Monday, March 11, 2013

The Fall of the Necromancer: Part Two

In the Nick of Time
The Necromancer is sending what he intends to be the knock-out blow against Thranduil, despite the latters decisive victory in the previous battle. The wood elves, fresh from their success (and now commanded by me) prepare to fight once again for their lives. Learning of the threat to Thranduil, Elrond, already leading forces to Mirkwood, takes a detachment north to try and prevent their destruction. Leading the forces of darkness is none other than Khamul, the Lieutenant of Dol Guldor. Elrond and his warriors arrive just as Khamul, Thranduil and their respective forces are facing off amongst the gloomy trees.

Turn 1 – Evil
Perhaps sensing or having heard of Elrond's approach, the evil army wastes no time and advances on the Thranduil's position, the spiders and wargs surging ahead of the slower orc battle line.

Thranduil condenses his line and begins to pull them back to the east, trying to buy time for Elrond and his High Elves to reach him before they are overwhelmed.

The wood elf archers also waste no time, stringing their bows and loosing a hail of arrows into the oncoming horde. An orc crumpled in mid stride with an arrow in his side and a spider collapsed, riddled with feathered shafts.

Turn 2 – Evil
Evil continues their advance, the wargs and spiders swinging around and one of there number engaging a wood elf warrior of Thranduils screening force. A spearman remained behind to aid him, but the.other elves fell back toward the main body. Elrond and his troops continued their hurried advance, rushing to join their Sylvan cousins.

Elven bows again sing their deadly song, as no less than three orcs (two shields and a spear) are struck down by arrows.

The spider that had attacked the two elves is unprepared for the ferocity of their defence, and green slime oozes from a deep rent in its carapace as it pulls back wounded.

Turn 3 – evil
Maintaining their grip on priority, Khamul drives his army forward. The orcs pivot their line to face east and toward the retreating elves, and the spiders speed past the pair of isolated elves to attack the main body. The two advance elves are quickly surrounded by the snarling warg pack led by their Chieftain, and the two bat swarms.

The wood elves react to the charge, one of the Sentinels playing the Eldamar Madrigal on his harp, causing one of the spiders to break off its attack. The rest of the un-engaged elves continue to fall back toward the dubious shelter of a patch of trees. The orcish archers ready their own bows, firing short black feathered arrows, but none of them find their mark, either disapearing into the gloom or thudding into the trunks of trees. More arrows leap from elvish bows with deep twangs, and fall on the evil army like a scythe. A shield orc silently drops to the ground, as another shield orc is shot through the visor by Legolas. Thranduil calmly looses an arrow, wounding the bemused spider, while another elf finishes it off. One of the Sentinel adds to the carnage, killing another shield orc. Elrond shouts a command to his own archers, who also add to the arrow storm, slaying an additional orcish warrior.

Dismayed by the virtual destruction of the first rank of orc warriors, the beast allies of the Necromancer throw themselves at their foes. A wood elf warrior is torn to shreds by the wargs and bats, but his companion manages to fend off the enraged Warg Chieftain, though he is unable to wound him. The pair of elves fighting one of the spiders overcome the large arachnid and end its evil with flashing blades. A wood elf spearman is forced back by the other spider, but deftly dodges out of harms way.

Turn 4 – good
Regaining priority this round, the wood elves continue to consolidate their position around the dense patch of trees in the north east, the surviving spearman from the previous melee attempting feverishly to flee back to their line.

Unfortunately this is not to be, and he quickly finds himself surrounded by ravenous bats and wargs. Another warg and spider race forward to attack the main line of wood elves, engaging a blade elf and a spearman. The wood elves continue their murderous rain of arrows, the wooden shafts slicing through the air to bury themselves in the bodies of their foes. Legolas kills a charging warg with an arrow to the head, while a pair of wood elf archers add to their tally by dropping a shield orc and a spear orc.

The wood elf spearman's dreams of freedom were cut tragically short as the Warg Chieftain and friends turned him into finely diced warg kibble. A second spearman fell convulsing, spider venom coursing through his veins. Nearby, the wood elf swordsman defeated the warg that attacked him, but was unable to land a killing blow.

Turn 5 – evil (tie)
Regaining priority, Khamul urges his followers onward, directing his orcs to turn and face Elrond and his elves, and leaving the beasts to finish off Thranduil and his warriors.

