Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Impasse at Ortar Pass - Turn 5...

Could this be the end....

Orc Turn 5

Hearing the chink of battlegear behind him Abraka Dabrar whirled round and snorted at the pathetic human who was attempting to sneak up on him. Anticipating an easy kill he loped forward to crush this new foe.

As Grimbrow had expected, the storm broke. Dwarven hearts could not but help skipping a beat as the mighty Golgfag and his standard bearer thundered down upon them. Fingral Crackscratcha, driven on by the insidious whispers of his bloodthirsty blade, spurred his slavering warboar on, leaving Ruglud's regiment for the visceral pleasure of stunty bashing. The Clansmen would be hard pressed by this triumvirate of terror once battle was met...

The Orc archers wheeled once again to bring their crude bows to bear on the Alliance wizards who had beeen such a thorn in the Orc's side.

Smashing into the stockade the Ogres laid about them with their huge and cruelly spiked maces. One dwarf reeled backwards his ears ringing as Golgfag smote him about the helm. Despite being a good few inches shorter, luckily the Dwarf was saved from harm by his sturdy armour! Dissatisfied with this result, Golgfag once more brought down his great bludgeon- this time on Grimbrow, but the hero skilfully parried the blow. The Dwarf's sword flashed across the grain sack wall in reply, but failed to wound the brute. The Ogre trooper found his attacks hampered by the Dwarfs' defences but also emerged unscathed from the combat.

Crackscratcha, his eyes clouded by the red mist once again brought on by his sorcerous blade, hacked and slashed at the hated stunties. Three were struck and sent sprawling backwards, but again their finely wrought armour saved them. 

With that the Ogres were forced to retreat as the stockade began to bristle with swords and axes, hungry for their blood. Crackscratcha paid them no heed in his frenzy and fought on!  

Abraka swung his great, skull topped cudgel in what he was sure would be a killing blow for the puny human before him. However, to his utter astonishment his adversary faded to nothing as the club passed through where its head had been. He stumbled forward, bellowing in rage as he realised he had been fooled by a simple illusion!

The Wardancers, using their ability to distract their enemies, leapt and wove their agile way through their cumbersome Orc opponents, bringing the struggle to a stalemate. The Orcs gnashed their teeth in frustration as the Elves danced nimbly, just out of reach of their attacks.

Behind them the bear lashed out like.. well, like a wounded bear, savaging another Big'un. Swiftly following his comrade, a further Orc fell, clutching its throat as the remaining warhound licked its lips. 

It did not have long, however, to savour its victory as Wottar Woppah, the Big'un champion brought his scimitar scything down! The bear managed to emerge unscathed from the melee but again the Orcs pressed forward using their momentum and superior numbers.

Both suffering from their grievous wounds, Melthathar and the Wyvern were unable to put an end to their deadly struggle.

Dravid Coppafeel rolled his eyes at the Ogre shaman's foolishness, muttering something about beig surrounded by imcompetents - he was sorely tempted to send a lightning bolt or two in that direction to teach the dim-witted creature a lesson...

And yet a diabolical plan was beginning to hatch in his festering mind! As their bowfire at the defenders behind the wall had proved rather ineffectual he ordered the archers into a more viable fighting formation. Coppafeel then put forth his right hand and, invoking powerful necromantic forces, bestowed upon himself - the Hand of Dust... 

It was time to deal with the enemy wizards in true Orc fashion - up close and real personal! 

Alliance Turn 5

The hour was upon the fighters of the Alliance - now was the time to commit all reserves. Now was the time to put aside all doubt and prove their mettle against the hated invaders!

The Gladerunners and Zoat threw themselves at the Big'uns flank as Paldaniel held herself in check - ready to support them with her magic.

The gamble paid off - panic ripped through the Orcish mob like wildfire as they realised the trap had swung shut upon them! As they broke and ran a full five Orcs fell to the concerted Elven attacks. Yet despite the intoxication of the slaughter, the sweet salve of revenge, their attackers broke off the pursuit - there was more bloody work to be done closer at hand. Ruglud's Armoured Orcs were now threatened from behind and the Orc line teetered on the brink of collapse!

