to link them. Just as the Sartosans ravaged Luccini, the ratto uomo appeared skulking at new tunnel mouths, so that those in between could not know which way to look! If divided, we may well be more easily conquered or robbed.

Has the vampire duchess, now hard-pressed by the gathering armies of Tilea, offered the ratto uomo some portion of the peninsula in return for luring away the armies currently threatening her? I do not pretend to know the mind of a vampire, and despite the noble trappings and haughty demeanour many adopt, I cannot dismiss the possibility that they might stoop so low as to bargain with verminkind. There seems to be no wickedness that vampires are not capable of, and thus only their evil pride might dissuade them. Much is known of Duchess Maria in life, but all we can know now is that in undeath she is surely not at all the same. Anyone who surrounds themselves with a putrid court of rotting corpses cannot be so particular as to refuse to meet with flea-ridden vermin.

Several noblemen (of which there are not that many in Remas since the uprisings) have suggested that the VMC, ruled by greed alone, has signed a secret contract in which they carve up Tilea between themselves and the verminkind - the VMC to rule the south while the ratto-uomo ruin the north. I heard one signore say this would explain why the army of the VMC has marched north so leisurely, allowing itself to be easily distracted. It may well be to their advantage that Lord Alessio’s Portomaggioran and Reman army bears the brunt of the fight against the vampire duchess, for then both Portomaggiore and the Remas can be all the more easily subdued afterwards. Furthermore, claimed the nobleman, the real reason General Valckenburgh lifted the siege or Pavona was because he saw such a ruined realm as a waste of effort, and wanted to keep his army strong to defeat the weakened Portomaggioran and Reman armies, then to seize much richer realms instead. I can say that I saw real fear in the eyes of those who listened to this signore’s words, for all must have suddenly suspected the army of the VMC’s prolonged encampment at Remas was nothing more than an opportunity to rest and reconnoitre before seizing the city for themselves. Those fearful people had not Lord Lucca’s wise counsel to guide them, but of course, had I spoken my mind, then as a Verezzan rebutting a Reman gentleman, they would not have heard me.

I even heard one fellow, Pavonan by his accent, say that the dwarfen king in the mountains has made a pact with the verminkind, to bring about an end to their meddling in the dwarfs’ mines. I voiced my doubt, telling the man that the dwarfs of Karak Borgo have always craved trade, and the sort of destruction the ratto uomo cause would not be at all conducive to such. He just laughed, saying that would be presuming the king of the dwarfs is in command of his wits, whilst his companion spat and declared no dwarf could be trusted.

Mention of these Pavonans brings me to a matter I must address, but I would first have you know that I have attempted to consider this dispassionately, as would an entirely uninterested observer, despite the fact that it concerns the murderer of our beloved master.

I have no doubt that the following intelligence is known to you, what with your closer proximity to Pavona, but it is clear that Duke Guidobaldo’s realm has suffered dreadfully during the winter, both due to its precarious state after being ravaged by the ogres and then as a consequence of the army of the VMC’s siege. Duke Guidobaldo’s own army is said to be fragmenting – indeed only yesterday I saw with mine own eyes some of Reman bravi who marched away with the Pavonans (to become notorious for the raid on Spomanti), back here upon the streets of Remas. Such mercenary bravi could hardly be expected to honour their contract with Pavona when there is nothing but misery and hunger for them there. The Pavonan people are now sadly starving, for the duke took food from them to feed his soldiers. Furthermore, he has defaulted on so many loans over the last years that not one banking family is prepared to do business with him, and traders demand payments of gold in advance. What will come of all of this, I know not. Possibly his own subjects will revolt, turning against him, or perhaps he will resort again to acts of piracy and murder? Maybe his realm will simply diminish and fade into obscurity?

Or, and this is what plagues my nightmares, perhaps he thinks to regain his power and wealth by means of a verminous pact? Could it be that Duke Guidobaldo of Pavona - desperate as he is, humiliated, his pride in shatters, his realm suffering, known to be capable of such lies and treachery as would put the ratto uomo to shame - could it be that it was he who summoned the verminkind?