With no further motivation needed, the Warg Chieftain charges the wood elves, his compatriots hot on his heels.

Khamul marshals dark forces and attempts to cast Black Dart on a wood elf, but the sorcerous energies disperse with no effect. The three elven Sentinels each attempt to entice a foe away from the battle, but apparently their music cannot be heard over the din of battle, for no effect could be seen. Shooting this round is ineffective, with no casualties being caused by either side. The wargs extend their spree of destruction, tearing the flesh from a pair of wood elves and staining the grass and nearby trees with blood. Thranduil and Legolas work together to defeat a bat swarm, their swirling, glittering blades cutting two of the creatures out of the air (two wounds). A wood elf warrior managed to fend off a wild warg, while a Sentinel beat back a spider, but neither was able to kill their opponent.

Here is the battlefield at the end of turn 5:

Turn 6 – evil
Controlling priority with an iron fist, Khamul prepares to issue new orders, but Thranduil has other things in mind. He calls a Heroic Move, but the Warg Chieftain, seeing a chance to to finish the wood elves, also calls a Heroic Move and wins the roll off. Making good on the threat, the beasts throw themselves against the elves.

Khamul hisses angrily as he fails to cast Black Dart at a Sentinel, who in turn is able to successfully sing Eldamar Madrigal, forcing one of the bat swarms away from the main battle. The wraith himself remains safely to the rear of the battle, observing and calculating.

The High Elven archers loose their arrows, one finding a chink in the Orc Captains armor and causing a wound. A wood elf throws a dagger with practiced precision and slays a spear orc, the evil creature plucking feebly at the hilt before collapsing to the ground.

In the melee phase, things go shockingly against the elves. A wood elf swordsman is cut down by orc spears, and a single spider slays two of the Sentinels, it's fangs dripping with blood. Two wood elf bowmen are killed by the Warg Chieftain and a fellow warg, their screams cut short by ravening teeth and claws. Thranduil was defeated by a bat swarm and suffered a wound. The sole bright spot of the phase was Legolas gutting a warg with his daggers.

Turn 7 – good
Finally regaining priority, Thranduil attempts to use his Circlet of Kings to cast Nature's Wrath but the Warg Chieftain is able to resist the spell. Thranduil and his remaining elves fall back further, attempting to re-organize their defences, and potentially link up with Elrond.

To the south, the Orc Captain attempts to call a Heroic Move, which Elrond counters and wins. The High Elves charge with a shout to engage the slovenly orcs of the forest, their burnished gold armour glinting in the dim light.

Khamul successfully casts Black Dart, and the evil missile speeds through the air, but disperses harmlessly against the shield of a high elf. Returning fire, the high elf bows claim a further two lives. An orcish archer drops his bow and thrashes on the ground before going still, and a spear orc gurgles softly with an arrow in his throat.

The Orc Captain is defeated and pushed back, but manages to shelter behind his shield and avoid death. Next to him on his left, a high elf warrior neatly lop the heads from a two hand axe wielding orc. Elrond stains his own blade, savagely hacking a spear orc nearly in half with a great spray of black blood. A second orc swings a great two-handed pick in a wide arc and it crunches sickeningly through the armor of an elven swordsman.

The last remaining Sentinel falls to the raging Warg Chieftain, but Legolas is able to summon deep reserves and overcomes a spider and bat swarm, and slays the bats (spent 1 might to win the fight). With that, both wood elves and the evil army are now Broken!

Turn 8 – good
Overcome by the horrendous destruction, one of the wood elf spearmen cannot bear it any longer and flees the battlefield. The Orc Captain calls a Heroic Move, and Elrond attempted to coutner, but was not quick enough. Khamul again succeeds in casting Black Dart, but this time the evil energy strikes down the High Elf standard bearer.

Thranduil and Legolas again combine forces, this time attacking the Warg Chieftain, while a bowman ties down a warg, and the last spearman engages a spider.

The High Elf Archers send another volley into the orc ranks, again thinning them by two, with the deaths of an orcish archer and two hand orc. The orc archers respond, and this time one of their arrows finds its mark, striking down a high elf bowman.

The Warg Chieftain is is defeated by Legolas and his father, but its tough hide protects it from lethal harm, suffering a single wound. The wood elf archer is driven back by the wild warg, but also avoids harm. Continuing the inconclusive theme of the phase, the wood elf spearman defeats the spider but his spear glances off the creatures exoskeleton.