The Orc archers dared not join the rout as Coppafeel, terrible in his rage, screamed at the Big'uns streaming past.

As the Wardancers once again forced the combat into a standstill with their acrobatics, Gudruk too was able to steady his warriors. His jeers at the so-called elite of the Orc horde now fleeing the field bolstered his regiment's morale. However, his bravado only masked his nervousness at having an angry Zoat approaching his rear!

Melthathar once again winged the snapping beast before him, as it lunged fowards, jaws agape. Again the Wyvern caught its plucky adversary in its rending talons as it lashed out in pain. Now down to their last reserves of strength the two bitter foes wearily circled each other, waiting for the chance for a killing blow...

Grimbrow now joined battle with the Orc general himself. Steel sang over the hemp parapet as both parried and thrust. Blows were landed by both antagonists but neither hero could penetrate his opponent's armour.

Finally (not that I'd forgotten about it!) noticing the Clansmen's plight under the malignant Orc magic the shaman had cast on them, Breward finally dispelled the enfeeblement that had been hampering their efforts.

Gaspar the Wise turned his attention to the softer target of the Orc archers - once more sending forth a torrent of stone, felling two of them.

Having observed the success of Breward's illusory hero, Tellur was determined not to be upstaged by a mere bog-trotting druid! The air swirled about in front of him as a horrifying apparition began to take form. With a gentle puff of air from the old Wizard, a terrifying spectre floated across the battlefield towards Golgfag and his Ogre trooper.

Not normally one to be frightened easily, the battle-scarred veteran had been badly shaken by the magical onslaught his unit had suffered. Had the illusion taken nearly any other form it might not have had the desired effect - however, deep seated superstitions that crouched deep within the ogre's psyche forced him to flee before oncoming phantasm!  

Abraka, more used to such spectral phenomena, and now highly suspicious of anything that might be an illusion, was more non-plussed. Again, Coppafeel's threats proved more fearsome than the ghost's terrible presence and the archers too held firm.

Paldaniel, hoping to capitalise on the fear and painc that was fast dissolving the Orc lines, added her magic to the pandemonium. Ruglud's warriors felt the unfamiliar pangs of anxiety welling up in their iron guts as the Elf sorceress strove to instill panic in them . Yet again Gudruk's firm hand and strong left hook kept the boyz in line!


Seeing that the tide was turning, Gudruk decided he'd had enough. At a barked command his surprisingly well trained Orcs drew their ranks together and thrust their shields out into a protective canopy. Now in their famous "Razorback" formation (a crude kind of Testudo!) the Orcs grimly marched off the field, Elven arrows rattling off their shell and the deafening bellows of a frustrated Zoat ringing in their ears.

Dravid Coppafeel found himself pinned down by five terrified, but determined, Orc archers. His Hand of Dust was bound behind him and his mouth rammed full of stinking rags to prevent any magical reprisals. In this rather undignified fashion he too was bundled off the battlefield!

Abraka Dabrar performed an impressive vanishing act - shuffling off after Golgfag, definitely not fancying his chances against no less than four accomplished magic users on the Alliance side.

Deciding that easier prey might be found amongst the columns of Goblins marching further up among the peaks of the Ortar pass, the Wyvern took off with a keening cry - its ragged wings struggling to beat its great weight through the air.

As for Fingral Crackscratcha - he was never heard of again in Orcish parts - some said he was driven to madness and a fine Orcy end by his magic sword - fighting on until he was buried by a great heap of dwarf corpses. All that is certain is his body was never found...

The Grand League forces had little time or energy to celebrate their somewhat pyrrhic victory - the Orc advance had been turned but at what cost? In the wider scheme of the conflagration that was engulfing the Lands of Ramalia it had, after all, only been a small break-away raid compared to the long, black columns of Hill Goblins that poured day by day  from the mountains, slowly eroding the once proud defenses of the great city of Ortar.

