Monday, May 26, 2014

Lords of Battle: Dwarves vs Harad

Thror, his dwarves and Gwaihir have arrived at the outpost to find it occupied by Haradrim led by Suladan and The Betrayer and the garrison slain or driven off. Filled with wrath, they charge forward, shouts of Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai menu! ringing off the rocky terrain. The Betrayer, seeing an opportunity to rid the Dark Lord of a powerful adversary orders Suladan to prepare his warriors for battle.
The respective army lists are posted here and here. Since I literally finished painting my last Warriors of Erebor at the last minute I didn't have an opportunity to work on more of the haradrim. Since I don't have any Serpent Guard (sad) they are represented by Easterling Warriors (while not completely at ease in their new role, they did stay at a Holiday Inn the night before).

Gwaihir arrives first, near the center of the board.
Following him, Morevion the Bo'sun and his corsairs arrive from the north. Thror himself appears leading his warriors near the western board edge.

The Hasharin reinforces Morevion's right flank, his haradrimreadying their spears.

Olvar the Shieldbearer arrives at the head of his warband in the center near Gwaihir.

The Betrayer and his half-troll bodyguard occupy a set of ruins north-west of the mine.

Warin the captain leads his troops onto the field, arriving just East of the mine.

Following the Nazgul's lead, Suladan's troops take up positions in and around the ruin.
With all the warbands now on the table, the battlefield looked like this:

Priority rolls are now in order, and the battle begins in earnest.

Turn 1 - Evil
Content to allow the dwarves to make the first move, the evil army largely holds in place this turn though Morevion and the Hasharin shuffle their warbands to allow the Haradrim to form a solid spearwall backing up the corsairs. Thror urges his dwarves forward, though the shear numbers of the enemy ahead are slightly daunting. Gwaihir takes to wing and flies over to reinforce Warin, casting a baleful eye at the nearby Haradrim and Corsairs.
Here are some pictures following the movement phase:

The first arrows of the battle are fired by the haradrim archers and the Watchers of Karna. One of the Grim Hammer dwarves is struck by an arrow and falls thrashing to the ground, poison coursing through his veins before lying still. An Iron Guard is also slain, the poison setting fire to his blood.

The dwarven archers are unable to reply this turn, as they struggle to get into position.

Turn 2 - Evil
Once again securing priority, the evil force holds their positions, awaiting the oncoming dwarves. The Grim Hammers of Thror's warband are now in striking distance and charge in, hoping to end the shower of poisoned arrows. Several axes fly through the air, but fail to find their marks. With most of the haradrim archers engaged or missing their shots, Suladan scores the only shooting casualty this round, dropping a Grim Hammer with a carefully aimed arrow.
Gwaihir swoops in to attack the left flank of the corsair/harad line and grips a Corsair of Umbar in his talons. With an effortless toss, the pirate is Hurled 7" away, knocking down several spearmen, as well as the Hasharin before splattering against a large rock. The only casualty is the hurled corsair as the haradrim escape (albeit slightly concussed) unharmed.

In a disappointing turn of events, two Grim Hammers are killed as the Haradrim archers are able to turn the tables and strike them down.

Turn 3 - Evil
The dwarves groan as priority again escapes them this turn, and the Southrons smile in evil delight. Seeing an opportunity to swarm Gwaihir before he can fly away, two Corsairs and a haradrim spearman attempt to charge him, though courage deserts the corsairs, and the spearman is left to face the great bird by himself. Not far away, an axe cast by a charging Iron Guard embeds itself in the chest of a spearman, the man falling to the ground with a shriek.

A Khazad Guardsman is struck through the visor by an arrow and drops without a sound.

Finally in position, the dwarven archers fire their first arrows of the battle. A surprised corsair suddenly sprouted a feathered shaft, before his eyes rolled back and he pitched heavily to the earth.

Easily overcoming the lone haradrim, Gwaihir again Hurls the hapless man through the ranks of his comrades, this time killing not only the original spearman, but also three of his fellows. The Hasharin is again struck by a flying body, and this time is forced to expend three Fate points to avoid taking a wound.

