Sunday, October 16, 2011

WOTR Batrep: Carn Dum vs Rohavian Bandits

Back in the mists of history, James and I did battle @ the Cavs. We like a fun and fair game so used my houserules. More on them in a moment, though the most significant impact right out of the gates was that all Rohan Cavalry counted as having Lances. So he actually had a reason to take Riders over Knights. Being the simple-soul that he is (well he understands the main thing "if you aren't having fun you are doing it wrong!") he just fielded all his Cav in two big lumps and then padded out the points with heroes and some infantry. I was taking the Witch-King. So of course he took Eowyn.

The Bandits of Rohavian - Apparently they claim to hail from Rohan. So we shall add illiteracy - alongside cattle-rustling, over-familiarity with livestock and being friendly to elves - to the long list of that people's faults. They were led by some head-cattleherd, though he grandiosely styles himself 'King', named Theoden. Further, unlike the meritocracy that characterises the Carn Dum Plateau, he had his niece, some bint named Eowyn, and his idiot nephew Eomer, serve as his lieutenants. Nepotism, pure and simple, Theoden probably got his current job because his father had done it. Madness. They probably still live in wood houses because they can't master the civilised art of laying square cut stone!
That is a lot of riders in only a couple 0f baskets, if you take my meaning.

Well, whether or not they had the wit to see their doom as it approached, the fate of these particular bandits was sealed this day. The over-lord of these lands, the Fell Witch-King himself, has come forth to lead our punitive expedition. 
After a little discussion about houserules (his initial position was "so, you are forever saying we should always be taking Royal Knights, right?"), James took the following (dispositions of forces in pic above):

Eowyn (hidden location)
Two formations of nine coy Riders of Rohan (Eomer led the left wing, Theoden the right)
One formation of eight coy Oathsworn militia

I took:
The Witch-King
The King (selected by his peers on the basis of merit) (Thrydan)
Buhrdur (ambush)
One formation of five coy Carn Dum Berserkers
Two formations of four coy Carn Dum Berserkers
One formation of three coy Orc Bow
One formation of six coy Orc w 2HW
One Carn Dum Siege Bow
Here it is, the moment I swear off 'Wings of Terror', for a while.
Turn one saw priority go to the Rohavian Bandits who - led by the feckless braggart Eomer - charged headlong forward to our left. In his wisdom and foresight, the Witch-King had provided several score dirty and expendable Orcs to blunt this intial thrust. So it proved, first the magics of our Wise Lord led some Orcs with Polearms to flank the onrushing horsemen, then more Orcs softened them up by peppering their mounts with black-fletched arrows.
No man may kill me, no man may kill me, no man may kill me!
Seeing his end, and the end of all who had foolishly entrusted their lives to him, Eomer rounded upon the Witch-King as he drew near. Some would call it courage, but even a rat fights fiercely when cornered. He landed several blows upon our beloved leader. However, the Witch-King loomed magisterially and bellowed "no man may kill me!" Sure enough, Eomer was laid low, abandoning his men before their melee with the Orcs. Perhaps it was for the best though, despite Eomer having led them into a traps and getting flanked by infantry, some managed to survive this round of the melee without him to drag them all down.

These abandoned ruins seem safe.
 In the next turn of Battle, our initial successes emboldened the brave heroes of Carn Dum to surge forward and exploit the opportunity created by our Orcish shock-troops. No doubt unnerved by the manly spectacle of so many stalwart and disciplined Huscarls advancing as one, the remaining Bandit foot ran for the safety of a ruin near where they began the battle. Hiding before they fight had truly begun, eh? Little did they know that, taking advantage of their lack of care to reconnoiter their surroundings, the wily Troll Buhrdur had hidden himself there!

Meanwhile,  the foolish 'King' Theoden busied himself destroying a single small artillery piece in a wood. As he made that show of being busy elsewhere, the rest of his riders were first peppered with more Orc arrows, then hit with artillery fire, ensorcelled by the Witch-King and finished in a brief and bloody charge by his Orcs. At this point, I remember some woolly-brained philosopher type saying: "Every care must be taken that or auxiliaries, being stronger then our citizens, do not become too powerful for them or they will become savage beasts." But I am sure we have nothing to worry about in this case, right?
Quick, if we strike first they wont know what to do!