Of course, as yet it is unknown whether the ratto uomo will indeed amass in any strength; nor whether they intend a minor interference or a major incursion; nor whether they have in mind the destruction of the whole of Tilea of just some part thereof.

What is known for certain, however, is that the Vampire Duchess has yet to be defeated. Twice before she has sent armies south of Ebino, and it has taken battle after battle to prevent her further advance. Her aggressiveness is proven – if she is not destroyed then she will almost certainly send forth her armies again and again until she has the whole peninsula beneath her foul feet.

All the reports coming from the Reman soldiers under Lord Alessio’s command agree that Duchess Maria once again resides in Ebino. The walled and moated city teems with her undead servants. Every tower parapet is guarded by unblinking eyes. Every tomb, grave and burial pit in Ebino and Miragliano lies empty, the occupants now busied in the duchess’s service.

Continued after the following story, which is in the next post!
Nov 10, 2007
Near the city of Ebino, at the end of Winter, IC 2403-4

This day, this very moment, felt like a culmination of Biagino’s life and undeath, as if everything that had happened to him, good and bad, joyful and sad and everything he had ever done, decent and dire, kind and cruel, led to this moment. Not the culmination, for it was not the end of his undeath, but it was a destination he had, until now, howsoever unwittingly, always been heading towards.

Once more he was directly serving his beloved mistress, and he knew her satisfaction. He strove ecstatically to do whatsoever she wished, and better still, he knew exactly what that was. When leading the army at Trantio he had only the memory of her commands to guide him, which meant agonising over the details, night to night, by himself, to fathom how they could be obeyed in ever-changing circumstances. Now her orders were fresh in his mind, and she remained close enough that he could feel her powerful will and her sharp love in every moment. Her omnipresent guidance meant his decisions came easily, his actions were swift, his delight was magnified. He was like a cherished son receiving praise from his doting mother; a beloved hound petted fondly by its mistress; a favourite blade admired in the moonlight by its wielder.


He rode atop the carroccio that once belonged the arch-lector Calictus II, captured in the same battle in which Biagino was kissed by the duchess and became hers forevermore. In life, Calictus had been his master; he himself was but one of the arch-lector’s many servants; and this great wagon had been the nearest thing to a church of Morr on the field of battle. Now Calictus was dead and he himself had become a High Priest; much of Calictus’ army was his to command, raised from death to march again; and the carroccio was heaped with corpses and made into a formidable focus of necromantic magics in the service of his own Church of Nagash.


As the wagon trundled on, pulled by four pairs of entirely osseous horses, he allowed the magical winds of dark enchantment to flow through him. He could feed on the power the unholy carroccio funnelled, delight as his mistress’s managing will honed and shaped that power, and revel as it poured from him to animate the vast throng of witless worshippers (the Disciplinati di Nagash) all around him.


His senses were not just sharpened far beyond those of mortal men but magnified almost exponentially so that each of the cavorting corpses became an extension of him, limbs with which to strike at the enemy. Even the horses were directed by the power of his own mind. No lash or crop was required, for his mere intention could turn, speed or slow the beasts as easily as a man might walk.


Behind him stood two of his priests, members of La Fraternita di Morti Irrequieti. Their minds were bound to his as his was to Duchess Maria’s, providing a very satisfactory feeling of balance. He could slavishly love and obey the duchess whilst receiving just the same from his priests. His own subjection, which otherwise might seem almost pathetic and demeaning, was given freely, for he himself was the object of exactly equal worship. They were not his puppets, like his hundreds of Disciplinati, for they had minds just as he. They obeyed because they yearned to do so, not because he controlled their very movements. This is why he had created them – having only the Disciplinati to guard him would make him vulnerable. If he were to be distracted, even for a moment, then his Disciplinati would be also. These two priests, however, could react quickly and upon their own initiative. If Biagino were wounded, even dying, these priests would retain all the strength of body and will they ever had, while the Disciplinati would stumble and stagger in bewilderment, or even succumb to death.