And then there was the small matter of a town called Orc's Drift...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Impasse at Ortar Pass - Turn 4!

Orc Turn 4

Coppafeel snarled - he felt something was wrong - something to do with that accursed elf witch...

Sure enough his suspicions were confirmed as a wave of Universal Confusion emanated from her staff, enveloping the whole battlefield. Fighters on both sides paused momentarily, shaking their heads as their senses were dulled by the sylvan magic. This fog of befuddlement would mean that both sides would find it difficult to hit their targets or even move in a decisive way...

The Big'uns forgetting the reason for their confrontation with the archers ambled off to the right, vaguely in the direction of the enemy. Wandering forwards the archers tried to draw a bead on the sappers scurrying about behind their fortifications. Yet their simple minds were not sufficient to overcome the enchantment, let alone move and target the dwarfs behind their wall.

The hobhounds at least had their mind made up for them - fight or die, as Raphellicus the Zoat continued to bear down on them. Even their animal minds were dulled by the magic and they failed to sink their teeth into the Zoat or the wildcat. However, the Elven beastmaster fighting beside his charge was not so fortunate - brought down by a clumsy lunge. Raphellicus managed to retain enough presence of mind to avenge his death by slaying another slavering hound. Luckily for them the Hobgoblins were too dazed to think about routing!

Over on the right, Abraka Dabrar, the ogre shaman, attempted to engage the Dwarf crossbowmen before him. 

Forgetting what he was doing midway through his headlong charge he stopped short - perilously close to what might become his firing squad...


Still shrieking horribly the Wyvern circled and wheeled unable to focus on its next course of action. Until that is, its slow reptilian brain began to remember it had not been fed in a week! Looking down it saw the Elf general who had just slain its rider - motivated more by hunger than revenge the great beast plummeted towards its quarry.

Its reactions slowed by the sorcery at work, it snapped ineffectually at the lithe Elf. With uncharacteristic clumsiness Melthathar only landed one blow - only to see it bounce harmlessly off the scaly flanks of the monster.

Despite the confusion some things always loom large in the Orcish brain - fighting! Another Wardancer found himself impaled on the barbed blade of an Orc halberd. The Elves again were frustrated by the greenskins' heavy armour - their attacks finding no purchase.

Grimbrow looked on uncomprehendingly as again Gudruk's blade spilled his blood. Sorely wounded but grimly determined the Dwarf steeled himself for another round as his attack was turned by the Orc Leader's armour plate.

The Big'uns just about made their minds up to continue their dazed amble across the field during the reserve phase - blissfully unaware of the Elf bows swinging their way...

Abraka grunted as he drew together what small mental reserves he had in order to hurl a fireball at the Dwarf crossbowmen. The flaming missile struck three of the Dwarfs but only succeeded in singeing their beards - much to their chagrin!

Dravid Coppafeel let out a peal of derisive laughter at such a pathetic show of force. His eyes glowed and the nearby archers felt the powerful charge in the air as the shaman launched a devastating series of lightning bolts against the already smoking dwarfs. All that remained were their boots - still smoking!

Alliance Turn 4

As Paldaniel's spell wore off full consiousness began to seep back across the field of battle. Hurriedly the sappers moved down their stockade - one team adding another two sections, whilst the other leapfrogged past them in order to be in position to continue the construction.

Grimbrow, aware of the plight of his men and the relative safety of the barricade the sappers had thrown up, shouted across to the Wardancers. Their continued attacks could just buy enough time for the Dwarfs to retreat and regroup at the strongpoint. Happy to continue their rampage the Elves fought on as the Clansmen rushed back, stopping just short of safety.

Another Orc trooper fell to their whirling blades and grim smiles painted the faces of the Elves as they found themselves pushed back closer to the sanctuary of the woods...

The lone Norse berserker was of course completely oblivious to the change in the situation. Nor did he feel Crackscratcha's blade as it tore through his chest!

Meanwhile, the bear and hound teams finally got into action, charging into the mob of Big'uns threatening the Elven line. 

