Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Domination: The Last Alliance vs Mordor

The armies of Good and Evil are about to meet once again. This time the evil might of Sauron will contest with the combined armies of the Free Peoples. For the respective army lists, see this post. Shagrat and the Mouth of Sauron are filling in for Kardush and the Black Numenorean Marshal respectively. Here is the layout of the battlefield:
View looking from South to North. All five objectives are visible, represented by the palantir on the central hill, the three ring markers and the statue.

Deployment begins with Sauron and his Black Numenorean bodyguard deploying on the central hill.

This is followed by Gil-galad and his High Elves taking a position near the South-west objective.

Kardush and his Mordor Uruk-hai archers appeared near the South-east objective.

Elendil, the High King and his Numenoreans arrived next, protecting the North-west objective.

Dolgulzagar the Marshal and his knights occupied the ground in front of the North-east objective, their chargers pawing the ground impatiently.

Durin and his dwarves are next, arriving on the extreme left flank of the good army to reinforce Elendil. One of the dwarf archers hopped onto a large boulder nearby, the better for viewing the enemy.

Last to deploy, is Isildur and his warband of Numenoreans on the far right flank. Taking positions behind a large stone to provide some cover against the arrows of the uruks.

With both armies fully deployed, here is the overall state of the board:

Turn 1 - Evil
With Priority secured for the first turn, the evil army remains largely in place, with some minor shuffling of troops. Sauron wastes no time in putting his free Will point to use, and a bolt of cold energy strikes down one of Gil-galads archers.

Kardush eagerly begins casting Fury, but apparently is distracted and his spell fails. Now able to act, the warbands of the Free Peoples cautiously begin to advance, though Durin holds his dwarves back, wary of the Morgul Knights only a short distance away.

Arrows slice through the air, but the black feathered shafts of the uruks fail to cause any casualties. The elves, incensed at the loss of one of their fellows, fire back with a vengeance and a Black Numenorean warrior falls to the rocky ground with an elven arrow in his chest.

Turn 2 - Good
Gaining priority, The good army, with the exception of the dwarves, continues to advance. Elendil and Gil-galad close in on the rocky hill, while Isildur and his troops attempt to close with the uruk archers while using the scattered rocks for cover. Evil again remains largely static, waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack. Sauron again casts Chill Soul, and this time his target is Elendil. One Will and one Fate point are not enough to avoid the effects of the spell, and the King shudders as he feels the warmth drain from his body. Kardush stamps his foot in anger as yet another Fury spell dribbles away into nothingness. Here is the state of the board following the movement phase:

Here are a few more random pictures of the battlefield:

The evil archers have it all their own way this turn, an elf and a Numenorean both falling to the bows of the uruks.

Turn 3 - Evil (tie)
The priority roll this turn resulted in a tie, and thus the initiative flipped back to the evil army.
Kardush gestures ominously at one of the nearby uruks, who falls writhing to the ground and expires. His life energy is drawn out to feed the orc's magic, but Kardush is mildly unsatisfied with the quality of the soul and regains only a single point of Will. Sauron casts Compel on Durin, seeking to draw the dwarven king out into the open. Fortunately for Durin, two Will points provide the necessary resistance and he remains unaffected. Perhaps according to plan, or perhaps simply from impatience, the front rank of five Morgul Knights thunders forward, charging into the dwarves, lances glinting cruelly in the sunlight.

Sauron marches purposefully forward as Elendil and Gil-galad arrive at the base of the hill and the elves start their ascent.

Archery is ineffectual for both sides this turn, with arrows either failing to find their marks, or being turned aside harmlessly by armor. The initial charge of the knights is inconclusive. One of the stocky warriors is impaled on the lance of a knight, while a second grips his shield tightly and weathers the attack unscathed. Durin joins the fight against a third knight, and the man is apparently so distracted by the dwarven king that he does not notice the two-handed axe dwarf until it is too late. The axe crunches through the armor, and the man is chopped from the saddle.

Turn 4 - Evil

With evil maintaining Priority for another turn, both Durin and Elendil elect to declare Heroic Moves. Durin and his dwarves leap to engage the knights before they can be charged again, but Dolgulzagar wins the roll-off vs Elendil and is able to get the drop on the Numenoreans. Elendil is not dismayed, and strides over to aid a dwarven warrior hard pressed by a knight.

Sauron steps down from the hill to attack a Numenorean Warrior, and another bolt of cold energy snaps against Elendil's breastplate. This time, the expenditure of two Will points allows the High King to ignore the effects of the evil magic. Kardush continues his streak of bad luck, again failing to cast Fury. Isildur and his warriors are now almost within range of the uruk archers, and the rest of the Morgul Knights join their comrades in charging the dwarves and Numenoreans. Gil-galad's elves also continue climbing the hill, seeking to join battle with the Black Numenoreans on the summit.

