Andy and I are both suitably inspired by the very cool Hobbit Movie.We haven't got to the REALLY (in a wargaming sense) good bits yet but we can see the wargaming possibilities. Azog/Bolg and the Orcs of Gundabad, the Undead Legions of Dol Goldur, the Men of Rhovanion, the Stout Dwarves, the Noldor (and Wood Elves, once we see how PJ does them). So I made up a couple of lists - Dol Goldur and Rhovanion, Andy gave some feedback and tweaks, and we had a 1200 game of WOTR to give them a try. I took the Men of Rhovanion, with some Dwarven Allies: Radagast, BEORN (RWWAAAR), Greenwood Rangers, Woodsmen, Warriors from Esgaroth and Dowinion and some Mercenary Rohirrm Exiles. Andy took his beloved forces from the Tower of Sorcery, totally reworked into a new format with Twilight Ringwraiths, the Witch King, revamped Spirits and Orcs and foul Spiders to support them. I think he also had some sneaky ambushing Orcs from Gundabad. Snorri, from the Red Fortress Ministry of Truth, was there as an observer on the Witch-King's staff and gives the following account of that clash:
After thoroughly reforming the peaceful, hardworking, pastoralists of the Carn Dum plateau, the visionary Witch King has set out to raise a new force at the cool place he (or it is rumoured... his Dark Master) took from some of those slimey Elves.
First Major change is a new unit: The Twilight Ringwraith. It is Mastery 2, has the Spells of Dismay, along with Black Breath and Pall of Night, two might, Epic Cowardice and any one special rule out of those for the Tainted, Dwimmerlaik, Shadowlord, or Undying. 125pts.
In that place, dwell all manner of Spirits. The weak men who follow the Valar, and their lackeys, will flee in terror before these new weapons.
Spirits were pretty much a joke under the core WOTR rules. Seemed like a good time to fix this. In the new lists for our Hobbit inspired expansion - Any Spirit formation that has 'We Stand Alone' now has the ability to move at the double. Further, costs have dropped and Inspiring Leader now no longer works vs Terror or Spirit Grasp.
The Witch-King has also had a few tweaks: He gains the 'No Man May Kill me' Fortune from battlehosts, has his fight increased to 6, gains Epic Cowardice, his Epic Strike is toned down (either raising his fight back to his starting level, or adding +2), and he knows all spells of Dismay and Darkness - aside from 'Wings of Terror'.
However, from here up in my Tree - so as to best observe and report on the progress of our fraternal allies, you understand - I admit to some misgivings. It is rumoured a giant, skin-shifting bear stalks these woods...
Facing the forces of Dol Goldur were the decadent and weak remnants of the Elf-Loving men. And some Elf-Hating Dwarves they had bribed to show up, likely to betray by having them die first, and so collect no pay....
On the left were mercenaries from Esgaroth, then some wood-cutters with bows, the luckless Dwarven Mercenaries , then some more Woodsmen with bigger bows, more Mercenaries (this time on horses) and some more men provided by the wine merchants of Dorwinion.When we abolish private wealth throughout Middle-Earth, truley these pawns of the Valar will have no one to fight for them!
One of the Wraiths had the honour of being the Vanguard and, under the Witch-King's stern gaze, his Orcs surged forward toward our enemies, with some Ghostly riders following in their train.
The treachery of the cowardly Westrons was quickly revealed though. In defiance of all the laws of decency, they shot up the Ghostly Cavalry with arrows AND then it turnout out that some of their archers (elf-lovers all) had Longbows!
Caught by this deceitful surprise attack, the spiders on the right flank were decimated by bowfire.
The men of Rhovanion are more lightly equipped than the men of the West who fight in the War of the Ring. Even the heavily armoured troops that appeared today are only defense 4(6) and cost 25pt. The Woodsmen who fight amongst them are sometimes armoured only in leathers. They do boast some fine bowmen though: 40 pt Longbowmen that can ambush.
At the same time, it was revealed that that arch-lackey of the western tyrants had parked his rabbit-sled in the rear and was up in the front, munching mushrooms and causing all manner of localised weather disturbances around my vantage-point. Several of the Castellans of Dol Goldur were tragically killed by falling branches.
One of those branches had me on it and a Castellan managed to break my fall. At least his loss was not in vain.
Meanwhile, on the Rhovanion right flank, the class divisions amongst the Merchant's paid lackey's on the one-hand, and the foot soldiers who had to follow them on the other, became evident. There are no borders between the honest workers of Middle Earth and so the men press-ganged into fighting for this day were understandably reluctant to join battle.
No matter the Woodsmen's reliance on Cowardly bowfire, our ... brave.... Ghsotly Cavalry surged forward to crush them swiftly. Up there, high on that hill, where all can see them, in front of two units of Archers. As our ferocious Orc Brethren closed on the stunted Dwarves-for-hire, we were dismayed to see the Ghosts cut to pieces by bowfire from the hill and the men hiding amongst the trees. Who knows what they do in there, with the Elves? Already the natural dissension amongst those motivated only by greed became evident and the men of Esgaroth failed to take up their positions to guard the Woodsmen's flank. Our own revolutionary fervour/abject terror is a far more sure glue to hold a force together.
The glorious Witch-King was not about to let the loss of the Ghosts go un-avenged, as he revealed Orc Ambushers in the rear of the Rhovanion lines and ordered his own Orc Guard to advance on where the Crazy Brown wizard was capering about and shooting beams of light inthe eyes of the stern Dol Goldur Castellans. In amongst falling branches, several had been blind and forced to retire from the fight. See how low these 'Wizards' are? trying to tie up our forces with wounded?
No doubt given false hope by that hedge-wizards trickery, the cocksure Mercenary commander of the exiled Rohirrm made to charge the advance of the Witch-King's Orc Guard.
Who knows what crimes he was exiled from his homeland for?
He quickly met a just end, though. As the Witch-King put out his arm and pointed his finger - of JUSTICE. Suddenly, the Mercenaries were bereft of their leader.
Celebrations were short-lived though.Suddenly there was an almighty bellowing from the Orc rear.
If it wasn't for those toy-dogs he likes to keep around, Beorn could easily have snuck up on me as I faithfully kept to my important role of watching at a safe distance to report on this clash of good vs evil.
Rumours are that somehow a unit of Rohirrish Mercenary Cavalry, after failing to charge, and being in turn hit in the front and rear, STILL managed to win their fight. I am here to tell you now that this is counter-revolutionary nonsense, spouted by the underlings of the Valar and their Westron Lackeys. It is not possible, and did not occur.
What I can confirm, is that somehow the Dwarves had sold their lives dearly enough to hold up one column of our advance. Meanwhile, our severe and efficient Castellans were going to work on those white-sheeted longbow-men, who were hiding in the woods. What aided our cause, in this dark-moment, was the understandable reluctance of the Brown Rabbit-Rider to come anywhere near the mighty Witch-King. Likewise, despite the incoherent splutterings of the feckless merchants son in charge of the men from Esgaroth, those good men had the wisdom to not interfere with our plans.