Nevertheless, despite his gleeful joy at all these things combined, right this very moment the satisfaction which far surpassed all others, was the gloriously intense pleasure he felt at wielding the Disciplinati horde. Although only a tiny part of each of their minds remained, they were all his to rule, and the sheer size of the throng made him feel mightier than ever before.


Some had been gifted to him by his mistress, resurrected after the Battle of the Isean Hills, close by the city of Ebino. Once dedicants of the Disciplinati di Morr, they had marched north to die. Although rotting, the winter cold had combined with necromantic magics to keep them quite whole, so that a good number, from a distance, might be mistaken for living men. Close up, however, their pallid-grey flesh, staring eyes and perhaps most of all, their stench, revealed the truth.


It amused Biagino to remember just how ugly such flagellating cultists had been when alive –he had seen a fair few – and to see now that death had made them even uglier, which one might well have presumed was not possible!


Most were still clad in the layers of robes they had worn in life, clutching whatever they had been carrying as the died. Many of their faces were obscured by hoods.


The others had been with him much longer, for they had died several seasons earlier at the Battle for Ebino – indeed upon the same day Biagino had fallen. In life they had been part of Arch-Lector Calictus’s Holy Army of Morr. In undeath, they had marched south with him to Trantio, then fled the Valley of Norochia to escort him all the way back to Ebino. It was becoming hard to mistake these for living men, so much of their flesh having rotted away. In parts they were reduced almost to the bone, and their robes were torn, worn and rotted away to a much greater degree, to reveal their now jagged chines.


Some amongst the horde displayed the wounds that were most likely responsible for their deaths - great incisions, shattered bones or crumpled skulls. Others had gaping tears in their flesh made by the teeth and nails of their undead comrades during momentary lapses of guidance from their new master.


They felt pain – excruciating pain – but of a kind that no longer arose from the physical wounding of their bodies. It was an agony came from every part of them at one and the same time, both physical and spiritual. They were driven by a furious, hungry hatred, the last emotion left in the fragment of mind they now possessed. They seemed to leer, scowl and glower as they ran, although in truth what remained of their decaying faces could appear no other way.


There was a cruel irony to their condition, for in life they had strived to scourge themselves with chains and knotted cords into an ecstatic pain and so induce a fighting frenzy that meant they felt no fear. Now, their every moment was a painful frenzy and they had forgotten fear entirely. Their craving had been satisfied, to the extreme, even beyond the extremity of their lives.

Biagino loved them all. To him, they were like tin soldiers are to a boy fanatically keen on his games of war; a precious collection to set out this way and that, to admire from one angle and another, while the excitement of the forthcoming battle grows ever stronger.

They were his playthings, his poppets, his bambinos. They were the weapon with which he could slaughter Tilea.



Antonio Mugello’s letter continued

Duchess Maria’s forces, combined with Ebino’s impressive defences, must be sufficiently strong to cause even a general of Lord Alessio’s proven ability, commanding a truly mighty army, to hesitate. He has built a fortified camp south of the Bridge of Pontremola, said to incorporate the bridge into its boundary. Now, apparently, he waits for the army of the VMC. Does he know, I wonder, that they are instead lingering here in Remas?

Having spoken to several seamen of various origins, I have learned that the Sartosans, having already razed Luccini and its villages, defeating its small army in battle and taking the young king Ferronso hostage, then attempted to travel south along the coast. Upon their first attempt they had been driven back by the storms, which is when they took the young king, but then upon their second attempt the storm’s sister, with its easterly winds, apparently drove their fleet towards the island of Sartosa. Considering they attempted the same southerly course twice it seems plain to me that they were intending to raid the rich realm of Alcente. I cannot know for certain but were it not for the storms they would at least have passed that realm. Considering their success at Luccini, where they had only to fight a small army, perhaps they believe Alcente will prove just as easy a target what with its main strength, the army of the VMC, camped many leagues away here in Remas. As I suggested before, perhaps this is the real reason the army of the VMC has halted? General Valckenburgh might be torn between marching north as promised or returning south to protect his realm.

