An Old Campaign #5


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Post Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:41 am

An Old Campaign #5

This campaign thread does not have the strong ending of the last one, and just peters out as sometimes they do (mainly because the official campaign ends before I can work out a way to bring my story to a satisfactory conclusion). But it still has some good posts, nice pictures and plenty of battles. Oh, and Skaven - lots of them. The very odd thing about it was that I was playing a Skaven Warlord but I was NOT in the Skaven faction. I did this in order to create a tension in the story straight away, a twist that needed explanation right from the off, and because some of my friends were in this faction and it was fun to be on their side.

I'll aim for one a day as before but this time it'll be harder 'cos the forum is locked so I can't just lift and spell check, I have to sort out all the picture links and formatting too. I also think there's more posts to find, as the thread have located does not seem to be all of it. And some of the posts in this thread are not in the right order (due to keeping things secret until it didn't matter any more). So, there's work to do to sort and position each post.

Here it begins ...

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Warlord Scabscar

How long would they keep him waiting this time? Warlord Scabscar’s previous visits had involved successively shorter waiting periods, and although any such delay rankled at his sense of pride, the diminishing length of the delays encouraged him to believe that he was slowly but surely gaining greater respect. Here at least was some species of progress.

He already had a good idea what the intermediaries would (eventually) order him to do. Their long list of questions concerning any links he had with Clan Skarr, as well as their demands to know in detail the full nature of the forces he commanded, had made their desires obvious: he would surely be ordered to take the field against Clan Skarr.

The chamber in which he had been told to wait was not one he had visited before, and although very minimally illuminated by three tallow fat candles his eyes could pierce the shadows to discern details a man-thing could never see. This thought brought a smile to his lips, revealing his razor-sharp, ragged teeth as he recalled the many times he had watched man-things stumbling around in the dark while he himself revelled in the delicious feeling of power and control as he held back his attack. Remembering the pleasure made his smile widen further - not all delays engendered frustration.

He was of course without his guards, having been ordered to leave them outside the antechamber in case any assassins lurked amongst them. Scabscar had chosen his bodyguards with great care, picking only those he knew would be wholly loyal to him. The very fact that his guards had no connection with any other leader was one of the reasons he chose them. They were personal weapons for him to wield, extensions of his will alone, more so perhaps than even the Bonebreaker mount he rode into battle. He recognised, however, that others could not know them that well. And even if the intermediaries he was about to speak to recognised the guards’ loyalty, then maybe then they were more worried about what he himself might order them to do?

The subterranean chamber was cluttered with a rusting tangle of apparatus and mysterious, arcane components. It had once been occupied by an engineer of renown who had fashioned devices of such destructive power that they could shatter entire enemy regiments. Like so many of his particular bent the engineer was destroyed by the malfunctioning of one such machine – it activated whilst being moved from this particular warren and sent such a bout of noxious flames surging through tunnels that everyone else within was killed along with the engineer, as well as all those with two dozen yards of the entrance. The tunnels had then been abandoned for decades, for the heat endured within them and scolded all who attempted to enter, gifting stubborn blisters that never stopped itching and which festered until the victim was utterly incapacitated by the symptoms (if they survived at all). Then again, as an incapacitated skaven is always quickly killed by his erstwhile comrades, it would be more truthful and succinct to say that all who contracted the blisters perished as a consequence. Two years ago, however, the tunnels were deemed finally safe and were once again occupied, and now they housed the grey furred representatives of the Council acting as intermediaries between the Skaven leaders and Scabscar.

The warlord now began passing the time by scutinising some of the strange paraphernalia piled into heaps around the edges of the chamber. Nearly every rusted lump had mouldy leather-bound tubes hanging from it, and what was not rusted iron or rotted skins, was mildewed wood or tarnished copper and brass. Here he found a lever, there a gear wheel, but nowhere anything he considered of any worth. He knew, however, that his engineers might think differently and decided that he would tell them of this particular chamber so that they could make whatever use they could of the junk within. His own unenthusiastic search was brought to a sudden halt by two simultaneous events – first the cut he received from some still-sharp shard hidden in the clutter and second the opening of the door by a servant sent to beckon him. Hiding his scowl and clutching at his finger to prevent the blood from pouring out, Scabscar strode from the room behind the scuttling servant.

Before he had crossed the threshold the intermediaries could smell his blood.

A little earlier that morning:
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The Intermediaries

Three skaven were awaiting Scabscar’s arrival. Two were ostentatiously garbed representatives of the council and the third was their servant Grimelumpe, a subordinate aide whose duty was to record all that was said in meetings such as this (and bear witness too). The latter was twitching nervously, his tail performing little flicks, his eyes never quite settling on any one spot. Scabscar had noticed how the aide effected a similar manner during previous meetings, and had come to the conclusion that the onerous responsibility of vouching for powerful masters to even more powerful masters must be a burden the transcriber found overwhelming.

The grey seers sat in high backed chairs which had taken Scabscar’s menials an entire afternoon to find. Both wore colourful and contrasting garb: Pustulgar the Erudited had green, quilted shoulder-plates over his dry-blood-red cassock, while Adolbod the Gormful sported a garish design of yellow and red interlocking triangles on his similarly large shoulder adornments. Scabscar could only assume this was what currently passed for ‘fashion’ amongst the strange and other-worldly seer fraternity, and had once contemplated whether as time went by they would choose to make themselves look even more ridiculous. Both had laid their bronze-coiled staffs upon the table, unwieldy as they were, as well as resting their leather bound tomes directly before them. They had not, however, thought fit to remove their long, pointed hoods. Pustulgar’s had been brushing against a hanging lantern of ironwood and horn, disturbing it so that wax dribbled through the ill-fitting base and was slowly forming a lumpy, clotted path down the cloth towards the seer’s unsuspecting forehead.

Scabscar had a rather different and much more practical appearance, being every bit the warrior lord. His whole body was covered in plates of armour, with only his clawed fingers and toes protruding unprotected. Beneath this layer was even more metallic protection in the form of a long mail coat, and beneath that the scarred and toughened hide of a skaven who had lived (as anyone in his position had) in ‘interesting’ times. His back-plate bore an odd pair of hooped protrusions, for in battle he marked himself out by attaching a personal standard to his back, in the form of a spiked iron hoop containing the tri-barred sigil often incorporated into skaven heraldry. Two long pennants would hang from this hoop to flutter behind him. Not that the standard was strictly necessary, for he usually rode upon his Bonebreaker mount and so could be picked out easily enough by his warriors. Yet even without standard or mount he still looked imposing enough. Well, he would do to most skaven and nearly all creatures smaller than an ogre in stature. Not to the seers, however, for they had the confidence of those who had delved deep into and even manipulated the other-worldly stuff of magic, witnessing the supernatural horrors lurking there waiting to snatch away the careless or weak. Not that such insight had made them frightening to others, rather it had inured them against the fear of the mundane. Oh, and it had left them a little unhinged and somewhat eccentric in their ways.

