First Edition Warhammer Battle


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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:03 am

First Edition Warhammer Battle

This is an experiment I had wanted to do for a long time – like a reenactment of my earliest days playing warhammer. By that I mean playing a wargame using first edition Warhammer rules, and using only figures and scenery available at the time. I have tried to make it as ‘authentic’ as possible. There are some anachronisms along the way, but hey, it's a reenactment, and a few anachronisms always creep in, eh? Question is, can you spot them.

First some background for my the 'character' I will be playing.

Let's go back more than two decades … (weird, wibbly-wobbly, going-back-in-time music)

Prologue

It's 1984, and 16 year old ‘Eddie’ thinks of himself as a GamesMaster. He even has the T-shirt.

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He has the right to wear it, oh yes, having run Traveller roleplaying scenarios for years in school and at the weekends (garage gaming for his neighbours, with a gas heater to keep them warm in the winter months). His player' characters have been everywhere, seen it all: springing prisoners from high-tech asteroid prisons to scrabbling for the last handful of bullets in Mad Max type post-apocalyptic wastelands, and much more. Two years back (about 1982 I think) he turned the Traveller combat rules into wargame rules, so that he could fight 1:32 scale Napoleonic battles with Airfix soldiers in his garden, then invading other gardens as more kids joined in. After this came all sorts of wargames, from alternate-universe WWII technological level games with hundreds of the 1:32 Airfix soldiers, to commandos attacking James Bond villains' private armies.

He could have used 1:72 scale figures, getting more for less and not needing anything like the space, but the bigger guys (54mm) just seemed like lots more fun. And they were cheap as the local shops were selling their Airfix stock off. It was heaven when the local 'paper shop' let him into the stock room to choose loads of stuff they wanted rid of, selling it for virtually nothing. It did not occur to Eddie at the time that he was in effect entering Airfix heaven just as the hobby was dying.

When he did go smaller scale it was by converting lots of Airfix tanks and planes (same cheap source) into grav-tanks and space fighters, and inventing a rules system he called, simply, ‘Sci-Fi’. Every other boy in the street got involved, and he became the envy of all them with his flying polystyrene packaging ‘Death Star’ style base, packed with hardware and troops for assault landings in anyone’s garden. This all went pear shaped as soon as the kids incorporated 'nukes' into the games so that entire garden empires could be reduced to ash. If just one missile evaded the anti-missiles, perhaps using it’s piggy backing anti-anti-missile-missiles to make sure it got through (the boys never modeled a missile without adding little defensive missiles onto it's back - thus anti-anti-missile-missiles), then what was the point of modelling and painting those armies? All one really needed was a missile launcher, what the boys called a 'silo' (in other words a deoderant lid painted in camouflage colours hidden under the flowers), and a missile. Boom!

But I don't want to show you photos of all those things, instead I want to show you pictures of the particular form of Traveller derived wargame really relevant here - what he and the lads called 'medieval'. Knights, bowmen, catapults, etc. This once involved spending weeks secretly preparing lollipop siege towers while his neighbour’s dad secretly made a castle. Days spent worrying whether or not the towers would be tall enough to reach the neighbour’s as yet unseen parapets. Thankfully they did, just, and a massive siege game taking a full afternoon ensued. All that work for one afternoon!

The figures were all 54mm, and his armies included Britains’ knights (1847 onwards, but these little fellers from the 1970s) ...

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... and Timpo knights (producing plastic figures from 1954 until they ceased operations in 1978) ...

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...allied with many a painted Airfix man-at-arms (bought in 1979), from longbowmen ...

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... to halberdiers, axemen, swordsmen and morning star wielders.

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He did not know it at the time, but these 'medieval' games were like an apprenticeship for a certain fantasy battle game that was just about to be invented and which would one day invade his world big style. So it was that in 1983, something happened that was to change everything. He bought a new fantasy wargame called “Warhammer, The Mass Combat Fantasy Roleplaying Game.”

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Warhammer first edition ©1983, Forces of Fantasy ©1984

It was perfect, and promised a whole new direction in his gaming. Very soon he was buying, moulding and painting 25mm lead figures by the score, drawing maps of worlds, regions, cities and wards …

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… and running home-made roleplaying scenarios by the dozen. There was no actual warhammer world, just rules, races and spells. He had to make his own realms. Slowly his fantasy world grew and grew, and in amongst the roleplaying by groups of adventurers, there were battles to fight. Soon, fighting army against army would be as frequent as creeping through dungeons.