Switching their attention to the archers, the Gladerunners dispatched another two Orcs with their accurate bow fire.

The wildcat, enraged by the loss of its master, lashed out in fury - first killing the hound it faced and then, in turn, its master. The inscrutable Zoat also crushed the slavering Hobhound snapping at his ankles, but the Hobgoblin handler had a lucky escape. Its resolve finally crumbling, the foul creature turned and ran for the hills, swiftly pursued by the spitting wildcat. Raphellicus, knowing his strength would be needed again before the day was out, exercised a little more restraint.

Steadying themselves at the terrifying sight of the bear that was bearing down on them, the Big'uns braced themselves for the impact. One burly Orc was brought down by the huge animal, while another was savaged by one of the hounds. In response Wottar Woppah, the Big'un champion, slew two of the fine Elven hounds. Not hugely dissimilar in size and almost a match for it, another warrior opened up a cruel wound down the great bear's flank.

Unable to sustain their assault the animal handlers and their beasts fell back in some consternation.

The titanic struggle between Melthathar and the Wyvern raged on. Sunlight flashed off Mithril plate and scaly hide as the two adversaries vied for the upper hand. Melthathars finely wrought axe bit deep into soft flesh as it parted the Wyvern's iron-like scales. Bringing the singing blade back in a deft side swipe the Elf tore a ragged gash across the vile wyrm's underbelly.

Now, even more deadly in its agony the wounded Wyvern smashed the Elf general back with a great sweep of its leathery wing. Standing over its prey, its fetid breath assaulting his nostrils, the cruel beast raked its claws across Melthathars chest, gravely wounding him. Rolling out from under its deadly grasp the battered Elf turned to face his grisly opponent once more - the combat was a stalemate with two wounds a-piece.

Taking advantage of the clamour and chaos of the battle, the Gladerunners moved swiftly to position themselves for a charge against the Big'uns, ready to sell their lives dearly in support of their kin. The Zoat too shifted his huge bulk to threaten the Orcs' undefended flank...

Swearing that he'd never say a bad word about an Elf again, Grimbrow led his men over the stockade and reformed his small regiment - making ready for the oncoming storm.

Finally Breward's bog, that had impeded the Orcish hordes advance so much, dried up. The Druid began to mutter more arcane words once more, only slightly slurring his voice! A shout went up - aid has arrived! The Druid smiled to himself - if the illusion of a legendary hero had fooled his own side, it should have the desired effect on the Orcs...

Gasper the Wise once more began the incantations necessary to hurl another assault of stone at the Ogres, but this time his mental stamina was low and the spell fizzled out in a rather unspectacular way!

Pennan Tellur, on the other hand, hurled a series of lightning bolts at the hateful monstrosities. No fewer than five deadly bolts hit home but only one ogre suffered any damage. The same could not be said for its companion as it was dragged beneath the quick sand which still lapped hungrily at their feet. Tellur's animated sword had done its work in halting their advance and blocking their path - that is until Golgfag, tired of the annoying little trinket, smashed it to the ground - breaking the spell.

Paldaniel, horrified at the Dwarf crossbowmen's fate at the hands of the vile Coppafell, vowed to put an end to the threat. Her eyes rolled back, leaving blank orbs in their place as she sent forth her mind, seeking out the foul Orc shaman. A mental duel was engaged and their consciousnesses reeled from the shock of combat, until, with a cry, the Elf Sorceress slumped back, fended off by the Shaman's power.

Can the Orcs press home their attack? Will Golgfag and what's left of his Ogres get their revenge? Will Grimbrow ever look anyone in the eye again having run away from mere Orcs?

Stay tuned for what could be(!) the final installment for this epic struggle...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Impasse at Ortar Pass - Turn 3

Orc Turn 3

Cries went up and down both the Orc and Alliance lines as the news spread rapidly - reinforcements had arrived... Elf, human and dwarf alike tightened their grip on their weapons as the grim truth dawned on them. The first wave of greenskins whose advance they had checked had only been an advance force. Now the Orcs' numbers were more than doubled as a mob each of warriors and Big 'uns spilled onto the field of battle.  

