Weaver Illira, Daughter of Leaves, sat meditating on the winds of magic in her sanctum grove. She felt change and disturbance coming to the wood, and was deciding which magical wind to draw upon to show her through the coming conflict…
Two elves as wild as the wood dropped silently from the forest canopy, and landed in front of her. They crossed their arms, and bowed their heads in respect before speaking,
“Weaver, a large party of Dwarfs is marching toward the glade.”
“Yes, Twins, I am already aware. Balric seeks the Skaven warlord Skreek, but does not know that his prey has well learned to fear our forest, and turned away before he could be caught. Balric has already lost the trail, and does not know where his persistence leads him. What forces did you see?”
“They think themselves clever, marching in files to conceal their numbers, and using what they laughably think of as scouts in an attempt at stealth, but our eyes are keen, Weaver, and we are the forest. We cannot be seen. This is what we saw:
King Balric Fireforged: Lord, Shield, Shieldbearers, MRoSwiftness, RoMight, 2xRoFortitude, RoIron, RoFurnace
Thane Logan Farstrider: Joseph Bugman
Prince Kazador: Thane, BSB, Shield, MRoGrungni, RoStrollaz
Arik Flamebreather: Runesmith, Shield, Fiery Ring of Thori, RoStone, RoSpellbreaking
Longbeards (30), Shields, Full Command, RoStoicism
Rangers (14), Full Command, Bugman's
Weaver, we must repel him before he penetrates the glade. The trees still slumber from winter, and will be defenseless from the Dwarfs’ carelessness.”
“Of course. Summon the Master of the Hunt.”
At this, the twin wild elves leapt silently back into the trees. After a time, a single muscular elf strode purposefully across the glade toward Illira.
“Weaver, I was summoned.” He said with a wild fury in his eye.
“Lord Alaine, we are beset by our foe. You must convene the Wild Hunt, and I will be leading my coven of sisters. What forces can you bring to bear?”
“Weaver, this is all who can serve the Hunt:
Lord Alaine, Master of the Hunt: Gladelord, Steed, Asrai Spear, Shield, Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow, Seed of Rebirth
Weaver Illira, Daughter of Leaves: Spellweaver, Level 4, Steed, Acorns of the Ages
The Shadow Twins: 2 Waystalkers
Glade Guard(10), Trueflight Arrows
Glade Guard(10), Trueflight Arrows
Glade Guard(10), Trueflight Arrows
Sisters of the Thorn(5)
Wild Riders(10), Full Command, Shields
Shall I lead us in the Hunt, Weaver?” He asked, his wild eye glinting.
“Yes, go and hunt. I shall be with you shortly.”
He left. With another moment’s meditation, she decided she must combine all of the winds of magic, in the manner of her island bound ancestors, if she was to be victorious today. With one last moment of thought, she collected acorns from the sacred tree in her grove. They would prove most useful today.
King Balric Fireforged stood tall on his loyal shieldbearers, and couldn’t remember being more excited. After his sons Kazador and Logan had reported battling the vermin Skreek, and decimating his forces, leaving the lone rat to escape, he could think of nothing more gratifying than chasing the abomination down and striking the grudge of his hold. He had to admit, though, that the trail seemed to have gone cold, and the terrain unforgiving… not that something so passive and malleable as terrain had ever stopped a Dwarf. As they marched through what seemed to be becoming thicker and thicker woods, the canopies of the trees scraped along Balric’s armor, and occasionally a serrated leaf or thorn would leave a scratch on an exposed piece of his flesh.
In moments, Balric felt sick. Something was wrong. He felt poisoned, but the only thing that could have done it were the trees…
Elgi. It was always Elgi. They bewitched the trees to do their fighting for them, so the cowards never had to show their mettle. He had to be cautious. He held up an arm to halt the march, because the Elgi always started a battle by…
Just as his arm went over his head, a green fletched arrow found its home in Balric’s exposed underarm between the plates of Gromril. Balric was far too tough to be hurt by the puny arrow, but the message was clear: a battle had begun, and there was little time for a plan. Cover had to be found, and the Elgi brought to axeblows.
