Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)


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Post Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:18 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

An interesting development indeed!
Looking forward to seeing the ratmen as I never took to them back in the day. Now I find them filled with an odd charm.
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Post Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:53 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

I can't wait to see the ratmen in action too. The new player is looking forward to it also! They are active, but more in a putting out feelers and then quickly running away sense just now. You'll read more about them soon (ish).

Meanwhile, I have a battle tomorrow, so here'#s the prequel story!

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Battle (Name tbc) Prequel

Leaving Luccini, Again!

Captain Anssem Van Baas had made his way up to the roof of the building where he, his sea artists and officers were lodged, to watch the rest of the Sartosan army as it marched from the city. His bosun, Moukib Brahimi, having just returned from the ship after overseeing repairs to the rigging, and his master gunner, Harrie Otmann, joined him at the roof’s railed edge.

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The Captain had been tasked with guarding both the city and the captured king, as well as perhaps most importantly the enharboured fleet, which was being repaired after the battering it had taken during the recent storm. To minimise the damage, several crews had even had to cut their mainmasts to the board to prevent them being ripped from the ships by the wind! The storm had forced them to return, much against their wishes, to the city they had only just picked clean of every scrap of profitable plunder. While the work of mending was hard, the royal hostage they had gained upon their unexpected return was a welcome gift and potential recompense for their tempestuous troubles.

The three of them were wordless for a little while, as they watched the pirates assembling along the street at their lodging’s front. Anssem’s raggedy, black hat joined with his copious beard to frame the weather-worn and pockmarked flesh of his face. A scarf of yellow silk encircled his waist, wrapped around his long, grey coat. His companions flanked him: his master gunner, wearing a patch to hide the mess that a shiver of the ship’s hull had made of his eye during a firefight seven years ago, and the bosun, a burly Southlander clutching a belaying pin that was more a club than a tool.

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“Ha!” laughed Moukib as he looked at the first pirates in the column. “Garique’s handgunners are at the head! No wonder it takes them all so long to leave!”

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The captain grinned, for he too had noticed Garique’s men, specifically his mate Goerdt, at the fore. Garique’s Bretonnians called Geordt ‘Jambe de Bois’, while the Estalians called him ‘Pie de Palo’, for obvious reasons. Everyone else in the fleet called him Jambalo, although most knew not why. Anssem pondered what mischievous notion had possessed Admiral Volker to order a one-legged man to the fore? Perhaps there was genius in the decision, for it gave that little bit more time for the wine-addled or sore headed sailors to get in line?

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“I still don’t see why so many agreed to go,” said Harrie. “The whole enterprise is a waste o’ time and effort, if you ask me.”

“They were ordered to go, and you have the captain to thank for the fact that we do not go too,” said Moukib.

Anssem was absently scratching at his bearded chin with the iron hook that served as his left hand, a habit which often drew blood, creating the scabs that would, in turn, generate a new itch.

“’Tweren’t my decision to stay,” he said, “despite it being my desire. The admiral wants us here. We’re the strongest crew and the one he can trust. He wants to keep his eye on the rest of ‘em.”

“If those lads come back mauled and bloody,” said Harrie, pointing dramatically at the men below, “then they’ll bear a mighty grudge against Volker. The best he can hope for is that they scare the Luccinans off easily and complain only of the time it took to do so. If they suffer unnecessarily then for certain it’ll be the end of his admiralcy.”

“Volker only fights when he needs to,” argued Moukib.

“But he don’t need to fight this time,” said Harrie. “The Luccinans haven’t even attacked! They’re too weak to do so. We have their baby king yet still they squat in the hills too afraid to do anything about it. They’re not going to attack us, so why pick a fight with them? I say why trouble ourselves over anything that ain’t pursuit o’ gold, silver or anything else worth having?”

“Our army marches to protect the gold we already have,” said Moukib. “The enemy might be weak, but they have waited some time now, while we cannot leave until the fleet is made fit to sail. You have to ask what they are waiting for? If they cannot beat us, then why do they not leave? They must be waiting for help. The admiral intends to scatter them before that help arrives.”