It was Seer Pustulgar who opened proceedings, and as ever immediately embarked upon a speech more akin to a scholarly lecture than an interrogation, compulsively littered with asides and over-stretched explanations.

“Let us, yes, consider the matter of how a fighting warlord such as yourself – in point of fact exactly like yourself, so much so that you may as well assume I speak specifically of you even though I shall address the matter in general terms - how a warlord such as yourself might make his way in the world. How he might elevate himself, yes, to rise in both honourable degree and worldly power. I have no doubt that this is a topic close to your heart, Lord Scabscar, or if not housed in proximity to that particularly sanguine vital organ then lodged instead within your stomach there to catalyse broiling gurgulations, or perhaps it has thought fit to creep inside your cranial extremity where it is best placed to gnaw at your mind and sprinkle unanswerable and fevered questions to disturb your night? And if none of those, then I am wholly convinced it has settled itself so deep as to become rooted in some alternative analogically anatomical nook or cranny elsewhere within your frame.”

Scabscar frowned. He had learned several days ago that following Pustulgar’s speeches took every bit of wit he could muster, and that was not always enough. Thankfully Adolbod now offered a comment.

“Hmmm,” came rumbling from the second seer’s throat, loud enough to halt his colleague in his wayward tracks. “I agree. A topic very appropriate for this our penultimate meeting.”

It now dawned on Scabscar that so far the two seers had effectively done little more than announce they were going to speak of his future. This annoyed him. He had to stop himself giving vent to his frustration, he did not want them to see even the smallest raising of his hackles or curling of his lip. If the seers had been anyone of his own advisers and servants they would have been cut short several moments ago – in fact depending on his mood actual cutting may well have been involved. But here the tables were turned and it was he who was required to be subservient. Then a thought blossomed in his mind which momentarily calmed him, almost medicinal in the relief it briefly promised: he had given the seers every opportunity and if progress were not made soon he could and would drive them from his realm (or worse) and care not a single whisker for the political consequences. At least he would never have to listen to their long-winded and self-important pronouncements again.

Then, as if the thick air in the chamber had slowed the sound’s progress from the seer’s mouth to warlord’s ear, Scabscar suddenly realised exactly what Adolbod had just said.

“Penultimate?” he asked. “You mean there is to be but one more meeting?”

“Yes, indeed,” said Pustulgar. “Adolbod and I are in the fullest of agreements, yes, positively sated with acquiescence. We shall today make our offer and have your answer. Then, should you prove willing and your answer satisfactory …”

“Of which we have little doubt,” interjected Adolbod.

“… then we will meet but once more, yes, to discuss the finest and sharpest of details, to polish and hone our expectations until as acute as a scalpel’s edge.”

Scabscar suddenly recalled a thought from the last meeting - how the seers might well be deliberately riling him with their verbosity so as to gauge his response, to assess both his patience and willingness to obey. Their method and manner very likely formed part of whatever test they were putting him to.

“It seems clear to me,” continued Pustulgar, “that there are two tunnels which an ambitious clan warlord must choose between. To enter one is to begin clawing and tearing your way through, cutting down not only foes but rivals, not only vengeful enemies but also jealous servants and backstabbing allies. This tunnel is a deathly place, where mountainous heaps of the fallen are piled up by blade work and the fires of battle. There is no denying that this first tunnel has served some few well, yes, very well. But, and this is well known to every skaven with even a modicum of wit, most who choose this route do not reach the tunnel’s exit, rather they simply deposit their own corpse somewhere along the way. So many others enter the same tunnel that they are merely one amongst many, with foes before and behind, and none of any worth truly willing to come to their aid. Only through luck can they survive, and not the simple roll of a knuckle bone, but rather the sort of good fortune that would astound even the gods.”

The seer paused and the silence caught Scabscar by surprise. Compulsively, perhaps simply to prove he was paying attention (when the truth was that his thoughts had strayed once more), the warlord found himself commenting: “Not the best of tunnels then?”

The seer’s eyes flashed as a grin broadened his lips to reveal as many flint teeth as enamel. “Ah, yes, you understand the perils. You would not be here if you had chosen that tunnel, yes? You wish to go the other way?”

“The other way?”

Adolbod gave vent to a wheezy snigger, his hood wobbling as a consequence. “Do keep up, Lord Scabscar. Two tunnels, remember?”

Scabscar frowned, suddenly unable to hold back all his frustration. Meeting after meeting concerning what he would do if this, that or the other happened, question after question about his personal past and the strength of his clan, all the while waiting impatiently to hear whether they would approve of him to the council.

“I know you said two tunnels,” he growled. “I am no fool to be toyed with, nor a cowering slave too afraid to concentrate. I am a fighting warlord of repute and power. You would do well to remember this. My question came from the burning desire that you might get on with what you have to say. My lack of attention comes only from my impatience with your never ending torrent of words.”

“Ahh,” exclaimed Adolbod. “Now we see the spirit of a warrior, a glimpse of your professed mettle.”

Scabscar knew now that to the seers this was indeed all a game, and that every word they spoke was part of an elaborate test. He bit his tongue and glared at them, his eyes speaking for him: ‘Finish this now!’

Pustulgar did not even blink at this outburst, but went on in exactly his accustomed manner, as if no complaint at all had just been made. “The alternative is a more certain tunnel, through which diligence and loyalty provide a pair of bold legs upon which to stride. Of course luck is always needed, but with sufficient skill even that slippery commodity can be made to play only a minor part. Many can still trip and fall through a lapse of concentration or a careless failure to duck out of the way of harm. This tunnel is that through which the council directs those who wish to prove themselves worthy. It is not an easy path, for to obey the council’s will is to find oneself faced with the challenges and threats that such great Skaven counter on a daily basis, but those who emerge are rewarded, having proved themselves both mighty and loyal. The dangers remain great, but at least the warlord can expect some honest, actual assistance from allies of a like mind.”

Scabscar had no intention of waiting to hear if the seer would continue his verbal circulations and so immediately pronounced, “I choose the second tunnel."

The two seers cocked their heads to one side as if intrigued by Scabscar’s outburst, an action which finally flicked a gobbet of wax from Pustulgar’s hood to bespatter Adolbod’s robe. Neither seemed to notice.

“Why do you think,” Scabscar felt the need to explain, “I have listened so patiently so far? Why do you think I invited you here at all? Have your servant scribble my name in the list. I intend to grow in power wholly in the service of the mighty Council, and would have no-one call me traitor.”

Turning to the aide, Adolbod snapped, “Go on then, Grimelumpe, scribble his name on your list.”

Scabscar could not be certain but did wonder whether there was more than a hint of sarcasm in the seer’s tone. He too looked at the aide and although the creature was still writing it did not seem to Scabscar that the pen’s nib had altered position at all – rather it simply scraping along as before. Scabscar hadn’t the will to question the method, instead he wanted to know something else.