Deployment: When the first arrow struck Balric, the area was fairly clear, and even included a small abandoned cottage with some humble fencing, but Illira swiftly rode across the field, casting acorns as she did, and as each one fell, an entire forest grew up around them. The Dwarfs were surrounded by the witchwood. Lord Alaine had deployed with his Wild Riders in the central wood, and had sent a unit of Glade Guard to sentry in each copse of trees. The Twins split, with one leading the Waywatchers in a forward position, and the other keeping an eye out for opportune targets in the center. Illira took her coven around the Dwarf flank, drawing the Elf noose tight around the Dwarf army. Balric knew he had to think fast. He shouted for Logan and the Rangers to take cover in the Cottage, while he and the Longbeards would drive forward into the heart of the Elves. The Gyrocopters would have to fend for themselves, as the forest was not a forgiving place for the flying engineers.
Dwarf Turn 1: Balric pulled Lord Alaine’s failed opening shot out from under his arm, then ordered his Dwarfs to reform in to fighting ranks, and begin to close on the Elgi bowline. The Rangers quickly drank a pint, and were rewarded with a greater toughness with which to receive the incoming arrows. The Gyrocopters all swarmed forward, hoping their steam would flush the elves out of the woods where the Dwarfs could bring them to blows. One Gyrocopter sat in front of the intimidating party of Wild Riders, hoping to sacrifice itself to bring the unit out of the wood where the Longbeards could charge it, and break them down. Thane Logan spied the magical Elgi attempting to surround the army, and ordered a flight of bolts into the witch riders, and despite their sorcerous wards, three of the coven fell from the saddle. The Gyrocopters each opened up their steam valves, together accounting for three Waywatchers, a Wild Rider and seven Glade Guard. The Glade Guard decided to withdraw, as they didn’t want to experience a second blast.
Wood Elf Turn 1: Alaine was keen to the Gyrocopter’s ploy, and would have none of the Dwarf’s designs. He quickly shouted admonishment at the retreating Glade Guard, who halted their withdrawal and rejoined the bowline. Alaine then led the Wild Riders in a wide arc to flank the Longbeards, content that his mobility would give him the run of Balric’s ponderous unit. Illira began to cast a High spell, attempting to strip Thane Logan of a runic item as recompense for her slain sisters, but the echoing screams of the wounded caused her to break her concentration, and the spell fell from her grasp. Her sisters were able to take control of the winds of magic from her, and settled a Curse of Anraheir onto Logan’s Rangers, who felt tiny nature spirits rise up and attack them. Once the Sisters’ magic was cast, and Runesmith Arik had been unable to siphon away the wind, Lord Alaine opened up the Elf shooting with his Hail of Doom Arrow, firing it at Balric’s large unit of Longbeards. While the Arrow split into an impressive sixteen shards, Kazador’s Rune of Grungni warded the unit from all but two casualties. However, the western Shadow Twin was able to use the distraction to sneak an arrow into the back of Arik Flamebreather’s armor, wounding the Runesmith. The sibling fired at Logan, but the Dwarf’s ale infused toughness would not be breached. The Waywatchers fired defiantly into the Gyrocopter that had steamed them, but the shots bounced harmlessly off of the metal hull. Illira commanded her remaining sisters to return fire on the Rangers, and the elite elven maidens made each javelin count, both bringing down a Dwarf for their trouble. The rest of the Glade Guard bowline all focused fire on the eastern Gyrocopter, but despite holes in the propeller canvas, severed steam lines and some minor jammed machinery, the engineer emerged from the rain of arrows still flying. The Dwarf army was proving tough to slay.