Anssem was nodding. “We are not the only ones to have banded together. This is a time of grand alliances, with city joining city to defend against the vampires and ogres.”

“Don’t sound like a good time for us to start a-raiding then,” suggested Harrie.

“No, it is the best time,” said Moukib. “Because their grand alliances have failed so far. Now they are allied out of desperation and even when marching together they are weak. Besides, when they leave to fight in the north, no-one is left behind to defend their homes.”

“Except there is an army out there in the hills, however small it might be, and men will die fighting them. I still say it’s a waste. There’s no-one coming to help them. No-one cares. We have their king and they cannot do anything about it. But honour means they cannot leave either.”

“They can do something! They can pay us for their king,” suggested Moukib.

“That they cannot do, Mouk” said Harrie. “I doubt there’s a Luccinan left with even a copper token to offer up for a ransom.”

The Sartosans had ransacked the city and the surrounding realm more expertly and thoroughly than even brutes or greenskins could have done.

“The soldiers could find the gold,” said Moukib.

“I doubt that,” said the captain. “They’re not returning from a war of conquest, laden with plunder. They’re returning from an already ruined land, after fighting the living dead. They’ve nothing to give us. Harrie is right, Mouk, they cannot pay and they cannot retake their city. We should just let them be. Would you ram a wounded sea serpent just because it swam close to your ship?”

Moukib chortled dismissively. “If the army is a wounded sea serpent, then it is an infant. They have little more than two regiments, one gun and the king’s doddering uncle to command them.”

“Don’t be so sure the fight will be easy,” said Harrie. “They’ve dug themselves some fine earthworks at a carefully chosen spot, and they have grown in strength.”

“How so? No other armies have come to their aid.”

“You have been working too hard, Moukib my friend,” said Harrie. “Your thoughts have been all a-tangled in cables and lines. We found out two days ago that they now have a large body of men who fled Luccini when we returned, and even a few of the King’s mounted guards who escaped.”

“Ha! And you had me worried!” laughed Moukib. “Such as they count for nothing. Cowardly peasants who fled without a fight and steel-clad noblemen so noble they forgot to guard their king! Their sort add weakness to an army, not strength.”

“Let’s hope so,” said the captain, “for all these lads’ sakes!”

For whatever reason, down in the street march had faltered a while, but the pirates now began to move again.

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“I suggest Moukib,” said the captain, pointing down at the boy lugging a bucket alongside the marchers, “you take a leaf from little Janneken’s book. He don’t look worried.”

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“Aye. He’s got other things to worry about,” said Harrie. “I told him last time that when he brings water there ought to be more than a spoonful left in the bucket when he arrives. Woe betide the lad if he spills it all again.”

“You’re too hard on the boy,” said Captain Anssem. He’s a good ‘un. Too small to carry that bucket, mind you, but he’s run through more’n one firefight with charges for the guns, his ear’s a-bleeding last time too.”

The army was beginning to move off properly now, and more and more were turning onto the street.

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The van was mostly made up of deck gunners, many armed with handguns. The Sartosans, like the VMC (of whom a good proportion were also from Marienburg) favoured the use of powder in battle, both on land and sea. They had wagons to carry several artillery pieces hauled from their ships, as the gun’s diminutive trucks were incapable of travelling the roads. One small company struggled along with swivel guns. Even those among them without a ranged firearm of some kind, of which there were several large bodies expected to engage the foe in melee, were festooned with pistols, whether they be human, dwarf or even goblin, although the latter had a tendency to cause harm with their pistols not only to the enemy but also to themselves.

They also had a predilection for the more exotic kinds of guns, with an entire company armed with blunderbusses, and several, like Jambalo, carrying multi-barrelled oddities designed to allow the firer to shoot rapidly, for instead of reloading all they had to do was twist the next pre-loaded barrel in place. Needless to say, perhaps, these mechanically extravagant guns were not the most reliable pieces in the pirates’ arsenal.

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Before long Admiral Volker’s own crew, who bore the brunt of the fighting during the initial capture of the city, were marching into view, being in the centre of the column. Captain Anssem espied the orc Gudyag, who had proved himself one of the admiral’s most loyal crewmen.