Next up, preparing for the battle.
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:08 am

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

Preparation

November 1984

This was to be one of Eddie’s first battles using this year’s new supplement to the Warhammer Rules: “Forces of Fantasy”. He’d already roleplayed and wargamed lots with the basic rules, but this supplement brought much more to the game. It corrected some rules, modified others, and added loads of new troop types and battalions. Now he was putting together a battle scenario for two of his school friends, both newcomers to wargaming. He was going to provide the armies, the scenery, the story, as well as referee the game. Like most Warhammer players, Eddie and his mates always wargamed with a gamesmaster, just like when they roleplayed.

Scenery

Having just converted and repainted an old plastic toy tower from the corner of a castle he’d had from early childhood (King Arthur’s castle, Jean Hoffler/BIG, early 1970s)

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… he decided the scenario would involve an evil, necromantic wizard. Of course, the tower would be the wizard's home, but Eddie wanted a little settlement for servants clustered around its base, so he needed more scenery. First there was his snap together Airfix ‘Le Haye Sainte’ 1:72 scale farmhouse model (produced 1974 – 1980) which seemed perfect.

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Then to add a few more buildings (for one farmhouse and yard did not seem enough of a settlement) he found out his first plaster-moulded Linka buildings (Linka, 1979 onwards).

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These were very delicate things, made a little stronger by glueing cardboard behind the segmented wall sections, but were very satisfying hobby projects indeed. Pouring the plaster and water into the moulds, letting them dry, then very much enjoyed the act of carefully popping them out of the moulds. It really felt like you were building something.

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There was another piece of scenery he was wondering about, but could not decide on whether he wanted to use it – his 1:72 scale Airfix, Roman fort (available 1969 onwards):

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He would make a decision whether or not to use it later.

The Army of Evil

Now Eddie had to write up the Battalion lists. He started with the bad guys, and decided that two battalions of approximately 1000 points would be sufficient for the battle.

First up was the necromancer and his Undead battalion …

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'Full on' necromancers (of mastery 3 or 4) cost way too much, so Eddie decided he would have a mere acolyte as the dweller in the tower. This type was mastery level 2 and would hopefully roll enough spells to make up for the still quite large points cost. Wizards get to pick their spells, but not how many they have from each level. (In the Book of Battalions, a black and white very soft covered supplement for Forces of Fantasy with example armies in, there was an army of 3 battalions called the Conjurations of the Insane Necromancer Colin. The first battalion, of 1000 pts value, consisted solely of … well … Colin.)

Eddie had to admit to not being certain how to generate the other characteristics (like Leadership and Will Power etc) for the acolyte, because the character gen' rules didn't list necromancer as an option, so he decided he would just make them up (using the character creation rules as a guideline) as he was the gamesmaster. Colin the Insane Necromancer had a full set (Int, Cl, WP and Ld) and they were all high, which can’t have come from random roles. He had also noticed that every other battalion section told the player how to generate a Leadership factor for the leader of every regiment (there was always a leader by default, even if not a champion), but the Undead battalion rules did not mention this. Maybe that was because all Undead regiments needed a Champion (a character) to lead them, in which case then he would have to create characteristics for them too. Later.

To represent the Necromancer he used a Citadel miniature of an evil elf sorcerer. She’d do, even if she was playing the part of a human male. Colin would just have to be a delicate sort of chap.

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The rest of the army would use a mixture of Citadel, Essex and Prince August figures. Here are the Skeleton Riders – Essex Miniatures figures (1980’s onwards)

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These were just about his favourite figures, having caused some mayhem as roleplaying NPCs. He was looking forward to seeing how they’d do in battle.

His main skeleton regiment was to be 30 strong (10 more than the maximum of 20 recommended for undead in the FoF booklet “Fighting Fantasy Battles”). But hey, it’s a fantasy world. This regiment was to consist of the newest figures he had, the latest Citadel skeletons …

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… which he had painted since buying them in October.

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His champions would contain a few of these new figures too, as well as a fine Mounted Undead Champion also from Citadel …

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The rest of his force would be made up of Citadel skeleton archers (with a smattering of Essex - or, actually, are they Grenadier? I honestly am not sure.) …

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… and a 20 strong regiment of Prince August moulded figures (produced in Ireland from 1976 onwards) he had made himself using lead ingots melted on the cooker in the kitchen and carefully poured into the rubber moulds. Mum turned out to be not too happy with this alchemical procedure and so later figures were to be made using a little calor gas stove in the back garden! These ones had turned out ok, he thought …

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He had more Prince August skeletons but thought he had better save these as the necromancer might actually manage to raise some during the battle.