The uruks desperately loose arrows into the charging warriors of Numenor, and two of the men fall to darts of their foes.

With a shuddering crash, melee is rejoined at the foot of the hill. The fighting is savage as a dwarf is spitted on a Morgul lance, while Durin nearly chops a knight in half with his axe. Another knight falls to a vengeful dwarf, cries of "Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai menu!" ringing in his ears as his vision fades. Narsil gleams in the sun as Elendil strikes down a Morgul Knight, and turns to slay a second in the blink of an eye. Dolgulzagar lances a Warrior of Numenor, while another fallen man slays another numenorean. Sauron swings his mace in a mighty blow, and the warrior facing him vanishes into a red mist.

Turn 5 - Evil
The battlefield at the beginning of turn five:

With no sign of the Evil army relinquishing priority, Durin calls a Heroic Move, but Dolgulzagar is able to act first and sends his knights charging back into the stubborn dwarves and Numenoreans. Gil-galad's elves make contact with the first rank of Black Numenoreans on the hill, while some of the fallen men move down the north slope to aid the knights. Sauron's attempt to cast Chill Soul on Elendil fails, and he decides to confront Elendil himself, and the two enemies prepare for battle.

On the other side of the field, a ball of flame leaps from Kardush's hand and immolates a Warrior of Numenor.

One of the Numenorean spearmen finds himself in range of their tormentors, and rushes forward to engage an uruk with another spearman in support.

Dolgulzagar slays a dwarven warrior, while another knight also pierces a stocky body with his lance. In revenge, Durin's Axe smashes a second knight out of his saddle, while a third is bludgeoned to death with the back of an axe head by a Dwarf Warrior.

The Numenoreans of Elendil's warband suffer greatly this turn, with three falling before the charging knights, and a fourth being cut down by a Black Numenorean. Elendil fares better, actually defeating Sauron in combat, but failing to land a blow.

The uruk charged by the Numenorean Spearman is run clean through by the glittering spearhead, and black orc blood stains the grass.

The battle on the hill is indecisive, with neither the elves or the Black Numenoreans able to cause any casualties, and the turn comes to an end.

Turn 6 - Evil
In what is starting to become a sick joke, the Good army watches priority slip away for yet another turn. Kardush again culls the lifeforce of an uruk to feed his magical energies, but is again dissatisfied with but a single point of Will. All of the Good Heroes call Heroic Moves this turn, in an attempt to gain the first move over the enemy. Sauron also spends a Might point, and comes out on top. Isildur and his men are uncontested, and they leap forward to bring the uruks to battle.

The elves continue to advance up the slope of the hill, engaging more of the Black Numenoreans guarding the objective to battle.

Among the rapidly thinning forces at the base of the hill, Elendil is attacked by a Black Numenorean Warrior and Durin is charged by another knight while Sauron turns his baleful gaze to a dwarf and a Numenorean.

In a Heroic Fight, Elendil easily slaughters his opponent and goes to the aid of one of his warriors engaged with a Morgul Knight. Unfortunately, they are unable to overcome him, and the warrior is slain while Elendil is knocked to the ground, though he is uninjured. Not far away, a dwarf warrior is ridden down by the Morgul banner bearer, and Durin strikes down yet another knight. Sauron casually smites a Numenorean archer, but is unable to squash a nimble dwarven warrior, adding to his already towering frustration.

On the other side of the battle, Isildur darkens his blade with orc blood, but one of his warriors is killed. Elsewhere along the line, duels are won and lost, but no further casualties result.

Gil-galad also begins to make his presence felt, deftly pinning a Black Numenorean to the stony ground upon Aeglos' razor sharp point.

Turn 7 - Evil
Here is the state of the board at the beginning of turn seven:

Un-surprised at again losing priority, Elendil again calls a Heroic Move, which Sauron inexplicably fails to contest. Kardush finally selects an uruk full of vim and vigor, and sacrifices it, regaining three Will points. A Morgul Knight, detached from the main body of horsemen, spurs his horse forward and charges around the hill toward the pair of Numenorean bowmen left behind from Isildur's warband. On the other side of the hill, a dwarf warrior, perhaps convinced of divine protection after surviving the previous attack by Sauron, easily passes his courage check and charges the Dark Lord.

Desperately, the two Numenoreans loose arrows at the oncoming Morgul Knight, but the arrows fail to have any effect. Farther back, a High Elf archer cooly draws back his bowstring and looses an arrow which takes the knight completely out of his saddle and sends him smashing to the ground.