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Gudyag, like several other orcs in Volker’s fleet, had been of Scarback’s Greenskin Corsairs, being separated from the orc admiral’s fleet during the storm which drove most vessels onto the rocks along the Caretello coast. Gudyag’s ship had been forced south, running before the wind while the crew cursed the cliffs on the lee shore as if foul language might convince the rocks to shy away! Once the storm subsided, he and his crewmates presumed the rest of the corsairs, Scarback included, must surely have perished when wrecked. Gudyag later discovered that Scarback and a good portion of his corsairs had survived and were in the paid service of Portomaggiore, but like almost every one of his crewmates he now signed a Sartosan commodore's articles. Choosing to stay with the Sartosans was a decision he was later glad of when he learned of the Greenskin Corsairs’ massacre at the hands of Khurnag's Waagh! Those who now remained of Gudyag’s original crewmates were scattered throughout Volker’s fleet, serving different captains, partly because they struggled to get on with each other partly because the Sartosans did not want too many burly orcs serving in any one particular crew.

An exception had been made for the goblin boss Bagnam Fark, for although he commanded a large ship and a full greenskin crew, they were almost all goblins, and the Sartosans found it hard to imagine that they could cause anything but minor annoyance to Volker’s fleet should they become troublesome. Fark had an unusual way with words and had haggled his way into serving with the fleet. Admiral Volker seemed to have the notion that having the goblin boss in his fleet would come in useful, although exactly how, whether strategic, tactical, diplomatic or for some other reason, only the admiral knew. Captain Anssem now pondered whether the goblins were included in the fleet for just such a situation as this, for who better to throw against the earthwork defences of a stubborn and desperate foe than goblins? While the Sartosan men, dwarfs and orcs poured lead-shot into the mix, the goblin mob could fight their way into the defences. If they failed, nothing of importance had been lost. If they succeeded, then well and good. And either way, the more casualties they suffered, the better.

As the rag-tag army passed by below, several of the marching pirates glanced up at the three men watching them from the roof.

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Anssem did not need to be able to see their faces clearly to know that they wore angry expressions. Most in the fleet were of a like mind with Harrie. Very few were keen on fighting the remnant Luccinan army when there was no loot to be gained. Having to march by the captain of the one crew ordered to stay in the city was like rubbing salt in their wounds.

“I’ve seen enough,” said the Captain. “Let’s go below.”
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Post Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:36 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Lovely as always, Padre. Your stories are always as beautiful even as your photographs, which is no mean feat at all. Thank you!

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Post Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:45 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Kudos Padre. I have been away. I shall return soon. Keep it up.
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Post Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:40 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Thanks Symphonic and Grungni (Shaun). Once again I am energised by your comments. Grungni, if you can't proof read the whole, or even much of it, I would be happy for you to send literally one typo you have spotted, as that would be one typo down!

I am spending today sorting out the game for this evening. I have some (basic) new scenery, and a lot of sorting of lists, reading of army rules, unpacking of both armies, and embarrassingly, I am gonna have to skim read the rules. The combination of having played since 1st ed in 1983 and having not played a game in a good few months leaves me really muddled in my memory of 8th ed rules!!!!

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Post Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:06 pm

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Bloody pirates! Wonderful as always, fantastic visuals and writing.
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Post Sun Mar 15, 2020 1:00 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Thanks ever so much Mikeyboy. I hope you think the following is as good! 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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… 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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 …

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… 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 …

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… 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.

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

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… 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!
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Post Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:21 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

Brilliant! Well done, Padre. Your reports are always a joy to read and this is no exception. Realizing the pike were veterans of the battle against the vampires, and that they had a feeling the same circumstances could turn this battle against them was absolutely the icing on the cake! Very well done, sir!
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Post Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:47 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

He called it, “Mine.”

That and the immediately preceding sentence stand out as just excellently crafted. Love the battle reports!


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Post Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:56 am

Re: Tilea IC2401 (Campaign#8)

^Yes! This! And his response: "Because it is."
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