The second evil battalion would be Red Goblins, which according to their fluff are the kind bred by wizards to do their bidding and to serve as their soldiers. Just right for this scenario:

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The leadership factors would be filled in (all D3) before the game. Once again there was a variety of figures in this battalion, though two sets of three-figure Prince August ‘orc’ warrior moulds and their ‘orc’ wolf rider mould would provide the bulk of the goblins. More exciting, two Regiments of Renown, a feature of the Forces of Fantasy supplement, would supply some elite (in the case in goblins – ‘ish’) troops for the force.

Two regiments of 30 Prince August warriors each would have standard bearers of a make Eddie never ascertained (he got them second hand from a convention stall). First the plate armoured regiment …

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… and then the red chicken boys.

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Now that’s what I call a fighting banner! These would be supported by a smaller, 20 goblin spear regiment (Eddie’s favourite of their orc moulds), each warrior sporting an ugly face design on his shield (annoyingly this can’t be seen in the picture) …

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The wolf riders were funny looking dudes, with scrawny wolves, but they made the Essex goblin hero look much better in comparison – at least he would stand out …

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The Regiments of Renown were all Citadel Miniatures, the models exactly like the illustrations in the Forces of fantasy book. They were Grom’s Goblin Guard …

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.. and Golgfag’s Ogres, fine and fearsome foes for any fantasy fight. :

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Next: the Good guys.
Last edited by Padre on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:13 am

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

The Good Guys

Now Eddie needed to put together a force to fight the Necromancer’s evil army. Once again he would create it from the collection of stuff he’d been putting together over the last year, but this time there would be very few Citadel Miniatures figures in the army. (Note: This is not due to me not having more old figures, but because these were the figures we used at the time. The idea that you played Warhammer with only citadel figures had not yet occurred to anyone!)

This army needed two battalions – the King’s and the Baron’s. Eddie would worry about names, personalities and background when he wrote up the scenario. For now he simply needed about 2000 points of 'Men of the West'. The first would be the (petty) King’s own force, including his handful of noble knights, his royal men at arms, and large contingents of his labouring subjects carrying the longbows they are required by law to practise with from youth.

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The King would have a wizardly adviser with him – let’s face it, you’d want someone like this helping out when facing an evil mage and his magical army. His majesty would also ride upon the best destrier in his little realm, alongside his nobles (as was right and proper)) …

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These are Essex Miniatures Knights from the 1980s & a mid-1980s Citadel Mounted Wizard – obviously Gandalf of Shadowfax, although here the famous Mearas is painted … erm, well, black. (This figure is actually from 1985 when Citadel took over the license from Grenadier, in which case I’ve just revealed an historical anachronism. I said before that there had to be a few, otherwise this wouldn;t feel like a real reenactment! Or instead, and I suppose as this is a fantasy reenactment this is both possible and forgivable, I could claim Eddie has a little bit of magic about him, rather like Donnie Darko did ‘at the time’ (!), and has therefore somehow come into possession of a figure from 6 months in the future.)

The king’s longbowmen are numerous and colourful:

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(My memory has failed me regarding the make of these guys. I did a web-search to ID these figures and turned up an image of them, but alas the caption simply said “No idea of the manufacturer”. I know I definitely had them in the 1980s. But did I have them in 1984. I think so.)

Next up, a little regiment of the royal household’s men at arms:

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These are Essex Miniatures, apart from the heavily armoured fellow on the far right – he’s Citadel, from the 1983 Lawful Knights Warrior Knights of Law Speciality Set 5a:

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Eddie has the whole set, painted up, which he uses for his Warhammer roleplaying games …

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… but apart from the one already mentioned, the rest won’t feature in this particular battle.

The last regiment in the King’s battalion is a bunch of somewhat more rustic spearmen – the men of his petty kingdom’s ‘watch’ who, when not soldiering, act as forest and road wardens, gamekeepers etc.

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These figures are another band Eddie made from Prince August moulds, though he has messed about wit their shields and one or two have been converted a little to add a smattering of individuality. Milliput is something Eddie is finding very useful.

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The Baron’s Battalion represents the soldier’s of the king’s most powerful vassal (his cousin), a man who governs the marcher regions and wilder portions of the King’s realm. His force is drawn from those lands, and as such is a little more ‘primitive’ than the king's, though the men are probably proportionately more rugged as a consequence.

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The force consists almost entirely of spearmen, either on foot or mounted, apart from a band of serf archers.