“Finally!” he said. “Now the Council knows I am theirs to command, for a suitable reward. Now, tell me, is it Clan Skarr they want me to face? And if so, which other clans will join with me?”

“Yes, and none,” said Adolbod succinctly.

The warlord frowned. “Yes, it is to be Clan Skarr. But what do you mean by ‘none’? You mean I am to face them alone?”

“Of course not, Lord Scabscar,” agreed Pustulgar. “We would never ask you to do that. Both of us, and the Council also, recognise that you could not face Skarr alone and expect even to survive, never mind thrive. The plain truth is that there are no other clans available to assist you. The Council, its mind ever fixed upon the greater scheme of things, the very world itself encompassed in its thoughts, every nation and people, every realm and empire, yes, has engaged them all upon other tasks. You must seek aid from other quarters.”

Now Scabscar truly did not understand. “What mean you by ‘other quarters’?”

“There is war brewing in the manthing lands of Estalia, a great conflict that shall embroil manthings and greenskins, elflings and dwarfthings to name but a few. Many of these, if not all, will be enemies of Clan Skarr. From those enemies of your enemy you must find battle allies. Have them assist you and vica versa, so that both you and they thrive. We care not how their fortunes wax, as long as Clan Skarr’s fortune wanes.”

A silence ensued. The three contributors to the conversation stared at each other and the scribes scratching pen came to a halt. Finally it was Adolbod who spoke.

“Thus we must conclude our meeting. You have much to think about. In our final meeting we shall speak of how exactly you might find suitable allies.”

Scabscar heard some of what had just been said, but the meaning was tangled up with the thoughts in his own mind. He had not long before been fondly recalling the delicious feeling of power just before he killed a manthing. Now he was to fight alongside them, speak with them, perhaps often. He knew the Council intended to test him, but he had thought it would be simply a matter of sending him into battle. No, the real test would be to see if he could work with his race’s enemies to defeat a traitorous clan.
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Post Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:17 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

As it is the start, I'll add an extra post to make the pilot episode a bit longer ...

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Scabscar’s chief engineer, Abdurat the Clevering, was pacing the cave-chamber …

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“Who will go?” he asked, “Who can convince manthings to listen, to trust?”

Warlord Scabscar watched him pace, and although there was vexation in his voice, it was not due to the engineer’s pendulum-like perambulations, rather the issue itself. “Not an easy thing,” he muttered. “Not easy at all.”

“Not safe,” blurted Abdurat. “That’s what it is not. Whoever goes, the manthings will likely kill him. Very likely on first sight, and quick about it too.”

“Kill him, yes. Kill him they will. So …” Scabscar paused as if he needed to put an idea into proper form, or check it to see if it made sense before he gave it utterance “We send someone to die. Then we send someone else to die, then when we send maybe a third, a fourth if needed, so the manthings will come to know we mean business. And when they have stopped killing our messengers then I shall meet with them.”

Abdurat stopped his pacing and grinned. He required little time to shape his thoughts – they came quick and easy to mind, then issued nimbly from his mouth. “My lord, I have several names in mind. Perfect for such a task.”

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Chieftain Chizzleflig approached the tunnel exit nervously, but as he had been nervous before he entered it, and the full length of his journey through it, then this was not a novel state of mind. He had with him only two guards, two musicians and a standard bearer, none of whom were any less unnerved by the task that lay before them.

Although he did not know for certain, Chizzleflig reckoned that each of the warriors with him were also here because they had particular enemies, rivals or at the least they had displeased someone. All six, including him, advanced with fangs bared, tails a-twitching and eyes wide with apprehension. One of the musicians kept emitting involuntary squeaks and chitters, each of which made his companions flinch and clutch their drawn weapons tighter.

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Narrowing their eyes and pushing through a verdant curtain of hanging roots and vines they entered the sunlight from the tunnel’s concealed mouth, to find themselves upon a wooded slope. Immediately they could smell that manthings were close by, which did nothing to diminish their nervousness. Chizzleflig hissed and spun around to face the musicians. “You, and you,” he whispered, “do what you are here for. We need parley sounds. Make them, and quick, quick!”

The musicians began hesitantly beating their bells and cymbals. Chizzleflig scowled, realising the noise added to his apprehension rather than lessening it. “Is that the right noise?” He snapped at them. “Is that what manthings do? Is it? Is it?”

The musicians stopped and looked at each other, which made Chizzleflig hiss again. “No, no, don’t stop. Play, play on – they must know we are here for words not fighting. And you,” he pointed at the ensign, “unfurl the colours. I want the manthings to see us as well as hear us. Don’t want any of them thinking we’re here to play sneaky tricks.”
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Post Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:25 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Background to the campaign:

As I promised in another thread I have taken a look at the background for the campaign, in the hopes of giving you a better idea of what was going on. In doing so, I discovered why it never occurred to me before. The background is vast and labyrinthine, the factions numerous and varied, the NPCs too many to name. Even during the campaign I was not exactly conversant with it all (if that's the right word).

This campaign, Animosity 5, was set in Estalia.

There were eight factions, three kinds of figureheads (important NPCs - each of which catagory included at least 8 NPCs) and even uber-groupings of religious factions which could include members from different categories. There was an overground map and an underground map, with exit/entry points between. There were Non-Player realms. And other complications.

The factions had between 9 players (the Muros faction was deliberately small) and 20 or so players. Their size changed through the campaign. The faction's aims were a mass of motives and sub-motives - again too hard to explain. Some, like the Greenskins, were here to loot and burn and fight (etc). Some, like the Protectorate and the Arabyan Intervention Force were politically opposed, using Estalia to fight out an ongoing war. Some' like Muros, wanted to survive. The Skaven had 'cunning' plans, and the Dark Elves were here to profit from slavery etc.

8 Factions
The Protectorate - Bretonnians, I think
Shattered Sunz - Greenskins
The Maderasari - maybe Wood Elves
Clan Skarr - Skaven (I had already picked the name Warlord Scabscar long before I knew this faction name - I wouldn't have done if I had known.)
The Reavers - Dark Elves
Kingdom of Muros - Estalian Kingdom
The Accord
Arabian Intervention Force - Arabs and foreign mercenaries etc (This was my faction.)

3 types of Figurehead
National - Kings and such
Local - Variety of NPCs, from merchants to priests, Lords to bandit leaders.
Faction (Like Political Leaders of our factions, though we had players as our actual military leaders.)

Religious groupings that came together (based around the emergence of a weird demi-god like woman named Lilith)
The Eyeless – supporting Lilith (kept secret from other factions)
The resistance – opposed to Lilith (kept secret from other factions)

It would take me days and days of arduous study to make sense of it all, and a lot of writing to explain it all. But now I know the effort involved and the complexity of it all, I don't think it necessary to give you all that information, as it would only muddle things up. Instead as I post things I'll try to ensure I explain anything that doesn't make sense without some insight into aspects of the background. So far there's been no need to.

