We played a four player WOTR game at the Cavs last week. It was technically 750 all vs all but the 'real' objective was that Dragon. Josh had Dwarves and Andy's sweet fortress, Jason had Moria and a Dragon, Andy led forth the Nazgul-less horde of Mordor and I took my old standby, the Veterans of Ithilien, led by the Prince himself and Gandalf's apprentice.
Heart heavy and short of breath we, the veterans of Ithilien, did spy the Drwarven Holdfast at the end of our forced march.
Gandalf's apprentice had received word that the mountain folk were plagued by Spiders, Orcs, Goblins.... even a Dragon. Despite long years at our head imposing King Elessar's will on the East, Prince Faramir was not one to shy from his duty. So we marched once more to the north.
We arrived to a grim spectacle, Dwarven Vault Wardens arrayed in battle-line before their keep and lookouts calling and pointing to something angry and sulfurous in the distance.
Before we could gauge the veracity of the rumours of Dragons, we were suddenly forced to wheel and face Orcish raiders. Orcs, stinking, shambling, armoured and unarmoured... at least the Nazgul were gone and unable to give the shifty-eyed mass a real spine. It looked like the Dwarves would have to bide their time while we saw to these dregs of Mordor.
Hah! we were eager now - real sport to be had, and the men set to with practiced zeal.
Meanwhile, our flank scouts confirmed our worst fears: It was true, a Dragon stalked alongside the Spiders of Moria.
The Dwarves seemed safe in their fortress, and Balin their Chieftain was rumoured to be handy in a fight, so we pressed the assault on the Orcs of the East. A swift blow and the curs would slink back to their holes, leaving us free to aid in the dispatch of that fell beast.
In the second turn of battle, Gandalf's apprentice gave a fearsome cry, blasted forth blinding light, shattered the Orcs with Visions of Woe, and then led the Axemen of Lossarnach in the van of our advance. The ensuing melee saw the first Orcish formation shattered. The spell-binder proved he had hidden talents, wielding his sword in singing arcs as he slew the Orc Shaman leading that rabble. Yet the rest held. Curious, but no matter. It looked to be two of them to one of us, good odds for any Man of the West.
In the distance, it looked like some of the Orcs had split from their main force and rushed to join the Spiders and Goblins besieging the Dwarves in the Fortress. The towers of that Holdfast both sported Ballistae but the marauding Dragon destroyed these with fiery breath and guttural black-magic. Balin, no coward, led a group of his warriors in a sallie to meet the Orcs as they came. They did battle beneath the fortress walls, where Dwarven arrows clattered harmlessly of Morranan armour but Dwarven axes bit true.
As the third hour turned, I could see our Prince had became concerned by the actions of the evil forces arrayed before him. He called out that we needed to send aid to those Dwarves lest they fell while we still waded through the Orcish formations.We redoubled our efforts, seeking to slay the Orcs before we had to break off too many men to aid the Dwarves.
But the fourth hour came and the Orcs still stood. No coward, it was Faramir that took the lead against the Dragon. Yet it held back, unwilling, as spiders rushed forth to block our advance.
Spiders, my skin still crawls at the thought, but we have fought worse in our time. Some Goblin Shaman had been calling more and more of the crawling horrors to the fight but drained and lacking any more strength to flee, he would meet his end here at out Prince's blade.
The deteriorating situation in the center meant that we had to pull more and more men away from the fight with the Orcs, yet the line held firm. Once we were done with that Dragon, we'd be back to finish with our old foes.
It was at the fifth hour that disaster struck. Light was fading and we knew we had to settle this before dusk or the mountains would be alive with crawling reinforcements for evil. So Gandalf's apprentice blinded the Dragon with a spell of pure light and the Prince made ready to duel that dragon. It was a move borne of desperation and as the dust cleared he laid wounded. Worse, Gandalf's apprentice had been preoccupied with spell-casting and allowed our unit to be flanked by spiders. We fought hard but venom, surprise and the disorder created by enemies all about, proved too much and we fell. Many died but I was fortunate to take only a heavy wound and see that our sacrifice was not in vain.
Proving himself the equal of his mighty name, Balin II took advantage of the Dragon's momentary blindness and slew the great Beast. So despite all our losses, the forces of Good had done what they set out for this day.
Hehe. I lost all my heroes but I take no small satisfaction in the sight of that Dragon defeated due to the joint efforts of Gandalf's Apprentice and Balin II.
It was great fun and thanks to all involved.