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The baron is mounted, like his best warriors, on a sturdy little horse, but unlike them he sports rather more ‘fancy’ armour.

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These are all Warrior Minatures’ Normans (Glasgow, 1973 onwards), but although the Baron – in the centre – is the same figure as the fellow to the left of him on the brown horse - Eddie has once again used milliput to make an otherwise historical Norman look, well, fantasy.

Eddie has been doing quite a lot of milluput conversions recently, altering quite a number of his Warrior Miniatures’ Normans to make them much more individual, better suited to the roleplaying scenarios. Although the following figures don’t feature in the army for this battle, here are three examples. Each picture shows multiples of the same figure, but converted in different ways …

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Anyway, back to the battalion. Next up is the real backbone, the bulk of the baron’s force – three regiments of massed spearmen. 80 altogether: 60 armoured men at arms, and 20 lesser warriors without chainmail.

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Once again, these are Warriors Miniatures' Normans, as are the last regiment below.

Finally we have the serfs, carrying normal bows and somewhat less flamboyantly attired than the rest of the army, being in undyed linen and wool (weirdly white and bright – well, that’s fantasy worlds for you).

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Next up, the scenario.

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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:06 am

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G ! ! ! ! !

You just made my day. Looking forward to the rest of the report!
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:06 pm

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

Love it! :D

Those Prince August models certainly take me back to heady days of melting down wonderfully cast Citadel and Grenadier models into rather dodgely cast Prince August models. That may seem like madness now but at the time it made a lot of sense. I think. ;)
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:31 pm

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

Now that's old school even for oldhammer heh.

Good job :)
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:59 pm

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

Planning the Scenario

Eddie is setting this battle in his own invented Warhammer World, to create some background history for the lands around a city named Covahesh. The current ruler is King Rathard II, and Eddie decides this will be an historical battle from the time of Rathard II’s great grandfather of the same name, King Rathard I (the ‘petty king’ described in the above army lists).

Covahesh sits upon the Lonir River, just north of the Great Tumel Forest and west of the Plain of Lisbal. Baron Clarynn, commander of the second battalion, is the ruler of the eastern parts of this plain, his fiefdom stretching northwards from the plains to the foothills of the Byralz mountains (an area known as Mansoo), and south and east as far as the Uthral River, including the western mounds of the Green Odoth Hills.

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(This map is, like the figures, from 1984. I have too much stuff, especially when you consider I haven't used this map, or the ringbinder file it was a part of, since 1985!! In 1986, or thereabouts, I magically turned this region and its neighbours into part of the Border Princes - a lucky match in terms of shape and nature. Thus I entered the actual Warhammer World.)

This all fits the sort of regiments the King and the Baron lead. The Baron’s riders are from the plains, his footmen from the settlements in the hills. The King’s handful of knights rule fiefs closer to the city, and have brought some of their vassals, while the smaller regiment of men at arms and longbowmen are from the city itself.

The ‘good’ Characters

King Rathard (Hero)

WS..BS..Str.T...W...I...A
6.....5...2...B...3....8..2

Using the Player Character rules from the basic rules, he rolls the following other characteristics for the king

Cool (2D6) 8
Intelligence (1D10) 9
Will Power (1D10) 2
Leadership (half D6, round down, add 1 if rank = knight or greater) 2

The stats seem to indicate a quiet, scholarly type, who is sometimes brave enough to ‘bear hardships’ but more like a martyr and not in the heroic way that inspires soldiers to follow - his Leadership of 2 is not enough to mean his stats add any modifiers to Fear, Terror or Morale rolls. The lack of will power does not indicate much in the way of determination, however, so probably the sort of man who changes his mind a lot, and leaves things incomplete. Yet he does have the basic stats of a hero, so he must be young, fit, from a family of warriors. And his title alone, being a king, means he will add +2 to morale tests of the unit he is leading.

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King Rathard I outside one of the city gatehouses, attired for war in the latest fashion armour, wearing the yellow and blue colours of his House. This gate is guarded by men at arms who serve the king’s knight seen here on the king’s left.

Baron Clarynn (Mighty Hero)

WS..BS..Str..T...W...I...A
..7...5....3...C....3...11..3

Cool 6
Intelligence 2
Will Power 6
Leadership Factor 3

A leadership factor of 3 will have an effect, but such a low Intelligence means if he were a PC in the roleplaying version of the game he could not learn more than one skill! This guy is pretty thick! His other scores are average, so one can only assume men are inspired by him due to his Mighty Hero physical attributes and his fighting prowess on the field of battle.