It is reported that Duke Ercole, once regent of Luccini and uncle to the captured king, and the condottiere General Marsilio da Fermo (Luccini’s military commander who once served with you, I believe, in the grand alliance army) have arrived together in Portomaggiore, seeking refuge after their defeat at the hands of the Sartosans. There they are apparently pressing for Lord Alessio’s assistance in the matter of their kidnapped king. They know Lord Alessio well, and perhaps believe him to be fond of the young king, for after all he did attend Ferronso’s crowning. Of course, with no army of their own, with Lord Alessio’s army busy in the north and the rest of his forces no doubt ordered to guard Portomaggiore against Sartosan raids, they are asking for a loan in gold to pay the ransom. Oddly, it seems to be the case that they do not know the actual amount of the ransom demand as their previous negotiations were disrupted by the battle. I suppose the Sartosans will let them know soon enough, for pirates are hardly known for their patience, nor can I imagine such ruffians enjoy having to keep the young king alive.

The mountain dwarfs of Karak Borgo, having driven the last of Boulderguts’ ogres from Campogrotta and Ravola, establishing the Bretonnian nobleman Baron Garoy in the latter and General Mazallini and his Compagnia del Sole in the former, have apparently withdrawn back up the Carraia del Ferro to their mountain fastness. It is a widely held opinion among Reman merchants who have had dealings with the dwarfs, that having defeated the ogres and re-seeded civilisation in the neighbouring realms, King Jaldeog expects trade to flourish and goods to flow once more, however the ongoing vampire threat and the appearance of ratto uomo forces in the north make this unlikely, at least for now. Perhaps King Jaldeog wanted to give both realms sufficient time to re-establish themselves, so that when the wars finally end, both will be ripe for rich trading opportunities? As finishing off the ogres appears to have been the dwarfs’ only intended contribution to the wars, King Jaldeog may now expect the Tilean realms to defeat the vampires. Perhaps the resurgence of the ratto uomo, the dwarf’s particularly hated enemy, might prompt him, even force him, to contribute more to the struggle ahead?

Last of all, I can report that here it is said that you have raised the militia of Verezzo, bolstered their numbers substantially and are currently busied with drilling and exercises, all the better the defend Verezzo from the likes of the duke of Pavona. Of course, you know the truth concerning this, and so my words are intended only to make you aware of what is believed in Remas concerning Verezzan affairs. If there is anything I can do in your service, as your agent in Remas, then you only have to say and it shall become my foremost endeavour to obey.

Your most humble servant
Antonio Mugello
Jan 1, 2017
wow… great reading!

Antonio Mugello's letter is a blast. Suspicions upon suspicions, hearsays… so much distrust, so much unsecurity and doubts for the incoming times. That was probably the real way of living and plannng politics and warfare in renaissance. Mostly impressive work.

Biagino. He's easily amongst my fav. bad guys character, so I'm always happy when he's involved in first person. The attention to details and the description of the feelings of power of a high rank undead, the loyal servitude to his mistress, the endless pain that fuels the undead servants… all it's greatly depicted. Once again, excellent work of writing and photos.
The Carroccio is a great model. Is it the proxy of a real unit, or has it some peculiar rule?
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks Unas. Re: The corpse wagon (ex-carrocciio) I haven't done the working out, but I was going to make it a corpse cart but 'better' (in terms of the range of its effect, etc) I'll put the modified rules here for suggestions when I do work it out! Or, maybe you have ideas re: how to make it into a more powerful version of the corpse cart? (8th ed. rules)
Jan 1, 2017
maybe you have ideas re: how to make it into a more powerful version of the corpse cart? (8th ed. rules)
On the Cart you have Biagino and 2 priests. You could add the effect of the Black Coach "Evocation of Death" to the Cart, the Carroccio absorbs the energy summoned by the trio and increases its power.
Maybe, instead of channel the magical energies of every power dice, the Cart could be fueled only by the dices rolled by the trio (let's say 2 for Biagino and 1 for each priest? i suppose Biagino is at least a 2nd level), possibly triggering the effects on a 5+
Nov 10, 2007
That would work, except for the fact that the rules for the two vampire attendants represent a house-ruled type called 'vampire thralls', more like vampiric guards, or even 'lay brothers' (rather than full priests, thus the word 'Fraternita' for Brotherhood). They have no spells or magic dice. (I am now worried that I called them 'priests' somewhere in the story???)