In amongst vast, and do mean vast, swathes of forum sections (general or faction), hundreds of threads and thousands of posts, I saw some interesting things as I scanned. Like the following GM announcement about a certain modus operandi we were to stick to ...
However, I wanted to take the time to inform you all of a large difference here at Animosity between what you might be used to and how we operate. In T&G and Underdark, individuality is encouraged, and the selling of Faction information for resources or amusement was allowed. It is not allowed here.

There is a special project that allows Factions to gain information about the movement and plans of other factions in a general way, obviously with a chance of failure, and we encourage people to use it. However, the goal here is to encourage Factions to work (largely) together to simulate strategic combat on a country wide scale. You don't all have to be best friends, not by a long shot, but people passing on confidential information to other factions in non diplomatic channels will be removed from the campaign. Fair warning.

So in summary. Diplomatic haggling and trying to pursuade Faction X to gang up on the NPCs with you is absolutely fine. So is doing that and then 'changing your mind' conviniently. However, sending a PM with "Pst, here's a copy of our Faction's entire orders", is not.


Now, having established the unrealistic level of work involved in trying to explain 'everything', let's just get on with my posts. Yay!?


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Sunlight

Chizzleflig was loathe to step out into the sunlight, but he had no choice. He knew that the guards were here as much to see that he did as he was ordered as to protect him. He saw the scattered shadows cast by the trees and wished he were as small as a common rat, and thus able to scuttle about within the undergrowth from dark patch to dark patch.

The scent of manthings grew stronger. The chieftain knew that he would be able to hear them too if it were not for the cacophonous racket being beaten out by the skaven musicians behind him. The yellow banner, the colour carried by the best of Warlord Scabscar’s warriors, was fashioned of fine cloth and so cast it’s own subtly hued shadow by Chizzleflig’s side.

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For the briefest of moments a kind of madness threatened to lure him away, promising the illusion of security. It took the form of an urge to stare at the muddy yellow patch, to let it’s ephemeral form fill his thoughts and waft his attention away from the very real danger he was in. Hissing to himself, he ousted the foolish notion from his mind and although his eyes had yet to adjust fully to the brightness outside the cave mouth he began to scour the tree line for any sign of the manthings.

And there they were, several of them, approaching directly. Although they were obscured by the trees and undergrowth, Chizzleflig’s keen senses told him there were several of them. He raised his hand to command his musicians to cease their racket. This they did, though they probably would have done so without his gestured order. “Here, here - see how they come!” announced Chizzleflig to the cowering band behind him. “See, the manthings come to speak, speak.”

“Why speak here in the sun?” came a loud question from one of the warriors. “Why not speak in the cave, where others cannot see. Make them come inside, yes?”

Chizzleflig was not happy at this. It was for him to do the speaking now - he was certain this was why he had been chosen, for he had some mastery of the manthings’ speech, having once commanded a band of manthing children slaves. He whipped his head around and snarled back at the warrior, who was so agitated he looked to be having difficulty just staying on the ground.

“You, shut up!" snapped the chieftain. "You are not here to talk. Say one word more and I shall make your loose tongue looser still.”

The warrior glowered at Chizzleflig, yet fell obediently silent. Satisfied, the chieftain looked back at the approaching band. Now it was his chance to try his manthing words, and to prove himself capable of this task. One of the manthings was easier to see than the others, a fellow with a band of blue wrapped around his head and a little tree-creature resting on his shoulder. Surely this one was their leader, for he knew that manthings had the perverse notion that officers should lead from the front and seek out the thickest fighting to encourage their warriors. (Such behaviour would surely discourage most Skaven fighters, for they would think the leader a fool and few would wish to be commanded by such.)

Chizzleflig fixed his eyes on the manthing and cleared his throat. Then, suddenly, there was a tremendously loud noise accompanied by a large flash of fire and a broiling burst of smoke - a gunshot. The biggest of the two skaven warriors broke into pieces as if a volley of warsptone bullets had torn into him. Chizzleflig had time only to whimper before several more eruptions knocked the musician off his feet and tore the standard bearer’s head from his neck. Pain now welled through Chizzleflig’s abdomen as he spun on the spot, reeling as if a rat ogre had punched him in the belly. He hit the ground hard, bespattered by his own blood.

The blue scarfed man now stepped from the undergrowth and aimed two pistols over Chizzleflig’s prone body, firing towards the cave. The chieftain had not the strength or the will to turn his head to see what was done, but no doubt that was the end of another of his warriors. The other manthings also stepped from the trees, busy with their firearms and talking fast - too fast for Chizzleflig to understand.

“… damned rat men … everywhere, curse … powders and fuses and tunnels … ambush any more …”

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Chizzleflig was looking right at them. There was a boldness in their motion, not because they moved quickly, but more due to their steady purpose. Not one of them was fidgeting and twitching the way skaven warriors did. Each one was heavily armed with pistols, handguns and curved blades, though only one wore any visible armour. Here and there they wore brightly coloured garments, a snow-white cap, a scarlet sash, a bold, blue shirt, as if they cared not that they might be more easily spied as a consequence. One had bright orange fur growing from his snout and chin, while another had a leg fashioned of wood as if he were a cheaply bought and miniature construct from Clan Moulder.

Entirely unable to move, Chizzleflig noticed that darkness was coming fast, as if a cold night was suddenly falling. A surge of panic gripped him as he realised what was happening. He tried to clutch at his blade, but at the first flinch he passed out. Before a second had passed he had entered the longest night of them all.

............
Note: Up until now you have been reading about my attempts to explain how I was joining this particular (mostly human) faction, even though I was skaven. I enjoyed the challenge this represented, though of course I could have just said I was in the faction and left it pretty much at that!

My faction (and RL) friend Van Riekert wrote about event posted above from the 'manthings' perspective. It was great fun reading his post and then writing a story to match it. I will attach it here.

Keep in mind that these are not my words, they are my friends ...


The past few days had been long, lazy days of drinking, wenching and brawling for the small company of sea rovers. Younger bravos railed at the boredom, eager to be marching to war but the rovers were old hands and knew that life could, and probably would end brutally quickly and with little warning, so it was best to enjoy what life could give while you could.

All too soon their revels were interrupted, an officious looking officer, sent by their long time employers to tell them to investigate some strange goings on in the hills near to where much of the army of the VMC was camped.

***

His every sense stained to gather information from the wooded hills around him, to his left and right were his companions, moving without a sound as they slowly, painfully slowly, picked their way through the woodland.

To other people this would be good land, with lush forest, good soil and ideal for vines, it would even be considered picturesque by many, especially at this moment as the sun cast dappled shadows on the small group. But to Joost and his companions it was a place where death lurked, a place where they were not sure if they were the hunters or the hunted and no matter how many times they had been in such a position the thought still filled them with fear and made a knot of their guts.