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The brutish Baron Clarynn rides out on a hunt at the head of his retainers.

Eddie likes these characters, and didn’t feel the need to ‘nudge’ the results of the rolls (a GM’s prerogative, he believes). A weak-willed but young and clever king makes him think of his O Level Eng’ Lit’ Shakespeare studies and King Richard II. Whereas, Baron Clarynn just sounds like a thug. And why not?

The Bad Guy

The troublesome minor-necromancer, one Master Hobollig, has occupied and repaired (as well as his goblins could do so) the ruined tower of Baal in the eastern reaches of Green Odoth. This used to be the home of a wizard who was lord of the relatively treeless valley between Bendaw forest and the hills. Eddie has already decided he wants this necromancer to rely on something other than his own necromantic skills (which, as he is only an acolyte, are limited) to give him command of such a force. Perhaps it is something to do with the tower, which is the reason the necromancer occupied it?

An idea is forming in Eddie’s mind. While that idea brews, we had best take a look at the Necromancer:

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Master Hobollig is an acolyte necromancer. Some stats are derived from the entry in the Forces of Fantasy supplement, others are derived from the basic rules Characters and Magic Book, with a bit of GM interpretation needed where things are not clear (Like how a Wizard’s Constitution is his Will Power + 2D6, but is also 2D4 x his mastery level +4, but is also listed simply as 12. In truth, these aren’t exactly contradictory – the first refers to starting player characters, the second to random NPC generation, the third to the Undead Acolyte entry for the battalion. But they do mean you have to think a bit about what you’re doing.)

Master Hobollig

WS..BS..Str..T...W...I... A
..4....3...2... B.. 2....7....1

Cool 7
Intelligence 10
Will Power 4
Leadership 1

Mastery 2
Constitution 12

Non-necromancy spells – 1D3 at Mastery Level 1 (1), 1D2 at Mastery Level 2 (2)
Level 1..Windblast (24”, knock unit to ground, preventing shoot/move next turn)
Level 2..(a) Lightning Bolt (24”, Str 4)
..........(b) Mystic Mist (once/day, 12” diameter, slows units caught to 1” random movement)

Necromancy spells - 1D2 at Mastery Level 1 (2), 1D2-1 at Mastery Level 2 (1)
Level 1..(a) Command Undead (extend control range to 24” for 3D6 turns)
..........(b) Hold Undead (forbid them to approach within 12”, lasts 3D6 turns per mastery level)
Level 2.(a) Raise Dead (summon 2D6 zombies or 3D6 skeletons once per day)

Hobollig got lucky with the rolls, even getting a Level 2 necromancy spell. Eddie decides he can let them all stand. A player (or GM) can simply choose the spells from the list, but the necromantic lists are short (three level 1 and two level 2!). Eddie picked Hold Undead simply because it suited the story – it was the spell Hobollig would learn before even approaching the Tower of Baal. From the stats Hobollig seems a very cunning sort of fellow (maximum intelligence for a human), and has the maximum number of Necromancy spells available to him at both levels, so he has studied the art well so far.

Back to that idea. Eddie wants the scenario to revolve around defeating Hobollig, obviously, but wants to incorporate the location as part of the victory mechanics – to make it more than a simple army versus army battle, and to explain why Hobollig has occupied a tower within reach of natural enemies.

The Tower of Baal

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This ancient, yet unexceptional, tower was once occupied by a wizard of great repute. He spent his entire life studying the art of alchemy and (secretly) the darker arts of necromancy, yearning to find not just an elixir of life, but a potion that reinvigorated the dead, returning them to life. Finally, he fashioned a chymical compound which solidified into a solid lump of visibly energetic matter. When he channelled magical power into it, however, all hell broke loose. The scattered corpses he had been using for years in his experiments, discarded and left to rot throughout the tower until some were almost entirely skeletal, all burst into un-life – each and every one filled with hatred for the necromancer who had imprisoned, starved, tortured, killed and then horribly reinvigorated them with incantations. Infused with tremendous energy they attacked him and tore him to pieces.

After this the valley became a hellish place of nightmares, depleted of all living things by the nightly bands of meandering undead that issued from the tower. As the years went by, the power of the necromantic stone diminished, until only ghosts inhabited the shadows of night and life could return to the valley.