Swooping low and letting out a piercing shriek a great War Wyvern cast its baleful eyes about in search of prey.

Adding to the Alliance's woes, a troupe of foul ogres emerged onto the road, outflanking their line and threatening the Dwarf crossbows.

Behind them lurked a rare sight - an ogre shaman, rattling his bones and adding his guttural voice to the gleeful howls of the chaotic horde. Over on the far left hobhounds bounded down from the screes, their hobgoblin masters scrambling to keep up.

The epic struggle between the Spike Can Commandoes and the Dwarf Clansmen rumbled on in the centre. A dwarf met his end, felled by a rusted halberd as another was hacked down by Ruglud's frenzied attacks. The Dwarfs fought back killing an Orc trooper. Gudruk and Grimbrow also continued to slug it out - however, it was to be Gudruk who gained the upper hand this time. His heavy blade finding a chink in the Dwarf's armour, leaving him wounded but determined to battle on.

Cracksnatcha was beginning to enjoy himself as another three berserkers fell by his hand - their wild attacks rebounding harmlessly off his enchanted shield!

The Orcs were once more hard pressed by the Wardancers' deadly dance of death - one more fell and more than a few had good cause to be thankful that their armour held up! Such was the Elves' agility that they easily eluded the Orcs' clumsy attacks.

However, the Orcs now had momentum and the Alliance units found themselves pushed backwards by the bristling Orc ranks!

Warriors on both sides instinctively flinched as the terrible shadow of the Wyvern flitted over them, continuing its low swoop over the carnage. The earth shook as the winged terror descended on the horrified militia, who ineffectually raised their halberds with shaking hands to fend it off.

A dull light of comprehension crept into the Troll's beady eyes as it slowly remembered where it was. Shaking away the last traces of the stupor that had clouded its simple mind, it gave a mighty bellow and loped towards the Dwarf crossbowmen before it. The doughty Dwarfs held their composure enough to stand and fire and two of their deadly bolts sank into the Troll bearing down on them. Shrieking with pain and rage the foul brute savagley mauled two of the brave warriors - shocked by the ferocity of the assault the Dwarfs failed to finish the stricken monster off. Stepping back over their fallen comrades, they were forced back into the cloud of pestilent vapour... Yet this time the Troll's wounds failed to heal over - the Dwarf's only consolation!

Back in the centre of the battlefield a ruckus was developing! Seeing that they were in danger of being forced into the bloody fighting ahead of them the Orc archers attempted a reverse wheel in order to leave a gap for the unit of Big'uns to charge through. All was going well until the burly orcs behind them, in a fit of good old fashioned animosity, began jeering and calling the archers' appetite for fighting into question. The result was total gridlock as curses and profanities that couldn't possibly be repeated here coloured the air between the two units - a full scale brawl was only avoided by the shaman, Coppafeel's threats and cries!

The scent of their feline enemies drove the newly arrived Hobhounds on and they set upon the Wildcats and the Zoat, baying wildly.

Raphellicus' scaly hide easily turned the hounds snapping jaws and he dispatched one of the snarling beasts.

A great cacophony of howls and hisses rose up as the wildcats joined battle, fighting like cats and dogs - quite literally! One feline was brought to the ground and savaged but not before three of the savage dogs had met their bloody end. Amid whimpers and growls the hobgoblins steadied the pack but were pushed back.

The Ogres shambled forward now the Troll had moved from their way. Taking no notice of Breward's bog they waded forward, itching to get to grips with the enemy...

With their ears ringing with the Wyvern's dread cry the militia broke and ran. Hopping forward like some nightmare vulture the huge reptile's sinuous neck darted with horrible speed, snapping and lunging at the fleeing men. Three broken bodies were left in its wake. Dragbod Longdong, the only orc mad enough to go anywhere near the beast, joined in the carnage from his saddle, stabbing out with his lance and bringing down three more of the helpless soldiers. Unable to stop the Wyvern's rampage, even if he had wanted to, Longdong held on tight as they continued to pursue the survivors. Panic rippled out along the Grand League's lines but they held fast. All except the Bergjaeger - watching many of their friends and compatriots torn asunder was too much for their resolve and they broke and ran...