Enough of this needless maundering of thought though. On to turn three. Not to be outdone by sniveling Orcs (I hear they were made of Elves, no greater insult could be made to one's parentage!) our Brave Huscarls Surged forward, Witch-King at our head.
Oh right, turn based game. Lets just stand and watch then.
Rash and foolhardy as ever, the Bandits made the first charges. This left things open for the disciplined Elite Infantry of Carn Dum to execute a well-planned pincer upon the onrushing riders, without suffering counter-charge from the rabble of Bandit militia who had emerged from that ruin.
No man may... ruh roh.

Then it happened. That sneaky bint Eowyn lept up behind our great-leader, as he bravely led at the head of our men, and stabbed him in the back. After it was all over, she could be seen capering about shrieking "I am no man!"

In our houserules, the Witch-King gets the 'No Man may Kill Me' fate from Battlehosts for free. This served him well vs Eomer. However, it seemed fun to have this negated by female characters and, knowing that, we HAD to try it out matching Eowyn and the Witch-King at every opportunity. Bad time to roll badly. 

With the loss of the Witch-King, our men were momentarily disheartened and the Cowardly so-called 'King' Theoden cut a swath through one unit as he sought to save his own skin and at least some of his men.

Oh we would make him pay. Not that we didn't have things totally going according to plan, you understand. Our Dark Lord absolutely meant for that to happen - to let us stand on our own two feet, or something.
Right, those Orcs look easy.

Turn four saw the word sent to Buhrdur. He tends to not read the messages so well but eating the messenger often gives him a sudden rush of energy and rouses him from wherever we have him hiding.

Without the Witch-King to 'motivate' them, the Orc troops ran for the trees, just like the Elves they came from. Theoden led his remnants in a thundering charge on the Cowering Orc archers, while we men decided to use the lull in the battle to assist Buhrdur with the Bandit militia near the ruin and let the riders have the craven and cowering Orc archers.

Taking care to duck each of the bellowing troll's swings, our disciplined troops herded the bandits toward the angry troll then we forced marched toward Theoden's cavalry on our right flank. There we had a fresh warband laying ready behind a hill, wating for him to stumble into their clutches. Recon, people! Buhrdur smashed up his bandit quarry before permitting what was left to run in disorder to that ruin behind them. Better to let them bunch up once more or we could still be chasing down the last one by Dusk!
Oh I see, another trap.

Turn five and pushed forward once more, to end it.  The militia ran from the ruin after losing to the troll and there failed to muster the nerve even to reform their ranks. Likewise, far across the battlefield, we could see where feckless Eomer got his foolhardy nature. His uncle had been so preoccupied running down a few Orcs that we left scattered in his path (who nonetheless made a good fist of slowing them down) that he didn't notice using closing about him with our Huscarls. At the same time, Buhrdur was joined by a sudden Orc attack on the Bandits flank.

Slightly worrying how those Orcs keep chopping down men and seem to relish combat, eh?

No stop it. There is nothing to worry about there. I'm sure  they don't even breed that fast anyway...
Redshirt 1 (on end corner of base): "I have come to reconsider my career choices."

There it is, the end of the militia and a complete and unmitigated success to our mission against the Bandits. The Witch-King has fallen but we all witnessed it, the cowardly Bandits were aided by an Elven Host. He felled them all but their foul and unmanly sorceries laid him low, at the end. I mean really, some claim he was killed by a few cattle-rustlers but the story is too outlandish to even credit.

Great game as always, James. I think there is just nothing else for it - no 'Wings of terror' (unless I start losing heaps, then I will fight like a cornered Eomer!) for me. What are cavalry players supposed to do against infantry armies that can race around expendable Orc units, faster than a horse can run, and flank them easily. Sorry I took so long to get this up but we'll have to try for another game after Conquest... anything but the Gorogoroth Orc horde.

Thanks for reading. 

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