But it also honed their senses and reflexes, perhaps that's why they still lived while others were long since dead.

As a single mind they all froze in place, all had heard the same thing. A strange chirruping or squeaking. To the side of Joost Eli had put the but of his long rifle to his shoulder, and was slowly, silently pulling the dogs-head to full cock, around him others were doing the same, even now he was unthinkingly levelling his pistols towards the sound.

A moment later there was a cacophony of sound from just ahead, drums, horns and a shrill sound they couldn't quite place. So unexpected was the sound they almost simply bolted, but their experience told them that to run was to die and so they held themselves steady.

As suddenly as it started, the noise stopped.

Joost looked round at his companions and gestured with his pistol for them to keep moving, and silent as the grave he took another step. As he did the cacophony started again, but this time they kept their measured, silent movement through the woodland. Barely a half dozen paces and their eyes could see movement and colour through the web of trees ahead, minutes passed as step by step more was revealed of the source of the noise.

First a crude banner, then the dark hunched shapes holding it. Goblins? Thought Joost, no, not goblins.

"Rat Men" was the unmistakable gesture from Lisbeth to which Joost nodded. Eli stopped moving, and gave a nod to Joost as he settled himself, resting the long barrel of his rifle on a sturdy tree branch, taking sight down it.

The rest of them continued their slow tread until they were no more than a score of paces from the place where the Rat-men made their cacophony.

The noise stopped, and the Rat-men fell to conversation, chattering excitedly amongst themselves, one of them hopping from foot to foot and looking anxiously at the hole in the hillside they had emerged from and then they too stopped and fell silent, looking about them at the woods. The largest of them looked at where Joost was stood, his beady black eyes meeting Joost's one good eye through the thicket. For a heartbeat, nothing happened. Then thunder ripped the peace to shreds.

It was a sound like the world ripping, unmistakable to Joost who had heard it so often, as the largest of the Rat-men was exploded into small chunks of gore, bits of armour and cloth and shredded fur as Nicolas had unleashed a volley from his repeating handgun.

In an instant the world filled with smoke and noise as more shots were added to the fray. A shot from Eli's rifle removed the head of the standard bearer, while a combination of pistol shots from Hagrim and Lisbeth along with the hail of shrapnel from Roderick's blunderbuss did for a musician.

Joost could see the rear end of one last rat kin as it desperately scrabbled at the small cave mouth behind them as he levelled a pair of pistols at it. Loaded with a double charge, two lead balls and some swan shot each, he couldn't miss at this range and the cave mouth was left with a most gruesome curtain to cut it off from the surface.

"Hells be damned Rat men" cursed Joost as he stuffed his spent pistols into his belt, and drew another pair.

"They get everywhere, curse them" replied Nicolas, frantically reloading the multiple barrels of his heavy gun

"We need to get powder and fuses, and blow that tunnel so they cant use it" was Hagrim's offer.

"Or do we wait to ambush any more that came for that signal they were making" asked Lisbeth.

"By the Gods no we don't Lisbeth, Hagrim is right, we go get powder and fuse and blow this place to rubble" snapped Joost "Or better yet, have them send sappers and soldier to do it properly"


There, now that's surely a nice piece of 'connecting things up' background. Interestingly, my friend used characters from the PCs in his WFRP Marienburger party, from an occasional campaign I used to run. That's why I happened to have figures that looked exactly like the band he was describing. We agreed he would do this in advance so that I could incorporate them into a picture.
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Post Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:04 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Snitz Furgut was surprised to have been chosen to lead a party out to meet with the manthings. He had been trying to attract no attention to himself after the trouble with the warpstone bullet and thought that lying low would mean no such interest would be shown in him. Now he had been ordered by Warlord Scabscar himself to pick four warriors and lead them upon what seemed to be an important errand, the sort that would lead to considerable reward if he were to succeed.

Unless, he feared, he was not supposed to succeed? Perhaps the purpose of this command was to get rid of him so that he would not have anymore ‘accidents’.

No-one had directly accused him of the shooting, but he was convinced that Abdurat the engineer had suspicions. When an engineer as important as Hachblar was killed by a carelessly fired jezzail then someone had to pay with their life, of course; and although Tholaki had been executed for the lapse, Snitz knew that no-one, neither judge nor executioner, really thought he was responsible (or was it that they did not care?). Snitz’s subsequent promotion to leader of the first company of jezzails only made his position look even more suspect.

Snitz knew full well he could not explain that killing Hachblar was not part of a dastardly plan to frame Tholaki and gain promotion, for such an admission would involve revealing it was in fact he himself who had pulled the trigger. Whether he killed the engineer by accident or deliberately would not matter, he would in turn be killed either way. If only, he thought time and time again, the bullet had hit the slave he intended to shoot, then there would have been no trouble at all. Killing the slave in question the next day had given him some satisfaction. His fear, however, had not diminished one jot.

Now his life was one of constant nervousness. More accurately, his life had gone from one of the usual level of constant fear most skaven feel, to a heightened sense of terror every time a commander so much as glanced his way or merely walked nearby. Instead of imagining brutish monsters as the source of strange night-time sounds (as others might do) his fevered mind turned every noise into approaching assassins or death squads. Such a state of mind drove him to assume there was a deadly intention behind his orders.

The meeting with Warlord Scabscar had been full of apprehension, laced with indications of hidden purposes. Scabscar had waxed lyrical about how the manthings would be happy to speak, how they would be expecting Snitz. It was in truth an out of character display of verbosity that made Snitz wonder if the warlord was hoping to conceal the unsavoury truth under a heap of words. Throughout the interview the chief engineer Abdurat had stared at him through narrowed eyes, studying his every flinch and twitch as if gauging his state of mind.

So now here he was leading his men towards the tunnel exit. His blade was drawn, as were those of the warriors with him, and he had found a little armour to give him a more respectably warrior-like appearance.

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As his warriors carried jezzails into battle, Snitz had no standard to bring along, nor musicians to accompany him. Considering that the manthings were coming to talk, not fight, he had ordered that only one jezzail be brought. He could not bring himself to travel so far without at least one, especially as the weapon’s impressive retort when fired could scare away most beasts and many attackers – sound alone striking fear into the foe even if the bullet flew wild.

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The clan’s warren was situated in the southern Miramar Hills, and this particular tunnel came out in the vicinity of a town named San Pedro del Sur. Already Snitz could feel the air warming, a sign that the tunnel mouth was close. Suddenly he stopped, for there was daylight ahead. Gulping and gripping the hilt of his blade a little tighter, he glanced back at the others. All four were still with him.

“Come, come now,” he ordered. “Follow me.”

And outside they went.

