Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WOTR Batrep: Disaster on the White Mountains

We haven't squared off in a while but last week Andy dropped by to give me a game 1000 pt WOTR game.
He had (the forces of Dol Guldur): Khamul the Easterling, (allied) Durbuurz, two coy Castellans of Dol Guldur, two formations of two coy Orc Stalkers, two formations of four coy Morranan Orcs, one formation of five coy Orcs with 2HW. 

I took (the Army of Gondor): Aragorn, Faramir, one formation of five coy Axemen of Lossarnach. one formation of four coy Warriors of Minas Tirith, one formation of four coy Warriors of Anfalas, one Formation of three Coy White Mountain Rangers, two formations of three and four coy Knights of Minas Tirith and one formation of four coy Archers of Gondor.

Both of us had gone for a bit of troop variety and Andy had a cool theme going with the forces of Dol Guldur. We used one house-rule (we'd always house-rule this) and a hero can always 'Will of Iron' for no cost, as long as he has at least one might point remaining. 

We wanted to keep it simple so lined up our forces to fight to the death (of see who is ahead when we ran out of time.) I had a lot of troops so put my Knights between gaps in the center, occupied a wood anchoring my left flank (where ambushing stalkers were bound to appear) and set up the Rangers to occupy that ruin in turn one.

As the sun dawned on the White mountain slopes, our lords Aragorn and Faramir gave a cry and urged us forward. Aragorn used all of the cunning of his Ranger heritage and stole the march on the enemy, sending the Archers heroically forward, into the abandoned farm and amidst the forces of Mordor. Faramir led his forces out of the woods to our left, ready to do battle with the Orcs  crossing the hills toward us and all along the line banners dipped and horns sounded the advance.

Aragorn bid his archers hold off their fire from the lightly armoured Orcs - seeing the foul form of Khamul stalking amongst them. Instead, accurate Gondorian bow fire whistled into the formation of armoured and ghostly Castellans nearby and actually slew two of the spirits.

Fear drove our enemy toward us, fear of their Nazgul leader. So the cowardly Orcs made a semblance of an advance, while the Castellans only paced about, considering Aragorn's position though the visors of their dread helms.

When it came, the melee was swift and decisive. Khamul had his Orcs join the Castellans in a combined charge on the farm. Anduril glittered as Aragorn led a sallie to throw the charge back but the ghostly grasps of the spirits to their rear felled too many of the stout soldiers of Gondor.

It was a close run thing but the Nazgul had prevailed and Aragorn was forced to turn back from the charge and lead his men in a safe retreat.

The sight of this ignominy caused us to redouble our efforts though - cries of "To the King!" rang out and the line surged forward as one body.

Aragorn joined the Axemen of Lossarnach and quickly conferred with their Captain to plan a daring attack on the Nazgul, Khamul. Cut off the head and the body of the snake would be at their mercy.

As he strode forward, I felt a sense of foreboding, a dark shadow upon my heart. I tried to cry out, to warn my lord, but my voice was drowned out amidst the encouraging cries of my fellows.

It was a vision from our woeful past, Eanur - great King and Champion, challenging the Nazgul.

And so it was, Khamul turned his head and beckoned with his armoured gauntlet - black shadow passed between them. Then Aragorn, heir to Elendil and King of the reunited Kingdom, clutched his breast and fell face down in the snow.

A moan of horror and despair rippled through the assembled ranks. However, the stalwart Captain of Lossarnach had the presence of mind to reorder the ranks, ready to receive the Mordor charge.

The charge was savage. The Goblin Cheiftain Durbuurz spurred the Orcs to ever greater feats and their unwieldy but vicious Halberds, Guissarmes and Man-Cleavers cut through the Axemen ranks, scattering them and leaving them open to a finishing charge.

Faramir, as yet unaware of his liege's demise, had done better against the Orcs of the far Morranan gates. Through his characteristic daring and speed, he managed to beat them to the charge and throw them back in disorder. However, their armour was thick, and made of the black-iron of Mordor. So while Men were victorious on the left flank, many Orcs remained.

In the center, Orcs had left a gaping hole in the Gondorian line.

This meant that the Prince of Ithilien realised that his triumph had actually put him in peril. His success had taken him forward to far and all about him Orcs massed beneath their foul banners.

Yet hope remained, while the rest of the Gondorian army was still fresh. If Faramir could keep his men alive - he would be relieved by the massed forces on the right flank  and may yet salvage something from this dolorous day.

So once more he fought on while scattered bowmen in the centre sought distract Khamul.

Despite sending many times their number of Orcs to their grisly end, it became clear Faramir's state was hopeless. The horns of approaching Knights called out in the distance but between him and this salvation lay a sea of evil Orcs.

And amidst that sea was the Shadow of the East, and Aragorn's bane - Khamul was coming for the Prince.

Faramir was not afraid. He rounded on the Nazgul, ready to cut him down. But it was but a cowardly ruse and he found his company assailed from their rear.
I, Harthor, Reeve of Anfalas, saw him at his end. I was exhorting my men to hurry to the Prince's aid and calling to the Knights at my left to charge the Orc rear, when there, atop the hill I saw it: surrounded by Orcs, the last in the line of Stewards fell - fighting to the last and having held scores of Orcs at bay.

So it fell to me, though low of station I was the one responsible for what remained of our army.
The orcs were too many and some of these men might yet return to wives and mothers. So we staged a fighting withdrawal.

Well that went.... badly. Andy outplayed me from the beginning. I started happily enough - racing forward to get in amongst the enemy. I used to tell myself "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" and that might have been one to remember this time. Andy got to throw those Archers, and Aragorn out. I think that gave him confidence or a feeling of momentum, because next turn he spent the Nazgul's one might point (which is traditionally reserved to survive a duel) to pass a failed focus roll and allow him to cast 'Black Dart' on Aragorn. He then rolled a 6. Fortune certainly favours the bold. Once he did that, good matchups became bad matchups and the center lost and was destroyed, dooming the left along with it. Two turns later and he'd smashed two whole formations and the leaders of the army. 

Well done Andy - I got schooled and you did it by taking your chances and keeping up the pressure. 

Great fun, as always. 

Thanks for reading.


  1. Was a great game, I was most proud of the Orcs charging your cavalry in the side from the forest on the other flank though lol. A very creative write up mate and a hilarious outcome, When you said Im taking Aragorn plus blah blah I thought I was toast! Im converted to the Castellans, got me some extra figures :) Next time I may have a drake;) Andy

  2. Looking forward to the rematch, Andy.

    I really like the Dol Goldur themed force.