The wood elf swordsman fighting near the high elves defeats his orcish opponents but is unable to kill any of them. A pair of high elf warriors cut down an orc spearman with ease, his cries adding to the general chaos. The Orc Captain, enraged by his defeat the previous round smashes a swordsman with his shield, crushing the elf's face in despite his helmet, and smashes a spearman to the ground with his pick. Khamul, having joined the battle to confront Elrond in person, is able to drive him back after augmenting his combat prowess, but the elf Lord is able to avoid injury.

Turn 9 – good
Elrond calls out to the Valar and spends two will to cast Nature's Wrath, but Khamul is able to resist the effects of the spell. Shouting their defiance to the Dark Lord, the Firstborn again charge the enemy, with Elrond again facing Khamul.

Thranduil and his followers repeat the previous turns actions, charging their opponents.

A high elf archer is struck by an orcish arrow, but it glances harmlessly off his armor. Legolas and Thranduil again defeat the Wild Warg Chieftain, but it is able to avoid further wounds. Unfortunately the valiant wood elf archer is mauled to death by the warg. The wood elf spearman is able to defeat the Giant Spider, and this time his spear leaves a great gash in the creatures hide and it suffers a wound.

Back at the other half of the battle, the wood elf swordsman dodged a spear thrust from an orc warrior, his own blade cutting deeply into its body. A two hand orc and banner bearer had assaulted an archer, but the elf parryed their blows, but did not have time to strike any of his own. The orc captain is also defeated in combat this turn, though he too avoids death at the hands of the vengeful elves. The evil of the ringwraith continues to confound Elrond, and he is again on the defensive though his skill at arms prevents any of the Ulair's blows from landing.

Here is the state of the board at the end of turn 9:

Turn 10 – good
The turn opens with Good maintaining priority, and Khamul senses that the end is near (he now has 1 Will remaining) with horrific losses on both sides. The wood elf swordsman's nerve finally gives way and he flees the field. Seeing this, Khamul uses his last point of Might to call a Heroic Move, attempting to squash the elven resistance once and for all. Khamul himself attacks Elrond while his remaining warriors tie down as many elves as they can.

On the other side of the small copse of trees, Thranduil, Legolas and the wood elf spearman engage the beasts, Thranduil charging the Warg Chieftain, Legolas the wild warg, and the spearman charging the giant spider.

The spearman manages to defeat the spider, but is unable to injure the creature, his spear blade thrusting through empty air. Legolas is upset by the warg, but the elf prince dodges back out of harms way. Thranduil is not so lucky, having to spend two Fate points to avoid wounds from the brutal Chieftain. Across the way, a High Elf bowman collapses mortally wounded as an orc spear pierces his armor. The orc captain throws off his attackers, a pair of elves, but snarls as he is unable to slip an attack through their guard. The other elven bowman slays an orc archer with studied grace. If the orc had had an eye for art and skill, he sureley would have appreciated it as his eyes clouded over. Another High Elf Warrior defeated the orcish banner bearer, but his strike cuts through the banner itself rather than the orc holding it. Finally turning the tables on the terrible undead, Elrond swings his blade in a glittering downward arc, from the shoulder and down through the wraith's armoured body to his waist. The moment the blade bit into the unholy flesh however, the robes and armor that gave his body shape collapsed to the ground as his spirit vanished into the gloom, retreating back to his master to gain new strength and form. (Elrond defeated Khamul and the spent 1 Might to cause the wound).

With the loss of their leader and the other casualties suffered this turn, Evil is now below the 25% threshold and good emerges the (badly battered) victor!

Post Battle Thoughts:
Altogether a much more interesting battle than the first, from my perspective. The archers in the early turns, wood elf especially, though High Elf also, completely tipped the scales back into balance. If they had not killed a good portion of the enemy early on, I'm sure things would have gone quite differently. As it was, the elves were barely able to hold out long enough to attrit the enemy down to the 1/4 goal.

The state of the Campaign thus far:
Good: 2
Evil: 0

Can't wait to see what the next battle brings!

1 comment:

  1. An enthralling read! I wonder if you had had a bit more terrain, it could have cut down some of the lines of fire that allowed the elves so much success in the early part of the battle?