Dwarf Turn 2: King Balric had to make a decision. He knew of the abilities of the Wild Riders, and wanted no part of their devastating charge, but knew he had to meet the Elgi general if only to settle the grudge of being shot. The way was long and treacherous, with a pond in the way, and a poison forest to fight in… very much the Elgi’s preferred fighting ground… but he decided the risk was worth it. With a resounding cry, he charged the Longbeards at the Wild Riders, and through a spurt of Dwarf sprinting, they made it to the enemy. A Dwarf was unable to navigate the pond, and his armor weighed him to his death, While Balric himself was wounded crossing the dangerous charge. The Gyrocopters continued their harassing, moving about to steam fresh targets. The Waywatchers lost another elf to the steam, the western Glade Guard lost two, and the eastern Glade Guard lost a mighty seven, but braved the blast all the same. Logan was enjoying his standoff with the magical maidens, so taking another tankard of toughness increasing ale, and kicking aside the magical sprites he was cursed with, he sent another volley into them, slaying the sister coven, and leaving Illira barely saddleborne. The Wood Elf magic was at risk of disappearing. As the battle lines between the Wild Riders and the Longbeards formed around the wood, Balric shouted a challenge at the Elgi general. But the cowardly elf deferred to his champion Wild Hunter. Balric was still feeling the effects of the woods’ poison, as he was only barely able to kill the stripling Elgi with his rune hammer. What was wrong with him? Lord Alaine and the Wild Riders then proved that they were still no unit to trifle with, even having lost the charge, by expertly cutting down twelve Dwarfs. Prince Kazador, in a rage, attacked Alaine, and dealt him two telling blows with his axe, but the remainder of the Longbeards were foiled by the warding tattoos of the Wild Riders, and could not kill more than four more elves. Even Arik Flamebreather, unleashing the Fiery Ring, couldn’t bring low more than two more elves due to the protective wards. With their unit disorganized and unable to make a proper formation due to the pond, the Longbeards lost the combat, and were unable to knock the frenzied glee from the eyes of the Wild Riders, but their determination stood firm.
Wood Elf Turn 2: Weaver Illira saw the Longbeard charge with horror, and had sent great pleas to the forest spirits to strengthen the warding of the Wild Rider’s tattoos… pleas she was happy to see had proven successful. With that solved for the moment, she had to think about her own situation. She was exposed, and close to death, but still needed to contribute to the combat, or else it was sure to turn sour. Alaine ordered his closest Glade Guard to join the fight on the flank, intent on surrounding the Dwarfs, while the two other Glade Guard units convened in the eastern wood, in order to team up and shoot down the wounded Gyrocopter. Illira herself rode swiftly to get her magic in range of the main combat. While calling for the winds of magic, the winds blew mildly, giving her little chance to power a spell, so she put everything into Arcane Unforging, cast at the Dwarf King. Runesmith Arik saw the magic coalescing around the Elven maiden, drew all the wind away from her, and the spell failed. The eastern Glade Guard fired their arrows at the injured Gyrocopter, but it was impervious. The western Twin led his Waywatchers in firing at another Gyrocopter, but it, too, proved safe from harm. The eastern Twin fired a second shot at Logan, but, while accurate, Logan was again able to laugh off the tiny elven arrow. The elven bows were proving ineffectual, and the balance would have to be regained in combat. Having cut down his inadequate challenge, Balric issued another that Alaine could not refuse. So the two generals clashed. With the magic of his rune hammer, Balric was able to match Alaine’s elven speed, but despite this, he could not land the final blow on the Elf, who was able to sneak a blow past Balric’s formidable armor. The elves all struck at once, but were stopped by Dwarf armor, except for two unlucky Longbeards. Prince Kazador had not lost his fervor, and cut down another two Wild Riders, but the rest of the Dwarfs saw fit only to kill a single Glade Guard. Because of the pond, the Dwarfs were still in disarray, and were unable to push their advantage, so again lost the combat, but held firm.
Dwarf Turn 3: With the main combat units all locked in a single struggle, Logan looked around at cleaning up the supporting elements. The Rangers broke open a new cask of ale, but this seemed less potent than the last one, and so returned to their usual Dwarf toughness. Two of the Gyrocopters targeted the Twins, each flying over one and dropping a payload of bombs, pulverizing both elves. The Waywatchers, having seen their leader explode, decided a retreat was in order, and quit the field. The remaining Gyrocopter was able to position itself to steam both remaining Glade Guard units, and killed two from each unit, though the remainders were stoic. Logan, free now from the predations of the forest spirits, eyed up the Spellweaver, and the final volley knocked her from the saddle in a hail of bolts. As the combat continued, the two generals were each too skilled to have a blow landed upon themselves, and the remaining combatants seemed much the same, but for another unlucky Dwarf. However, the Longbeards were finally free of the pond, and were able to make their weight of numbers count for them… and so the combat was won. The Wild Riders’ frenzy was knocked from their eyes, and while the two units held to the combat, the tide had switched.
Wood Elf Turn 3: With nothing but two solitary Glade Guard to threaten the Dwarf support, they each put an arrow into the Gyrocopter that was their bane, but they impacted harmlessly with the hull, and fell to the earth. Balric was finally able to bring his hammer down on the helm of the Lord of the Hunt, and smashed him from his horse. Prince Kazador slew the remaining Wild Rider, and the remaining Dwarfs put down another three Glade Guard, though took two casualties for their trouble. The combat was won again, and though the hopelessly outmatched elves were determined not to run, King Balric reformed the unit toward them, and there would be no hope.