Here are the stats I made and have used for them in battle (although it was the shortest game in history!).
La Fraternita di Morti Irrequieti (‘Brotherhood of the Restless Dead’): Vampire Thralls 75 pts (each)

M...WS...BS....S....T.....W......I.....A....Ld....AS....WSv 75 pts

Hero. Hand Weapon; Fear; Immune to Psychology; Unbreakable; Undead; Unstable; The Hunger.
Vampiric (modified): Because their wills are so strongly dominated by Biagino, he counts as their ‘general’, and although they can march when more than 12" from Biagino, they do suffer the 'Slain General' rules regarding LD tests and wounds if Biagino dies.

Notes: These are a ‘Lesser’ form of vampires, with lower stats cf. heroes, and they have no spell casting ability.

They can leave the cart, and in all likelihood will be leading the two cultist zombie hordes and not actually be on the cart on the battlefield!

Now that I have actually done some real thinking regarding the Corpse Wagon, and actually looked at some rules, I am now proposing to combine the rules for the 'carroccio' (a form of war wagon which counts as the army Battle Standard, as proposed in an old forum based Tilean Condottiere army list) with the corpse cart rules. Literally, just as the story has made a corpse cart out of a carroccio, I will bash the two sets of rules together. Admittedly, it did have some house ruled Morr-gifted abilities when it was used before, but once it was tainted by the undead, all that has gone!

So, I am thinking it should become a corpse cart with better wounds (maybe 5 as it was big even for a war wagon -which had 4 wounds - and it does now have 8 horses and a pile of corpses as the restless dead!), armour save of 3+ (exactly like a carroccio/war wagon) and an 18" Battle Standard radius effect (this is also a carroccio rule), combined with the cart's regeneration, 2D6 random attacks, and Unholy Lodestone. Also, like the war wagon/carroccio it may not march or charge (but it does have M6) and it is a large target.
Jan 1, 2017
That would work, except for the fact that the rules for the two vampire attendants represent a house-ruled type called 'vampire thralls', more like vampiric guards, or even 'lay brothers' (rather than full priests, thus the word 'Fraternita' for Brotherhood). They have no spells or magic dice. (I am now worried that I called them 'priests' somewhere in the story???)
Ah, I see… indeed, that route is not feasible. DOn't worry, "priests" is good

So, I am thinking it should become a corpse cart with better wounds (maybe 5 as it was big even for a war wagon -which had 4 wounds - and it does now have 8 horses and a pile of corpses as the restless dead!), armour save of 3+ (exactly like a carroccio/war wagon) and an 18" Battle Standard radius effect (this is also a carroccio rule), combined with the cart's regeneration, 2D6 random attacks, and Unholy Lodestone. Also, like the war wagon/carroccio it may not march or charge (but it does have M6) and it is a large target.
Yeah, makes sense! I approve it.
Nov 10, 2007
Thanks Unas! I have now, after working out how to explain my thinking to you, e-mailed the proposed rules to my players for their approval!

I did call them priests. Several times. I knew I was doing so, I just didn't mean the sort of 'priest' who wields magic. I think I will edit the story for clarity.
Jan 1, 2017
Thanks Unas! I have now, after working out how to explain my thinking to you, e-mailed the proposed rules to my players for their approval!

I did call them priests. Several times. I knew I was doing so, I just didn't mean the sort of 'priest' who wields magic. I think I will edit the story for clarity.
I don't think there is the need to change it. But if you are going to do it... don't know, maybe clerics? Gives the same idea without giving the sense of magic user (unless you're talking with a d&d player, in that case it would be the opposite). Acolytes?
Nov 10, 2007
The Defence of Ravola

Prequel: Mathilde
The City of Ravola, Early Spring 2304

Perette had yet to see the newly constructed engine, what with myriad responsibilities distracting her (however self-imposed). Now she had been asked to come quickly - the gunners apparently wanted her blessing, for themselves and their ward.