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

“Listen well,” ordered Scabscar with a conspiratorial tone in his voice. “Listen good. We have allies, warriors who will fight against our enemies. These our new friends are not to be harmed. There will be no plundering or kill-kill-killing, even if they are manthings and greenskins and otherthings. Every warrior will know this - even the slaves. No harm will be done to them - not against our allies. I say this, and you will remember it.”

Upon the other side of the table, illuminated by the flickering torchlight from the cave chamber walls, stood the warlord’s engineers and chieftain-captains. Abdurat was nodding, for he knew full well all that had been arranged, but the others fidgeted in a less assured manner.

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The chieftain Fraxyud did more the fidget - going so far as to grimace as if in pain. “This … this you command,” he found himself saying before common sense could kick in and warn him not to contradict Scabscar. “…it is not skaven. It is not war."

The warlord fixed his stare upon the chieftain and allowed a moment to pass, just long enough for Fraxyud’s contrariness to mutate into plain fear. Then he spoke, “Ahh, I see your have a fighting spirit, brave Fraxyud. You want blood and battle and broken bones, yes?”

Fraxyud gulped, whilst Abdurat stifled a laugh.

“Well,” said Scabscar, in so mocking a tone he was almost singing the word, “you shall have them, yes, you shall have bloody battle to break your bones. You shall lead the vanguard when we take to the field against the traitors. You shall stand afore your warriors and show them your hunger for battle. And if you survive, then you shall have my favour again.”

Fraxyud could not bring himself to look Scabscar in the eyes. If it were not for the fur on his jowls then one would have seen the colour draining from his face, but the sudden involuntary tensing of his tail advertised his disconsolation to all present.

“Must I say it again?” asked Scabscar, glancing at each of his commanders in turn. “Must I speak, speak every word over and over and over? We will be victorious. We will kill and kill numbers far greater than we can raise. Yes? We will kill more traitors than we can count. And we will do this because manthings and greenskins will willingly join us to cut our enemies down. They are a blade to be wielded against the foe, and I will not break that blade. Yes?”

His last word was growled. The answer came in the form of a nods and mumbles from all the skaven in the chamber.

“Yes?” the warlord shouted this time.

“YES, YES!” came the answer.

And so it was that hours later Scabscar’s army issued froth from the isolated warren they had inhabited these last few weeks. Upon the flanks came scuttling vermin swarms and globadiers, as well as the portable machines of war, whilst in their midst marched the massed ranks and files of clan warriors.

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For more than an hour they spilled from the cave-mouth, lugging halberds, viciously curved swords and great, long jezzails. A legion of slaves hauled engines of war, behind which strode Scabscar’s Bonebreaker carrying the warlord so high he could see almost to the front of the column.

And at the head flew the principal banners of the fighting regiments: red, yellow and brown in hue, with the army standard bedecked with skulls.

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Scabscar’s army marched to war.
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Post Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:36 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Padre, I already like where this is heading. The skaven intrigues and political squabblings are going to be fun to watch unravel :D on a slightly off-topic subject, just how many painted armies do you own??? I'm assuming you have developed a fine method of speed-painting (or you are a 3000 year old vampire who doesn't require sleep and has unnaturally quick painting reflexes). Do you have any painting tips to share? :) keep the narrative coming!

P.S. I love your skaven names, they are extremely ratty (in a good sense ;) ).
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Post Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:44 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Let's just say I own a LOT of painted armies. Vast numbers. (Wait 'til you see the full horde of rats later on in this thread. I went a bit rat crazy for a while.) All very embarrassing really, as I think of the novel writing skills I could have developed if I had not been painting.

There is no trick, just longevity. I have been painting since about 1982, apart from a few breaks from the hobby to concentrate on roleplaying for a while. I paint with enamels (out of stubbornness I suppose) and I use a black undercoat over which I 'cell shade'. It feels like 3D 'colouring-in' to me, and needs only patience and a steady hand.

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Post Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:17 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Finally a skaven campaign! I hope this is where the master race finally take over the over empire! :)
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Post Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:45 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Machinations and Machines

The apprentices came running towards him, their manner so agitated as to startle chief engineer Abdurat into consideration of how he might best defend himself against whatever it was pursued them. Perhaps they had disturbed something monstrous in the flood waters which even now slithered after them hungrily? When the apprentices skidded to a halt, however, he quickly realised it was something else that brought them here.

Now they were squabbling amongst themselves, pushing and shoving. Abdurat glowered at them, thinking that they were each afraid to be the one who must give him bad news, then he realised it was quite the opposite – they were fighting to be the first one to report something to him. To be acknowledged by him before the others, and thus allowed to speak. Finally it dawned on all the young skaven that the consequences of behaving like this in front of their master would be far worse than the lost opportunity to speak first, and so the squabbling came to an end. It was Tragghul who was at the front at his moment, gaining his precedence quite by accident.

“Speak, speak!” commanded Abdurat, fixing his glare upon the foremost apprentice.

“I have found something you must see, master,” began the apprentice, but his explanation was cut short by a sudden burst of voices correcting his use of the word ‘I’.

“We … we have found it,” the others cried – or words to that effect.

“Quiet!” demanded the chief engineer. “I have no patience for your petty bickering. What have you found? Tell, tell.” Of course he realised this was too much to ask, for this particular batch of apprentices were as yet very unlearned and ignorant. Instead of answering, they turned and scuttled back the way they had come.

“See, see … We show you … I show you … This way, this way!”

Gritting his teeth he followed. This had better be good, he thought, then quickly moved on to consideration of how best he might punish them if the journey proved disappointing and a waste of his time.

Three days ago when the army had arrived at the Murga minehead, Abdurat had been disappointed to discover many of the mineshafts were flooded. This meant there would have to be considerable toil (as well as necessarily entailing a great loss of slaves) or the army would be unable to enter or exit quickly and surely. Even though the Skaven’s true home was beneath the earth, they were never keen to put themselves somewhere they might not be able to escape from! In a last ditch attempt to avoid the work and delay, Abdurat had dispatched his apprentices in packs to scour every fissure and crack for alternative routes to the tunnels below. These particular youngsters were one of those packs.

They led him into the main mine entrance. Stepping from the hateful daylight into the welcoming gloom did not bring the relief one might expect, for he was beginning to suspect they were indeed leading him on a fool’s errand. This had been the first place to be searched, and nothing had been found that was not flooded or in imminent danger of succumbing to the waters. Just as he was about to order the apprentices to halt, he saw something that had not previously been there – a huge portal.

“See, see?” the apprentices chimed together, almost as if they were singing the chorus to a tuneless song. They did not appear, however, to know the verse to accompany it: “We … I … We found it. Secret it was … hidden … levers here and … opened itself … look, see.”

Although Abdurat could not discern exactly what any individual had said, the muddle of words had nevertheless revealed enough for him to understand. A hidden door, designed to look like no different from cave wall around it, had rolled open at the yank of a lever. He sniffed, so that he might better smell the more than usually musty air leaking from the chamber: rust, oil, and the weak but still pungently tainted aroma of warpstone. They had indeed, he decided, found something. He could not bear the thought of the apprentices’ chattering and giddy excitement ruining the pleasure of what might lie ahead.