Master Hobollig learned of the place, sifting through garbled myth and legend to ascertain the truth concerning its location and past. He came to the tower to se if he could make use of the stone himself to boost the power of his own necromantic conjurations and spells. His approach to experimentation was rather more cautious than the ancient necromancer (helped by the fact that he was still – mostly – sane). He slowly, carefully re-empowered the stone. After several quiet months, during which his growing band of red goblin and Ogre mercenaries guarded the valley from unwanted incursions, or curious travellers, he has finally learned how to allow the stone’s energies to flow in a controlled manner, so that he retained mastery of the undead that were so invigorated.

Then, just as he was congratulating himself and wracking his brains to try to recall what it was he wanted to do when he had control of an undead army (he had carelessly forgotten along the way!) he learned from his mercenary goblin scouts that an armed force was approaching from the west.

The Battle Scenario

King Rathard’s wizardly adviser knows about the history of the Tower of Baal, and has (correctly) assumed that something remains there that is empowering the necromancer’s incantations. He has told the king that if he can get inside the tower, he can destroy the source of the necromancer’s power. For this he has prepared his own alchemical mixture to pour upon the stone and shatter it.

Victory will thus be determined by whether or not the stone is destroyed. If it is destroyed, the Undead have to start taking two Instability tests per turn instead of one, or, if it is night, one test instead of none!

The wizard will need successfully to cast ‘Detect Object’ once inside the Tower, then spend a turn getting to it and destroying it. He has told the king and baron about the stone and his mixture, so that if he was to be incapacitated the king or the baron could try to do what he intended, though if they do try they have only a 4,5,6 chance of succeeding – considering they don’t have his magical sense or knowledge, and they don’t have the Detect Object spell.

The king’s forces will attack in daylight, as undead are not subject to instability at night. This is a crucial part of their plan. Normally a GM must roll 2D6 to determine how many turns of the battle will be fought before twilight (2-12 spread, average of 7), but considering that the king’s forces are deliberately trying to attack early in the day, Eddie decides to increase the minimum and average number of turns by rolling 4D3 instead (thus a 4-12 spread, with an average of 10). Twilight lasts two turns, after which darkness proper falls.

So, Eddie now needs to prepare the ‘good’ wizard prepared for this particular mission. Time to roll up stats and choose spells.

Acolyte, the Wizard Raccaltacc

WS..BS..Str...T...W...I...A
.4....3.....2....B....2...4...1

Cool 8
Intelligence 8
Will Power 7
Leadership Factor 0

Mastery 2
Constitution 14

Spells – 1D4 at Mastery Level 2 (3), 2D4 at Mastery Level 1 (7)
Level 1..Windblast (24”, knock unit to ground, preventing shoot/move next turn)
...........Blessing (gives person touched a saving throw versus non-magical wounds)
..........Cure Light Injury
..........Detect Hidden Doors
..........Detect Object
..........Fireball (1 ball per mastery level, attack strength 2)
.......... Flight (12” flight)
Level 2..(a) Aura of Protection (4,5,6 saving throw on all wounds on wizard)
..........(b) Hold Door (only Balrog, Great Demon or ‘Smash Door’ spell can break down)
..........(c) Aura of Steadfastness (unit immune to fear/terror, +2 to morale)

Next: The actual battle report.
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:06 pm

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

The Battle, Part One

(Author’s Note: Due to the nature of this project I was going to write this purely as a description of the game and rules, but all three players asked me to write it in my usual ‘story’ style, putting game notes in italics. All three said they don’t read dice-roll and measurement style reports. I bowed to their collective wisdom and proceeded accordingly.)

As the sun rose in the sky that morning, the valley in which the Tower of Baal stood was quiet.

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Yet beyond the western slope all was haste and activity as King Rathard’s army marched as fast as their legs (or their mount’s legs) would carry them. The king had ordered that they must reach the valley as early as possible in the day, thus the army had decamped and begun its advance shrouded in darkness. Knowing the nature of their foe meant this was a frightening time, for the dark was to the undead what daylight was to the living, and so when the dawn came a cheer went up from the army. Less than an hour later they had arrayed themselves and advanced in line over the western shoulder of the valley.

(Note: As per the modified rules for the scenario, 4D3 determined the turns of daylight remaining, during which the undead would be subject to instability – 9. After this would be two more turns of twilight during which battle could continue but the undead would not be unstable, and then darkness would fall and the battle would surely end. So, an 11 turn game then.)

King Rathard rode almost at the centre of the army, and almost directly in front of the Tower of Baal. Baron Clarynn and a company of his mounted men at arms rode behind the king’s noble guard. Nearly all of the king’s own footsoldiers (both his men at arms and one of his longbow regiments) were upon his majesty’s flanks.