When Osmont delivered the request, Perette had laughed, saying, “Surely the gunners would prefer a wielder of magical fire to keep a distance from their black powder? If they are averse to anyone so much as smoking a pipe nearby, or just carrying a candle too close, how much more should they be afraid of someone who can conjure sheets of fire from her fingertips?”

Osmont pondered a moment, then asked, “I have been wanting to ask. How do you do that?”

Perette smiled. “I shape my anger in an arcane manner and then let the etheric wind flow through me.”

“Oh,” said Osmont. “Well, that explains it, my lady! As for the engine, the gunners seem to consider it your sibling, for it was born in battle and is more like you than anyone or anything else in Ravola.”

“Why do they not think of me as its mother?”

Osmont laughed. “If Gruddic Greyfury was the gun’s father, of which there is no doubt, and you were its mother, then that means …”

Perette feigned disgust, then, as if she were warming to the idea, she said, “Well, he is very distinguished looking, for a dwarf!”

As the two of them left the chamber, Perette asked, “Why did they not ask me until now?”

“They want your blessing her before she is used in anger.”

The ratmen were indeed approaching but would not arrive until the morrow. By the time the Bretonnians had learned of their presence across the river in Codropio, they had already secured the bridge, thus ensuring it could not be held against them. This gave them time to muster their force, emerging from the ground like streams from springs to gather in strength like a river. Albeit a filthy river!

“Oh,” continued Osmont. “And they want you to name her too.”

“I thought they’d already named it,” said Perette. “Bloody Barrels, wasn’t it?”

The engine was made of several many barrels fixed together, which the previous owners had occasionally used as clubs, as evinced by the dried blood upon them.

“They want her to have a real name, and a lucky one. Who better to choose than her famous sister?”

It was possible the engine would play a vital part in the city’s defence, so Perette did not want the gunners feeling dispirited, or unlucky. The ratmen would swarm like their smaller cousins - the defenders of Ravola needed weapons that could pour destruction upon them.

Upon arriving, the first thing the engine’s attendants asked was what she thought of it.

“It’s an ugly child,” she said, looking it up and down. “But war is rarely pretty. It might seem obvious, but tell me anyway - what can she do?”

“We can fire the barrels three at a time,” said the fellow standing closest to it. “And if that doesn’t prove as thoroughly discouragin’ as we want, we can fire the other three straight after.”


The dwarf Greyfury and his gunners had cobbled the engine together hastily, which explained its complete lack of decoration. The engineer commanded the brigade of dwarfs sent from Camprogotta to assist Baron Garoy’s knights and Perette’s Brabanzon in the taking of Ravola, which had proved to be a not at all troublesome task. The brutes remaining to garrison the city had not fancied their chances and so, after agreeing terms - which included leaving their leadbelchers behind - they surrendered and marched away. Greyfury had inspected the discarded barrels, discovering that some were of dwarf or Tilean make and still in good condition. He declared it would be a shame to waste them, and so, before marching back to Campogotta, he tarried just long enough to build a double wheeled carriage from what he could find in the city, upon which he mounted the barrels craftily and, it was to be hoped, securely. He claimed that although the brutes had gone, his engine would work just as effectively as they themselves in battle, blasting the foe with an exactly similar amount of hot lead, if not being quite as mobile.

Perette could see the part about mobility was an under exaggeration. The engine looked as easy to move as a boulder on a sled! She had no doubt it would happily descend a slope, but that getting it up the steps to the battlements was going to take some doing.


“Is there still sufficient time to mount it?” she asked, suddenly concerned.

“Yes, my lady,” said the engine’s attendant. “We have everything prepared. Greyfury showed us how to dismantle and replace the barrels – even had us practice. That way there’s only the carriage to haul with ropes and pulleys.”

“I’m impressed,” said Perette as she walked over to the engine to inspect it more closely. She had seen such barrels used in anger - indeed she had tasted the fear they could induce. The ogres at Campogrotta had had many of them. Indeed, the first assault (Note *1) had faltered because of them. She herself had witnessed a veritable regiment of their gaping, black muzzles.