Dwarf Turn 4: Logan Farstrider was content with his trophies this day, and decided to let the Gyrocopters deal with the remainder of the elves. While the western gyrocopter charged in to lend a hand to the combat, the other two caught the last Glade Guard in a crossfire of steam, finally slaying both. The elves vainly tried to attack King Balric, but there was no chink in his armor for their blades. In return, he slaughtered the lot, clearing the field, and winning the day for the Dwarfs.
AFTERMATH: Weaver Illira, Daughter of Leaves, awoke. With the last vestiges of her magic, she had enchanted the forest floor to heal her, and keep her from dying. Now, she was barely able to sit upright, but time was of the essence, before the Dwarfs marched on too far. She took her bow, and fired a single arrow, before collapsing back onto the ground, into the forest’s healing embrace…
Prince Kazador felt a jolt in the handle of his father’s standard that he bore. Looking up, he saw a single Elgi arrow stuck in the standardhead that had not been there during the battle.
“Father, we may be under attack again!” He cried.
“No, son,” said Balric, “I believe it is a message.”
Kazador tilted the banner enough for Balric to reach the arrow standing on his shieldbearers. There was indeed a small note tied to the shaft. Opening it, Balric was surprised to read a note in Khazalid, though it was in the distastefully airy script of the elves, instead of proper runes.
“Skreek was never here. The forest is defended. Return no more.”
With that, Balric sighed at the capricious and untrustworthy nature of the elves. There had been no need for this slaughter on either side. Why had the Elgi attacked? But that was no concern of his… he had but to defend his clansdwarfs, and settle the grudge against Skreek. So the throng turned west, and searched on.
I turns out my friend is really unfamiliar with the Dwarf army, and what it can do. He was pretty much completely taken aback by their capabilities. Due to the high toughness, and armor across the board, his shooting did almost nothing, which is the majority of his punch. Losing his first magic phase off of his Spellweaver (he rolled four 1’s for Arcane Unforging) was critical, and putting Curse on the Rangers was a poor target. If he had range to the Longbeards, that could have really limited my options. But, man oh man those Wild Riders! I was sure that taking their charge away would make them evaporate, but he rolled like gangbusters and they slayed 12 Dwarfs!!! And to boot, he can apparently roll 6++ tattoo saves like a champ. I thought the Seed of Rebirth was silly, but that Gladelord stayed alive on one wound forever due to that thing.
Gyrocopters. Amazing. They are chaff that can take on armies by themselves. They killed three units of Glade Guard, both Waystalkers, the Waywatchers… and took a total of two wounds. MVPs of the match, no question.
Bugman and Rangers. Studs again. These guys are building campers extraordinaire. 360 on crossbows is amazing. The casters had nowhere to hide. 4++ won’t save you when that much shooting is directed at you. They accounted for the Sisters and Spellweaver, which potentially saved the combat depending on what spells would have gotten off. Even the fact that they attracted all of the attention of the spell casters for as long as they were alive kept that pressure off of the Longbeards, which allowed them to grind down the Wild Riders.
Speaking of the Longbeards, they got pretty hammered. Couldn’t hit anything, and couldn’t pass a save to literally save their lives. T4 was what kept them fighting. I won’t hold it against them, though, because I know that’s not a typical performance. More than anything, they were in the right place at the right time to put a stop to the Wood Elf mobility game, and ground down the only scary unit in the list, which allowed all my other units to perform to maximum.
The Lord. This is my set up for an all comers list, and it was really not ideal for Wood Elves. He’s plenty tanky, but MRoSwiftness doesn’t really matter when they also have ASF (though it prevents rerolls), and RoMight doesn’t matter when you’re T3. I think I would have rathered a great weapon and an even tankier build. He was also disturbingly unlucky. He failed a dangerous terrain test for the pond during the charge, and then only scored one wound in the challenge with the unit champion, despite four S5 AP attacks, and while the elves couldn’t get past his toughness, the one time they did, he failed his 1+/5++… I figured he must not be feeling well that day…
All in all, the risky charge paid off, and Gyrocopter mobility and Ranger shooting cleaned up the table.
1800-0 Dwarf Victory