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(Note: With deployment anywhere up to 6” from the player’s table edge, the first edition rules didn’t really allow for any depth. As to why the longbow on the far right of the picture are apparently 10” in I have no idea. No-one noticed on the day, so I reckon no-one noticed in our fictional 1984. Or, maybe, no-one cared – it looked right and they were still a long way from the tower.)

The longbow had been ordered to head towards some high ground near the centre of the field from where they might pour arrows upon whosoever they wishes, while out on the very right flank of the army the other of his longbow regiments had been ordered to take advantage of the high ground there right from the initial deployment.

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To their left and below them, the Baron’s second body of riders trotted forwards, slowed momentarily by his regiment of light spearmen. The Baron’s two large regiments of armoured spearmen flanked the King’s main battalion. The Wizard Raccaltacc had decided to advance very cautiously indeed and so rode forwards alone, hidden by a covering copse of trees which he intended to creep through and have a look at the situation at the tower before deciding exactly what to do.

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To his left the Baron’s archers marched in their cheap tunic of undyed wool, while upon the wizard’s right there was the loud fluttering long banner belonging to the King’s more rustic soldiers.

Master Hobollig commanded his forces as best he could to array for battle. The goblins, typically, proved somewhat wilful and contrary in their ways, either forgetting or ignoring some of his commands. Whichever it was, the necromancer was already wondering if he might regret employing such base creatures for his army. In fact it occurred to him in a moment of madness (or clarity) that if he had poisoned their beer the night before he could perhaps now – with the power of the magical stone within the Tower of Baal – have been commanding an equal sized army of zombies, which may well have improved their ability to follow orders.

(Note: The evil forces were divided between Damien and Simon, who both played the role of 14 year old lads from 1984 very well indeed. I myself congratulated them on their authentically stupid arguments several times, especially the way Damien, who commanded the undead, mimed going for the goblin general’s throat every time Simon turned his back.)

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Hobollig found himself outside of his tower arraying his forces when the enemy marched over the hill in to the valley. (Note: The GM hadn’t thought about that when he set up the scenery, and the 6” deployment meant no-one could start in the tower. If a player had asked to do so, for common sense reasons, Eddie would have allowed it, but the players in question were too busy arguing about deploying over the line that had been agreed.)

Most of the skeletons were arrayed on the right flank, with Golgfag’s Ogres very close to the Tower itself. Master Hobollig intended these hulking brutes to stand before the tower and prevent any access. The goblins were massed mostly on the left, with Grom behind them ready to shore up any weak spot that might appear in their lines.

The two little companies of wolf riders took up position on the far, far left, with orders to distract and draw away any forces that might advance up that flank. (Note: The Forces of Fantasy book told Eddie that Red Goblin wolf riders were grouped into little units of 5, so he did so.)

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Master Hobollig, standing with his armoured skeleton guard, now turned to look to his left, and wondered whether Golgfag’s impressive warriors could be relied on the hold the tower.

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And so the battle was to begin.

[Note: As per the rules we tossed a coin for who got first turn. I was a little bit surprised that in a game of piles of dice they rules said toss a coin. There was a moment’s panic as we realised we might not have an authentic coin and the whole experiment might have to stop there and then, but then I found a penny piece dated 1977 in my pocket and it was ‘GAME ON’)

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King Rathard gave the order to advance cautiously, all the better to assess the disposition and intentions of the foe, as well as to see what might be required to gain access to the tower. Out on the army’s right flank a little more haste was being exhibited as the Baron’s second regiment of riders moved directly towards the two tiny wolf-rider units, who seemed a weak foe indeed to their eyes. Archers and light Spearmen did what they could to keep up.

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(Note: This was the first movement phase, another would follow, because everyone was so far from the foe they were thus allowed a second move.)

The Baron trotted forwards behind the King and his knights, still wondering at the King’s supposed wisdom in holding him back until an opportunity arose for him to make a dash for the tower in support of the wizard.

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On the other side of the field Master Hobollig’s forced jigged hither and thither into what seemed to them the best form in which to receive the foe, while the Necromancer’s long dead horse warriors came up on the right flank at a pace, perhaps drawn by the weak magical aura emitted by the wizard Raccaltacc (adorned as he was in magical tokens and amulets, with wizardly spells sitting on the very tip of his tongue). Golgfag the mercenary Ogre led his ‘Rutdroggs’ past the tower, the regiment splitting in two then reforming in front of the building. Behind them Master Hobollig fumbled with his keys as he let himself into the tower – he intended to watch the rest of the battle from the comfort of a window seat.