No-one, thankfully, chose to approach any closer. Had the mighty bombard Granite Breaker not grown too hot from her work, then no doubt she could have toppled walls and towers onto the leadbelchers, and the assault would have continued. But without the venerable bombard’s aid the attackers had chosen to withdraw. They would just have to try again another day, having let the night’s air cool Granite Breaker. This they did, four days later, although not without further costly losses, and regrettably giving a relief force of ogres time to arrive (Note *2).

“I take it, then,” said Osmont, in a cheerful tone, “all of you will be putting your money on this engine and not the trebuchet?”

Perette had heard there was to be a competition between the two, concerning which would cause the foe the most harm. The trebuchet had been found intact upon the main tower of the southern wall, having been used three years earlier by Lord Giacomo’s defenders when the ogres had first captured the city (Note *3). It had fallen into some disrepair, having only been used since by the ogres to launch prisoners from the city in a form of entertaining punishment for whatever crimes the brutes sought fit to accuse them of. No dwarf was needed, however, either to guide or assist in its repair, as several of the Brabanzon had plenty of experience of such machines, and they had got it back to full working order two days before Greyfury’s engine was completed.


“The trebuchet will no doubt flatten a good few from afar,” said the attendant, “if it’s aim proves true enough. But this thing will do its work closer up, when the trebuchet cannot work at all. And this thing can’t miss, as long as we point it at them! My money’s on this.”

“I cannot decide,” said Osmont. “Besides, surely our lady Perette ought to be included in the competition?” He turned to look at her, “If so, then my money is on you, my lady.”

“Is that how you see me?” laughed Perette. “Nothing more than an engine of war?”

“And truly glorious with it!” said Osmont.

“Hush now,” ordered Perette. “We ought not talk in such a manner before the child. I would not want to upset her.”

She walked around the engine, caressed one of the barrels and giving a wink to the attendant. “I think she should be named Mathilde, for she will be our strength in battle.”

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Nov 10, 2007
Pre-story Wargame Notes

The Forces

Here is the NPC force defending Ravola. Any walls without these soldiers are to be manned by peasants, servants and the city’s meagre inhabitants, which are not shown here.

The NPC characters and forces in the campaign feature prominently in the stories, perhaps because as GM I can publish what I like about them? The players, however, are often (understandably) cagey about what is revealed concerning their plans, resources and difficulties in such stories! This is a competitive campaign, after all, in that the players want their character's to do well.


Perette, the ‘fallen damsel' will command the force as a whole, with Baron Garoy commanding his little company of knights. The reasons for this will probably come out in the battle report story.


As well as the knights, there is a second mounted company of 'Brabanzon' light horsemen, who can act both as archers and spearmen. The player was given the option of dismounted one or both of these companies and putting them on the walls, but he chose not to. “Stick some peasants on any empty walls” is what he ordered. He was intending to use these either to attack any skaven who breached the defences (one way or another) or, if the opportunity arose and it seemed beneficial, perhaps to sally out?

Perette is shown here, and the Brabanzon foot. She is a level 2 wizard now, so will have two fire spells. It is rare I make such unrolled for decisions or alterations for NPCs, but I will do so when events strongly suggest it. In a cause and effect sort of way. She did very well with her magic during the two assaults of Campogrotta, and had gained a new authority since then, as well as much respect. So I upped her to level 2 rather in the manner of roleplaying game experience points!


The two companies of Brabanzon foot are archers. We are not using the old Warhammer Bretonnian list for the Brabanzon mercenaries, but instead, as appropriate for mercenaries operating more like Tileans than the norms of their own land, we used our non-official campaign Tilean army list. It is an old internet campaign list which was not made by me but, with various tweaks to suit my own version of Tilea (such as priests of Morr as well as Myrmidia), has proved very useful for representing many an army in this campaign, both player and NPC. These are longbowmen and ‘brigands’ with short bows.