“Stop,” he barked. “Silence.” Then he pointed at Tragghul. “You, you alone, follow me. You others, wait and wait good.”

For centuries there had been talk of an ancient engineer’s massive contraptions buried somewhere beneath Estalia. Some called him Schtoblag, others Maddle-Girn, still others the ‘chiefest engineer’. A few of the more discerning believed that he was not one skaven but several, a brotherhood of gifted engineers who had, for a short while, worked together to create monstrous devices of barely conceivable power. Back in the southern Miramar Hills Abdurat had allowed himself to hope that something had been found, for Scabscar himself had suggested a certain chamber might contain artifacts of use. But there was nothing to be found in there, only junk. Yes, the warren had long been associated with the ancient engineer, but everything of any worth (and much of no value whatsoever) had long since been removed. This new discovery, however, being an ancient door that once opened would be very difficult to close, boded well. It was possible, even likely, that no-one had entered since it was closed. The man-thing miners who had disturbed this particular abandoned warren had certainly not found it. Maybe no-one ever had?

Tragghul had the sense to know he should go first. Why else would a skaven of such authority as Abdurat invite him along if it were not as a scapegoat and a springer of traps? The nervous apprentice was pleased to find that he had not far to go, and he got there without being skewered or plunged to a horrible death. The door led to a tunnel little more than ten yards in length, at which point it flared open to become a very large cave. The apprentice smiled, for what he saw reassured him that him master must surely be pleased. He scuttled forwards to take a closer look, and to ensure that Abdurat would always associate him with the fin ding of it.

Abdurat strode into the huge cave and came once more to a halt. There lay before him, without a shadow of doubt (though shadows did obscure much of it) a machine of considerable size, mightily engineered in iron and steel.

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It was dismantled, with pieces lying all around it; a dismembered, mechanical beast. Huge wheels of solid iron lay all around, some being toothed gear-wheels, others perhaps intended merely to raise this behemoth from the ground. Large bolts held much of the beast together, and a huge belly, no doubt intended to hold a great mass of pressurized steam, lay at the heart of the pile. Abdurat could not speak. His mind was racing with thoughts, chasing each other around his brain. He stared, first here, then there - his eyes still, then suddenly shifting, then lying still once more. He could barely believe it. He had found one of the fabled relics. He knew that from this moment on, for as long as it took, his home would be in this cave. And when he was done, something awesome would roll out of this cave and make his name respected once more in Clan Skrye.

(Note: I was working on a new model, a kit bash project, and thought I would be clever and use it in its uncompleted state to forge this fluff piece!)
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Post Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:17 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Gears, wheels and other bits

The machine was without doubt created by the legendary genius Schtoblag. It fitted together like a dream, every piece engineered to a level of precision Abdurat had never before come close to creating, nor even encountered in anyone else’s work. Such engineering was truly the stuff of legend. There were even times during the process of construction when Abdurat did not understand what he was putting together, neither what it was nor how it was supposed to work, yet the neat fit of every component with its intended mate meant that by simple and methodical testing of each possible orientation the answer would leap out. Time and time again Abdurat’s full understanding of what the parts did only came after the they were put in place; each time shivers rippled through his mind, suggesting all sorts of half-recognised possibilities as if he were hearing (without fully understanding) the echo of a lecture being delivered by Schtoblag himself.

He began to believe the machine was building itself. Perhaps it was possessed by the ancient engineer’s spirit, delivering a driving, supernatural will that could only be satisfied when its material host was whole and working once more? What a machine! Abdurat had to fight against a growing feeling of inferiority as its true form and power became obvious. It was, however, a mental battle he proved sufficiently proud to win, his natural and well-honed vainglory stoked by the fact that he knew his peers would forever associate his name with this machine.

The only part missing was the warp lightning cannon. He knew the machine had originally sported such a device, for the tell-tale signs of its emplacement were there – tiny pocks and coloured dents where sparkling shards of fizzing warp energy had dripped from the large lump of warpstone powering the cannon. His conviction was made complete when a fragment of a barrel (similarly pockmarked) was discovered nearby in the chamber, the size of which proved it must surely have been part of a warp lightning cannon. Why the rest of the cannon was missing he had no idea, not even an inkling of one. Perhaps the machine had been dismantled to pass through some underground chamber, but then for whatever reason, the cannon was never remounted. Perhaps it was lost due to theft, trickery or sabotage? Perhaps it had simply needed replacing after it became dangerously weakened through heavy use - its barrel threatening to shiver and destroy the glorious machine that carried it. Abdurat sent his apprentices out once more to scour the tunnels, with instructions to find the cannon, or merely its remains. But so far they had found nothing. In the meantime, Abdurat had cannibalised all the required parts by breaking up Clan Scabscar’s two best Warp Lightning cannons and had mounted the resultant monstrosity upon the beast’s metal spine, as well as having wooden platforms attached for the crewmen.

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So what exactly was this machine? It was a steam driven engine, a locomotive capable of moving its own considerable weight and presumably much, much more. Powdered crumbs of warpstone provided the tremendous heat required to superheat the steam, and then huge gears, shafts and levers transformed that pressure into the twisting strength that turned the iron wheels.

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Nearly every part of the engine was cast in iron, fortified here and there with steel – no other metal had (apparently) been incorporated. This was not exactly a lost art to modern skaven, but it was one which would involve such effort and time that nearly all modern engineers would instead look to brass, copper, lead, tin, even hard-wood, and simply hope for the best. But Schtoblag had used cast iron, and Adburat could only wonder at the forges the ancient engineer must have possessed to fashion such massive and mighty pieces. Yes it was a little rusty, yet even here there was evidence of Schtlobag’s genius, for every piece had been coated with a slimy oil which had somehow prevented the whole thing, in this damp cave, from rusting to oblivion. The little surface rust was not a flaw, it was miraculous - this machine should never have survived at all.

So it was that Warlord Scabscar’s enemies would soon face the terrifying sight of an iron behemoth lumbering unstoppably towards them, crushing all foes before it whilst flaring deadly lightning bolts into those further away.

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And Abdurat was indeed proud to show off the machine to his master and the Grey Seers Pustulgar the Erudited and Adolbod the Gormful.

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Yet there was some nervousness. Abdurat looked at his cannon, the one (rather dangerous) component part he himself was wholly responsible for. Please, he prayed silently to any god who might listen, please let this thing work.

(Note: Unhappy with the way I did not rust the gun, so it looked a bit odd on the top, I added rust after these pictures were taken. It looks much better now. Honest. Oh, and after complaints, I tarted up the warpstone to give it some more, erm, 'depth'))
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Post Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:40 pm

Re: An Old Campaign #5

Note: I wanted to begin with a Skaven vs Skaven battle as my fluff dictated. Luckily my friend had a skaven army.