An dwarf warrior and an Iron Guard are driven back by a corsair, but their armor protects them from harm. A second Iron Guard is more successful as a slash from an axe and a stab from a sword splashes Haradrim blood on the grass.

Another dwarf warrior is defeated but ducks the spear thrust aimed his way. A Khazad Guardsman is unable to finish of a haradrim, his great axe cutting nothing but empty air. A Warrior of Erebor buries his spear in the belly of a haradrim archer, while a pair of Serpent Riders are pulled from their saddles and slain by a Warrior of Erebor and a Grim Hammer.

Turn 4 - Evil
Gritting his teeth at yet another priority win by the evil army, Thror shouts "With Me!" to his warriors. Unfortunately, Suladan follows suit and is able to win the roll-off and charges his warriors into the dwarves.
Gwaihir continues to be strike fear into evil hearts as again only a lone corsair is able to summon the courage needed to charge him. The Betrayer successfully Transfixes Olvar, who is subsequently charged by one of the roaring half-trolls.

Morevion throws a knife at Gwaihir, but his aim was off and instead he hit the corsair, though it did not inflict any damage. The Hasharin also threw a knife at the eagle and actually hit his target, but did not cause a wound.
The dwarven archers who had climbed on top of the mine entrance are engaged by a pair of corsairs with supporting spearmen. but the odds are slightly evened as one of the spears is shot down by an unengaged archer.

At the base of the mine, an Iron Guard is felled by the cutlass of a corsair, but a second corsair falls in a heap with another Iron Guard's sword in his throat after being inspired by the nearby banner. A third corsair also falls victim to the hungry blades of an Iron Guard, while a dwarf warrior is defeated, but uninjured. Gwaihir is defeated by the corsair he faces, but is able to dodge the enemy's blow.
Atop the mine the archers are defeated but the corsairs are unable to more than scratch their armor.
Closer to Thror's warband, a Watcher of Karna is chopped nearly in half by the axe of a Khazad Guard, while a second Guard falls to the flashing blades of a second Watcher of Karna. Olvar is unable to shake off the effects of the Transfix spell and is defeated by the half-troll, but escapes injury. Thror throws back an archer but is unable to land a blow. Similarly, Suladan is unable to kill a Warrior of Erebor.
Having more luck, a Warrior of Erebor and two Grim Hammers are slain by charging Serpent Riders.

Turn 5 - Good
Here is the general state of the board at the beginning of turn 5:
The dwarves breath a sigh of relief as priority finally falls in their favor. Unfortunately, Suladan calls a Heroic Move, which Thror fails to contest. Suladan leads his men and charges the chagrined dwarves. The Betrayer successfully casts Black Dart and wounds Thror, but he manages his ArkenSave and rolls high enough to get the Fate point for free.
An Iron Guard sinks a throwing axe into the forehead of a haradrim spearman and continues his charge into the Hasharin along with a dwarf warrior.
Atop the mine entrance, the dwarven archers club a corsair and haradrim spearman to death with their bows, leaving a single corsair feeling very much alone.
At the base of the hill, another dwarf archer slays a spearman and Thror begins to re-asses his training program. A few paces away a dwarf warrior crumples under the cutlass of a corsair while Warin and an Iron Guard mince a second corsair in a flurry of blows. A dwarf warrior deflects a spear thrust from a haradrim and opens a deep gash in the mans stomach with his axe. An Iron Guardsman manages to duck under the Hasharin's guard (starting at a lower height helps) and scores a wound. Engaged by Morevion and several fellows, Gwaihir is trapped and nearly suffers a wound but for a successful Fate save.
Turning back to the action between Thror and Suladan's warbands, a Khazad Guard and two Dwarf warriors are beaten by Watchers of Karna but avoid injury. Olvar, again engagfed by the half-troll again loses the fight, but again his thick armor saves him from harm. Thror tries to make up far lost time, dispatching the haradrim archers with a blow from his sword. Suladan is taken aback as a Warrior of Erebor throws him back, but the Serpent Lord dances away from the spear aimed at his heart. Charging a Warrior of Erebor each, a pair of Serpent Riders manage to kill one of them, but the other fends off his attacker and stands firm.