The High King chops a knight from his saddle, and with the aid of a pair of dwarves drives back Dolgulzagar, and even inflicts a wound after the Marshal fails his Fate save. Nearby however, the last sword and spearman of Elendil's warband are killed by a combination of Knights and Black Numenoreans. Durin's Axe claims yet another victim, blood spraying from a horrendous gash in a Black Numenorean's armor.

On the opposite side of the hill, a Numenorean falls, surrounded by uruks, while Isildur is driven back, but avoids injury.

Atop the hill, the force of Black Numenoreans is seriously depleted as Gil-galad and his elves chop down no less than three of the men.

Perhaps it was not divine protection, but divine aspiration, as Sauron and the charging banner bearer strike down the dwarven warrior with such fury that several prior generations of dwarves suddenly go into spontaneous cardiac arrest.

Following the carnage of turn eight, the Evil army is now Broken.

Turn 8 - Evil
No longer surprised at the outcome of the priority roll, the Good army looks on as courage checks are now in order. Two of the Mordor Uruk-hai warriors apparently feel discretion is the better part of valor, and flee the field. Kardush summons his powers, and a brilliant fireball streaks forward and engulfs a High Elf warrior.

Sauron successfully Transfixes Durin, the Dwarf Lord failing to resist the malign magic. In revenge, the elven archers train their bows on Kardush, and one of their arrows makes a wound, though Kardush is able to avoid injury with a timely Fate point. A Numenorean warrior of Isildur's warband is slain by an uruk, but no further casualties occur on that side of the board.

On the hill, Aeglos sinks deep into the body of a Black Numenorean, and the mans screams fade into whispered hiss.

A Numenorean archer is ridden down by the Morgul Bannerman as Evil claims the statue objective.

Sauron smashes two dwarf warriors flat with his mace, while a third is brought down by a Black Numenorean. Elendil is defeated, but his thick armor shields him from harm.

Now, the Good army is also Broken!

Turn 9 - Good
In an amazing turn of events, the Good army finally manages to wrest priority away from the forces of evil. Three more uruks quit the field, their courage deserting them. In a rather strange twist of Fate, both Elendil and Sauron fail their courage checks, and are forced to spend Will points to stay in the fight. Kardush declares a Heroic Move, but his attempted Fireball fails to materialize. Sauron also declares a Heroic Move, and transfixes Durin once again, before striding into combat with the debilitated monarch. Isildur swats an uruk aside with his sword, but another of his warband falls to an uruk.

On the rocky hill, the Black Numenorean infestation is stamped out as the final warrior on the hill is killed by Gil-galad and his elves. Nearby, Kardush finds himself bleeding from a wound suffered from a Numenorean archer.

Dolgulzagar charges and kills an elven archer, his lance slick with blood.

Durin staggers as Sauron's mace smashes into him, unable to fight back. The dwarf king suffers three wounds, but a lucky Fate roll keeps him among the living.

With the end of the turn, the battle comes to an end. Technically, neither side had reached the 25% casualty threshold yet, but we had essentially run out of time. I would imagine had we played another turn, that would have been the final one. A picture of the board at the end of the battle:

Now, time to calculate the Victory Points.
Of the five objectives, three were in the sole possession of the Good army, while Evil controlled one, leaving the fifth unclaimed. Good- 9, Evil- 3. Seeing as no one had been able to injure Sauron, and Elendil had been wounded, Good- 0, Evil- 1. And lastly, both armies were Broken by the end of the fighting, leading to an additional point for each. The final Victory Point tally: Good 10, Evil 5.

Post Battle Thoughts:
It was a lot of fun, even though the priority rolls were definately not in my favor. Sauron is a serious force to be reckoned with, even without the Ring. My initial plan was for Gil-galad and Elendil's warbands to attack the hill from both sides, and hopefully driving the enemy from the objective, while possibly engaging Sauron with the two heroes.  Isildur's mission was to take out the uruk archer warband and then assist where needed. Durin and his warriors were essentially supposed to act as a blocking force against the cavalry. It didn't play out exactly as I intended, and my Numenoreans took some pretty dreadful casualties. Gil-galad and his elves performed well though, eliminating the defenders on the hill and securing the objective. Given another turn or two, I'm pretty confident that Sauron could have finished off Durin, and probably minced anyone else in his way, so it is probably a good thing the game ended when it did.

I always enjoy seeing big name/seldom used heroes and troops on the board, and this battle certainly provided that. Lots of fun, and hope you enjoyed the report :)

1 comment:

  1. I think you got it backwards in the deployment description. It should say that the Black Numenoreans deployed with their bodyguard Sauron.