Scabscar's First Battle

Warlord Scabscar had presumed that the first battle against the foe would be fought in the underground realm beneath Estalia, yet here he was leading his vanguard beneath the bright blue sky rather than a ceiling of rock, timber supports and tangled roots. For months now he and almost his entire force had dwelt in the depths of the earth, but now they moved upon its sunlit skin. Not that this worried him, for he knew that this force was more than adequately equipped for a battle above ground. He had ordered that it be so. It was just an unexpected outcome.

Oddly, his own yellow-liveried personal guard of Clanrats were not present, having been entrusted to a task he would not risk giving to any less loyal warriors. Instead he had two of his largest battle regiments, both wearing the dried-blood hued cloth favoured by the majority of his force, and he intended to take the field leading one of these. The rest of his force consisted of a large body of Plague Monks (Clan Pestilens must also be keen to have Clan Skarr subdued for they had generously provided a substantial contingent of their warriors), as well as slaves, giant rats and a variety of Chief Engineer Abdurat’s engines of war. Abdurat himself, unsurprisingly, was not present, and had sent two of his lieutenants to support the vanguard in his stead. Yet one of the Council’s Intermediaries, the Grey Seer Pustulgar the Erudited, had chosen to come along. Hopefully, thought Scabscar, he was here not merely to observe but to lend more active (magical) support.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Warlord Scabscar’s Vanguard Force (2500 Pts)

Warlord (General Scabscar)
Halberd, Hvy Armour, Bonebreaker, Trickster's Helm, Talisman Preservation
Grey Seer (Pustulgar the Erudited)
Warpstone Token, Channeling Staff, Pendant, Skalm
Warlock Engineer
Level 1 Wizard, Warp Lightning
Warlock Engineer
Level 1 Wizard, Opal Amulet, Warp Lightning
Chieftain
Heavy Armour, Weeping Blade, Charmed Shield, Luckstone
Chieftain
Battle Standard, Armour of Fortune

40 Clanrats - Full command, Spear, Light, Shield with Ratling Gun
40 Clanrats - Full command, Spear, Light, Shield with Warpfire Thrower
46 Skavenslaves - musician & Pawleader
40 Plague Monks - Full command, Banner of Under-Empire
24 Giant Rats & 4 Packmasters
9 Poisoned Wind Globadiers - Bombardier & Poisoned Wind Mortar

Doomwheel
Warp-Lightning Cannon
5 Warplock Jezzails
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Clan Scabscar’s foe was to be an army of rebellious skaven, the warriors of an obscure petty clan called Clan Gobdoth, and although in many respects the opposing armies were similar, what with Clanrats and engineers and a Grey Seer in both forces, there were significant differences too. Gobdoth seemed to favour war machines, for it had a brace of Warp Lightning Cannons as well as a pair of Plague Catapults. Even the Grey Seer (the army’s general) apparently had a liking for constructs, for he rode a Screaming Bell. They also marched with more than twice as many jezzails.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Clan Gobdoth (2500 Pts)

Grey Seer on Screaming Bell
Book of Ashur, Shadow Magnet Trinket; with 35 Clanrats & a Ratling team
Chieftain with Sacred Standard of the Horned Rat
Chieftain with Golden Sigil Sword & Armour of Fortune
Lvl 2 Engineer with Doom Rocket, Portent of Verminous Doom
Lvl 2 Engineer with Warlock Enhanced Weapon, Warpstone Armour

26 Stormvermin with Ratling Gun team
27 Clanrats with Ratling Gun team
7 Jezzails & Sharpshooter
7 Jezzails & Sharpshooter

Two WL Cannons
Two Plague Claw Catapults
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

The two forces approached the ground over which they would fight with trepidation - a fairly common feeling for skaven before battle. Every warrior on both sides could smell the fear of those around him, the strength of which, from so many, would in turn stimulate a new emotion, that of bloodlust. A strong smell of fear aroused most skaven, and so a fearful army of ratmen could often become, quite quickly, quite the opposite in what might appear a quite contrary sort of response, but was actually one that had served the race well for centuries. A lone skaven was often a pathetic sort of creature, but in numbers they could become a vicious and unstoppable force.

Scabscar saw the foe was approaching a river and so ordered several elements of his army to make their way quickly to its banks, and others to cross them, all the better to prevent the foe from employing the river as an admittedly soggy defensive ditch. He had every intention of getting to the enemy’s war machines as quickly as possible, and did not want his main regiments slowed down by flowing waters and thus susceptible to more bombardment as they advanced at the foe.

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There was a bridge one of his regiments could employ, while he sent those best able to clear the waters relatively hastily towards the stretch of the river closest to the Clan Gobdoth. The rest of the battlefield consisted of a scattering of ancient ruins and some copses of wiry trees. (Game Note: None of these terrain features were classed as the wacky kinds in the BRB, and we decided the woods would actually - like so often IRL - be dense enough to block LoS.)

His orders given, Scabscar’s army moved accordingly. The Doomwheel and Warp Lightning Cannon flanked his main block of warriors - the Monks, the Clanrats he personally commanded and his slaves - while the second Clanrat regiment headed over the bridge almost in the centre of the line. Giant rats and Globadiers moved up in the bend of the river, towards the flowing water. The latter were pleased to see that the woods concealed their advance from most of the foe.

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Gobdoth arrayed themselves symmetrically, with a Warp Lightning Cannon, a Catapult and seven Jezzails on each flank, and the mass of warriors in the centre. Although the regiments were smaller than Scabscar’s, they had better quality troops (Stormvermin) and one of the clanrat regiments was made considerably more battle worthy with the fighting spirit imbued by the Screaming Bell.

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Atop his Bonebreaker, Scabscar cursed as he realised that the ruins would either slow down or disrupt his line somewhat (perhaps both) but there was nothing he could do.

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Pustulgar the Erudited, perhaps not wanting to wet the hem of his fancy robes, strode at the head of the one regiment who crossed the river by bridge rather than wading it …

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… whilst the now dripping wet horde of forty Plague Monks advanced keenly, barely aware of their soggy state, on the right.

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For a moment, the army halted as Scabscar took one last look at the enemy. Apart from the underlying noise of hundreds or warriors scratching at the shields, grinding their teeth and clawing at the ground, the only other noticeable sound was the rhythmic hiss of steam from Abdurat’s marvellous engine.

Scabscar hunched forwards, as if moving his head that little amount might bring him closer to the enemy and thus reveal some new detail regarding their composition. As he peered, his hand rested on the lever that worked his stinger, receiving little jolts of energy which made the hairs of his right arm stand and his finger tips sting as if being pricked by the contents of a pin cushion.

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He failed to notice these things, however, for he could see the enemy was about to make its move.

(Actual battle to follow ...)
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