The artillery

The two engines featuring in the prequel story are seen here - an old Citadel Miniatures’ trebuchet and crew and a kit-bashed monstrosity I cobbled together years ago in lieu of a Helblaster. The latter just so happened to look like exactly what would result if a dwarfen engineer fixed six leadbelcher barrels together. That, and the fact that the ogres had indeed only been allowed to march away if they laid down their arms, as well as that the dwarfs sent to assist Garoy and the Brabanzon had been commanded by an engineer (they though, after all, they would be besieging the city) meant I just had to use it. I crafted rules for it almost identical to ogre leadbelcher rules, but with the chance to misfire and a suitable table to roll on.

The light gun is a Perry Miniatures model, I think. I used the campaign list’s horse artillery stats and rules but ditched the dashing around behind a horse aspect!

The Skaven force is a player-army, although they are my figures. The actual campaign player would command this force, while another player volunteered to command the defending NPC force. More action for everyone!

This is only a fragment of the player’s full force. For a start, only part of their realm’s full strength was near Ravola, and even then, the machines were left behind in the tunnels. I warned the player (well, not me, his NPC advisers) that to get his several war engines out would take several days, and thus give the defenders more time to prepare. Perhaps they would send for relief? Dig traps? Prepare some ruse? This suitably ruffled the player, and he decided to leave the machines and take the city quickly with his warriors alone!


The commander is a Grey Seer called Lord Urlak. (His second name is a mess of letters meant to be confusing. The trick worked, even I can’t recall it! ‘Ushocrochoshor’ or some such monstrosity!)


He has his bodyguard with him, in the form of his army banner bearer, the 40 strong yellow regiment of clanrats and three rat ogres.


Warlord Gurthrak commands Clan Skravell, one of the clans under Lord Urlak’s rule. Gurthrak himself rides a Bonebreaker


There are three other rat ogres in his clan’s little army. The clan's main unit is the 'red regiment' (they have a red banner), being 50 clanrats strong, plus a ratling gun.


The clan also boasts two companies of 5 jezzails and some rat swarms, as well as two engineers to tend their war machines. One was back with the machines at the tunnels, supervising their extraction, but the other was here with his warpmusket.


The last element in Lord Urlak’s force is a large regiment of 40 Plague Monks - Clan Pestilens is one of the investors in his joint-stock war! They don’t have their plagueclaw catapult with them (see the comments above regarding exiting the tunnels). These are a mixture of plastic GW figures, and metal Black Tree Designs' Pestilential Priests.


The Field of Battle

This was easy to set up as I had pictures from the last wargame played at Ravola, when Razger Boulderguts' ogres had seized the city three game-world years earlier (in the real world, back in 2014!) I just perused the pics, found the same scenery and slapped it down.


The Rules

Our campaign has rules for fighting an assault such as this, based on the old Warhammer rules, some going back as far as sixth edition or earlier. These have been modified throughout the campaign as we incorporate new ideas that come up during play, and deal with problems and the like. Basically, it is a 7 turn game (sometimes 8 when the GM thinks it appropriate, and a die roll allows) in which the victor must try to control the greatest number of the defences' ‘sections’ by the end of the game. Each tower and stretch of the wall is a section (see the picture above), and there are two further sections inside – left and right. To control a section you need an unengaged and non-fleeing unit (or character) in a section, and no non-fleeing enemy models. By the way, the two inner towers (E and F) on the picture above were not official sections, although they were in the internal sections. In this game there were 11 sections to play for, which included the side wall not labelled above. (That wall could only be reached from inside the city, due to the steep stone footings beneath its outside!)

We have our own rules for assaults by ladders (not easy at all) or siege towers, although once on the defences, the fighting between sections is basically the standard fighting in buildings rules from the 8th ed' rulebook.

Oh, and due to the pandemic we used ‘Play by e-mail’ for this game, thus, for example, all the pictures above are just some of the many, many pics I sent to the players before and during the game, often with notes, arrows and measurements edited on to them. I hope to do a separate ‘Game Notes’ essay all about our play by e-mail odyssey.
Last edited:
Nov 10, 2007
BTW, still my pc never shows me all the pictures here, instead there are many failed link images. This is not the case on other forums?!?