As the tide began to turn Dravid Coppafeel cackled maniacally as he whispered the insidious words that would enfeeble and weaken the stubborn Dwarf clansmen who stood in the way of the Orcs' rampage.
Not far away Abraka Dabrar, the ogre shaman, grunted with satisfaction, strength and dexterity coursing through his body, as he muttered the incantations to grant himself strength of combat.

Alliance Turn 3

Things were not looking good for the Grand League - the arrival of the main Orc force had turned the tables somewhat, the men of Ortar had all but fled and a Wyvern was rampaging in their midst!

Yet despair had not set in everywhere. Mellthathar, the courageous Elf General, bravely dashed out to halt the Wyvern's trail of destruction!

The bear and warhounds were shepherded through the wood to meet the new threat of the Hobhounds and Big'uns.

Meanwhile as the tactical situation deteriorated around them, the Dwarf sappers hurriedly began preparing their defences...

Pennan Tellur made a sharp gesture and his animated sword checked its headlong progress toward the Orc shaman, Coppafeel's throat. Banking to the right the enchanted blade now flew at Golgfag, leader of the band of ogres who now threatened the Alliances right flank.

The Gladerunners now finally had a viable target in front of them. Letting fly a graceful volley they smiled grimly as three Orc Big'uns fell - never to despoil their fair lands again.

Raphellicus and the Wildcat Beastmaster kept up their attack on the Hobhounds - two more fell with a pathetic whine.

 The Hobgoblins strained to keep the pack together as they were pushed back again.

 The Dwarf crossbowmen, taking heart in the plight of the wounded Troll, fought back. Desperate to escape the cloud of foul air, they cut down their equally foul opponent!

The Wardancers tirelessly leapt and danced their whirling death leaving three more Orcs in bloody ruin - yet in the maelstrom one Elf's stride was cut short by a well aimed blow. The Norsemen continued to be cut down by the Orc General's Frenzied blade despite their wild attacks - the loss of three of his companinons barely registered as the sole survivor fought on! The Clansmen fought heroically but were unable to wound their foes. They gnashed their teeth as the Orc champion felled another of their number. Grimbrow and Gudruk exchanged blows again but their great swords weighed heavy in their hands now - neither was able  to finish their bloodied opponent off.

The Dwarfs grudgingly gave ground as the howling mass of Orcs pressed against them...

Throwing himself up in a great leap with typical Elven agility, Mellthathar swung his finely wrought axe in a great arc - the elven steel glanced off the Wyvern's scaly sides but the Elf skilfully channelled the energy into a deadly strike at Longdong. The magical Bane blade bit deep and for a moment the Wyvern rider remained atop his terrible mount, before tumbling, headless, to the ground. 

Unencumbered by its master the Wyvern squawked in confusion. Flapping its leathery wings it took to the skies shrieking fitfully.  

Golgfag growled with distaste at his magical enemy. The blade strook well and true but failed to pierce the colossuss' thick hide. The ogres advance had been checked however, but how long could Tellur keep up the enchantment...

Refreshed from the long draught he had taken from his bottle, Breward the Druid waved his arms, drawing the poison cloud that assaulted the Dwarf crossbowmen's lungs into the air and dissipating it harmlessly away. Gaspar the Dwarf enchanter added his magic to the attacks on the Ogres - an assault of stone erupted against them, pulverising one of the brutes but failing to break their resolve. Grimacing at the effort, Pennan Tellur sustained his animated sword and called forth a great pool of quicksand under the Ogres' very feet! Two more troopers were pulled to a suffocating death beneath the hungry sand but again the monsters refused to panic.

Can the embattled Alliance lines stand up to this second wave of attacks? Will the Orc archers and Big'uns settle their differences? And just where has that Wyvern got to?

Stayed tuned for the next unmissable episode - Turn 4!!