Turn 6 - Evil
The general situation at the start of Turn 6:

In a frustrating (for me) turn of events, Evil seizes back priority for this turn. Unwilling to allow himself to be charged and trapped again, Gwaihir calls a Heroic Move, and manages to out-roll the Hasharin.
The Betrayer again calls forth dark energies in an attempt to cast Black Dart, but this time something disturbs his concentration and the spell fails harmlessly.
A corsair chops savagely at a dwarf warrior, his blade crunching through the tough armor with an awful sound. Another dwarf warrior has more success, defeating Morevion in a duel and forcing the bo'sun to expend a Fate point to avoid injury. The Hasharin dances past a hasty swing from an Iron Guard, and his dagger finds a chink in the dwarf's armor, killing him. Warin brains a spearman with a casual blow from his axe, while another spearman is defeated by a dwarf warrior but avoids injury. The dwarf archer at the base of the mine entrance falls with a haradrim spear embedded in his chest, while atop the mine a group of vengeful dwarf archers surround and club a corsair mercilessly.

One of the half-trolls releases a bellow and brings his club down on the head of a dwarf warrior with a sickening *splud*. Blades glistening in the sun, Watchers of Karna strike down a dwarf warrior. A Serpent Guard is chagrined (albeit briefly) as a dwarven axe cuts deeply through his armor.

A Khazad Guard smashes a Watcher of Karna to the ground, the black robes proving no impediment to the great axe. Olvar is again bested by the half-troll, but is again saved by the weight of his armor.
Two Warriors of Erebor are ridden down by a pair of charging Serpent Riders, but a third is slain by Thror, who also deals a wound to Suladan, though the latter saves with a point of Fate.

With the end of the turn, both armies are now Broken!

Turn 7 - Evil
A 4 is rolled and the battle continues.
Here is the general state of the board at turn 7:

The dwarven army is starting to show the strain, as both Thror and Warin require Will points to stiffen their resolve. Thror calls a Heroic Move, which Suladan contests but Thror wins the roll-off. A Watcher of Karna has had enough and flees the field. The Betrayer again attempts to Black Dart Thror, this time using three Will points but the spell again fails. A Dwarf Archer retreats from the battlefield, while one of his companions shoots a haradrim spearman that was attempting to support the Hasharin.
Gwaihir, with the assistance of three dwarves, impales another spearman on his talons before shaking the body free.
The dwarf banner bearer pushes back a corsair but does not land a blow, while an Iron Guard has similar luck against Morevion. Warin is defeated by the Hasharin, and feels the sting of poison as he suffers a wound. A corsair defeats a warrior and archer but they remain unhurt.
A Dwarf Warrior barely fends off the blows from a pair of Watchers, while Olvar manages to defeat the half-troll, but is unable to pierce its hide. Next to him, a Khazad Guard is slain by the other half-troll while another guardsman defeats beats back an archer but is unable to score a strike.
The Serpent Riders continue their rampage, killing another Warrior of Erebor, while a second barely escapes death. Thror is defeated by Suladan, but his thick armor deflects the strikes.

Turn 8 - Evil
Maintaining their grip on priority, the evil commanders sense victory within their grasp and Suladan throws his forces at the dwindling numbers of the dwarves. The Betrayer manages to successfully Black Dart Gwaihir, and the eagle shrieks as he suffers a wound.
Warin and the Hasharin square off again with their respective warbands.
And disaster strikes as both Warin and the banner bearer are struck down.
Not far away near the mine entrance, a corsair fights off an archer and a warrior.
Assailed by both half-trolls, Olvar suffers a wound and barely avoids death. Thror is thrown to the ground by Suladan and the charging Serpent Riders and would have suffered a wound if not for his ArkenSave (again passing well enough to get the point for free). Winging his way to try and assist Thror, Gwaihir picks up a Watcher of Karna and Hurls him at Suladan. The Watcher himself is quite dead, and Suladan suffers a wound as well from a flying kneecap to the chin.