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On the wicked army’s left, however, considerably less zeal was being exhibited, as both bodies of wolf riders, very much contrary to their orders, turned about and headed off towards the safety of the rear of the grey stoned farm building.

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(Turn 2)

Spurred on by the sight of a foe so easily dismayed as to flee almost before the battle had begun, the Baron’s riders out on the right continued their advance as once more the two foot regiments to their rear did their best to keep up, with some of the longbowmen loosing hurriedly aimed shots at the fleeing wolfriders.

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Meanwhile in the centre of the field the King’s first longbowmen reached the summit of the little hill and immediately set about loosing a volley of arrows at the massed regiment of heavily armoured goblins before them, killing two.

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The Baron’s archers also tried a shot at the skeleton riders (Note: As the riders were not yet within 6” they did not yet cause fear, thus no test was necessary in order to shoot at them. Also there was no modifier for moving and shooting, not when you use your own legs anyway!) The archers all then continued their advance (second movement phase).

King Rathard, his white steed’s yellow barding being easily discerned by his soldiers, came on slowly and surely. Upon his majesty’s immediate right was knight keen on hunting with the crossbow. This fellow, who had entered the field with his bow already spanned (Note: An old house rule we always used back in the 80s), let fly with his quarrel but to no effect.

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Why the death of two plate armoured goblins should so annoy the spear wielding regiment next to them no-one else can ever know, but annoy them it did, for the spear goblins turned and charged smack into the flank of their nieghbours …

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… killing another two of them.

Note: Failed animosity led to this fight, and the lack of anything akin to charge arcs meant that the angry spear goblins simply turned on the spot and charged. Interestingly it was now that we discovered some text that might well be one of the first Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules contradictions …

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RAW thus indicates that the angrier one mob of goblins becomes concerning another mob, the less likely they are to attack. It was obvious that the rules meant for the modifier to be used on the second roll, not the initial one. Also note how the rules go on to explain what happens after a few battles – indicating that these little lead guys are meant to remember grudges from game to game to game! Cool!

While the large foot regiments engaged in their bloody disagreement, the wolf riders scuttled further behind the farmhouse, desperate to hide themselves away from the Baron’s riders. (This was entirely Simon’s decision, as he wanted to role-play what his little guys would be likely to do.)

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As the skeleton horse came on, their purple and red banner fluttering as they did so, its sound almost totally lost amongst the sound of cracking, tendon-less joints …

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… Master Hobollig, having stood muttering incantations just long enough at the first floor window, cast the ancient spell commonly known as ‘Mystic Mist’.

(The spell needs one movement phase’s worth of rest to cast – he had climbed some stairs in this turn's first movement phase, but had rested in the second and thus could legally cast it. 4 points of Constitution later and the spell was automatically cast. Units within the mist move 1” at random, although I do recall we had house rules about units getting out with the aid of members who were already outside!)

The magical mist now formed immediately before the wizard Raccaltracc, its thick miasma extending far enough to cover some of men at arms and archers nearby.

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The Wizard Raccalltrac, wholly engulfed in thick, swirling mist, simply chuckled. (As did Ant.) He knew exactly what spell he would cast next.

End of Turn 2. Up to 9 more to go!
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:29 pm

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

Wow - so much properly old school goodness!

The battle report, background and maps are all amazing but what I really love is the tales of inter-garden warfare - that musy have been a brilliant street to live on :lol:

I never realised how much I miss my old Britains knights and cowboys and injuns!


Which bit of South Yorkshire do you hail from by the way? I reckon we'll need a bit of a Yorkshire meet up at some point. Vapnartak in York might be a good idea... :mrgreen:
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Post Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:56 pm

Re: First Edition Warhammer Battle

Not South Yorkshire, just south of you two. I hail from West Yorks, near to Pontefract.

Yeah, my childhood was ace. I was the oldest boy in the street and all the others just followed my lead, thus we had about 5 dedicated wargamers, in the sense that 10-16 year old kids before Warhammer and without any real historical rules could be. We just made our own rules. If it rained the garage floor would become a weird region where 4 or 5 WW2 tech level countries all bordered each other, locked in a forever war.

When is Vapnartak?

And ... long question coming up ... am I right in assuming the word 'Wapentak' written all over my 17th century Yorkshire maps is a variant spelling of the same word? (Originally bashing weapons and shields together as part of a meeting, became the subdivisions of the three Ridings of Yorkshire, equivalent of the 'hundreds' in the south)?

No idea why I am asking now, here. Stream of consciousness I suppose.
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