Turn 9 - Evil
A 3 is rolled, the carnage continues for another turn!
Accepting the inevitable, the remaining dwarves grit their teeth as evil takes priority yet again.
The Betrayer attempts to Black Dart Gwaihir, but his spell fizzles, leaving him with only a single Will point remaining. With a slight flick of his wrist, the Hasharin slays a warrior with a thrown dagger, and then along with Morevion and some corsairs promptly surround the last Iron Guard.
Two dwarf warriors take to their heels and flee the battlefield while a Warrior of Erebor and Olvar lose their duels with a spearman and a Serpent Guard respectively, but narrowly avoid injury. The surrounded Iron Guard falls to the ground, pierced and poisoned by many blades, but holding his own weapons to the last.
Thror, despite being engaged before he could stand, defeats Suladan and the Serpent Riders and stands up, battered but unbowed. A Khazad Guard deals a wound to one of the half-trolls, while a warrior is killed by the other. Gwaihir loses his duel with a Serpent Guard, but the man is unable to inflict a wound. a few yards away, a corsair is trapped and slain by a trio of dwarves.

With turn 9 coming to a close, an oppressive calm descends over the battlefield, and the remnants of the two armies back away from each other warily. Suladan, eager to finish off the dwarves glanced over to The Betrayer, but surprisingly the Nazgul shook his cowled head. Perhaps the ringwraith, with his single remaining point of Will, had noticed Gwaihir within charging range, flexing his talons in his direction. Or perhaps the the ringwraith had other, darker motives in letting the dwarves depart. In any event, Thror gathered the battered survivors and, swearing revenge, withdrew back into the North.

What a meatgrinder! Unfortunately we both had other appointments we needed to keep, and the battle showed no sign of stopping. We made one more roll to see if turn 9 would be the last, but we rolled a six and my opponent graciously declared a Draw. I think it is safe to say however, that my army was well on its way to being beaten. I had only 9 dwarves still fit to fight, while he still had 20 models, including all of his heroes, and both Half-Trolls. In the end, my tally of the victory points showed a draw, but as I added everything up after the battle, I'm not sure if it is entirely correct. I think next time I should add it up as the battle progresses, to keep things more accurate. Proving that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, this battle proved to be the opposite of our last one, in that I barely got priority once out of 9 turns. We rolled priority on turn 10 to see what it would be, and I would have finally won priority that round. I think this is one of the main reasons the draw was called, as The Betrayer was in charge range of Gwaihir, with no one able to prevent it. In any event, it was a fun battle, though I was somewhat disappointed in the performance of my Grim Hammers, though I think that was in large part due to my lack of priority and the effects of poisoned archery. Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed the report :)


x6 Grim Hammers                                          x3 Serpent Riders
x4 Iron Guard                                                x1 Serpent Guard
x3 Khazad Guard                                          x3 Warriors of Harad /w Bows
x7 Dwarf Warriors /w Shields                        x12 Warriors of Harad /w Spears
x4 Dwarf Warriors /w Bows                          x9 Corsairs of Umbar /w Shields
x1 Dwarf Warrior /w Banner                          x4 Watchers of Karna
x5 Warriors of Erebor /w Spears
x1 Dwarf Captain

Victory Points from Casualties:
Good: 34                                                       Evil: 35

Victory Points from Fate:
Good: 5                                                         Evil: 4

Total Victory Points:
Good: 39                                                        Evil: 39

1 comment:

  1. This had to be the most laborious grind to an obvious stalemate I've ever played. No serious mistakes on either side. The armies had complementary strengths and weaknesses. This was four hours of two armies holding their own. I'm perfectly content with the idea that this was a draw.